Friday, January 8, 2010

The next step

Who knows what the next step is gonna be. OK why all the confusion Shawn? What's the problem? You had a plan. You were gonna travel the country and find a place to write about and sample the local flavor and try the local woods. What happened to all of that?

Easier said than done these days. Sure I live in my RV, haul my tools and wood and goods along with me as I go but, there has been no go for over a year. I made my trip to Alaska, turned some birch at Stonekettle Station, made the trip to Arizona, turned and carved some Mesquite, made the trip to Salamanca, NY home of my childhood and turned some Maple and Walnut back there. And though I have my Navy retirement to live off and had the dream of paying for my hobby through sales but here is the rub. Of the hundreds of pieces I have turned, I have only sold a few dozen. My forms started simple, I experimented with combining turning and carving, did some pretty ornate stuff but, still I schlep my boxes to the Saturday market in Mesa and then schlep them back again. My RV is getting full of finished work and unfinished projects. So I took a job selling tools and wood for others to create, taught a few classes and made some contacts but, again the pile grows. Where is the outlet? ETSY, nope but it doesn't cost much so I keep the account. Face Book? Worked for a while but, these are my friends and family and I care to give them away more than sell them to those people. At Work? Nope the owner of the store discourages that and is pissed when we sell to each other too. And on top of that the people who come in there are in the process of doing things for the same reason.

So I keep piling it up in hopes of the outlet making itself apparent to me.

But still I hear the success stories (mostly from Pen guys) who sell some crappy writing implement for $80 - 150 each. Do I begrudge them of their success? Nope they have something they can carry with them, use in front of potential customers, and coyly say they can probably work one in for them (the potential customer that is.) Can you imagine seeing some guy walking down the street with a bowl or bottle stopper in their pocket? Can you see yourself saying "Hey where did you get that bowl?" or more likely "What a freak!" So suggestions are welcome. If you know someone who desperately needs a bowl, bottle stopper, miniature lidded box then hey send them my way. Keep me from being the freak with the bowl walking into the restaurant asking if I can use my own bowl for my soup.

There are also a number of local galleries here in AZ. You figure they may want to discover a local artist with a unique sense of style and some pretty cool forms but, NO! They want the guy from Connecticut or New Hampshire who makes one bowl a year (and not much different than mine) and asks $1500 each. Go figure. So walk-ins are not welcome here. Maybe I will start mailing stuff to Connecticut or New Hampshire. Ok search engine let's find a bowl, bottle stopper, lidded box deprived shop out there in New England and get this party started. Then Maybe I can get the hell out of the desert before Hell temps return.

I am returning to the road in April. I may be in a town near you sometime in those months as I find a temperate climate with loads of trees and eager shoppers who wish to stuff their shelves with affordable art and keep this boy turning. For those who may drop in here is a sample of the stuff I am schlepping around. Drop me a line if you have a question or want to gather some wood products to stuff on your shelves with other stuff.

Claro Walnut Lidded box ($45)
Maple Platter ($125)

Black Cherry Bowl ($45)

Birdseye Maple Diffuser/Oil Lamp ($35)

Madrone Burl Bowl ($45)

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