Saturday, July 20, 2013

Back to Work

I’m finally back to making things.  After the recent coal trip I was cleaning t he bed of the pickup and managed to take a clumsy plunge down onto my left shoulder blade area.  Not since high school football days had I taken such a hit.  For the first week my arm mostly hung uselessly as the bruise spread down the upper arm to the forearm.

Fortunately we had a vacation trip to California planned so that worked well in my healing schedule.  When we got home a heat wave greeted us so I had an excuse to postpone forging a while longer.  It also gave me the opportunity to do a lot of lighter work assembling pieces which could go in the gallery.

Now the situation is looking good.  My left arm is about 90% back to work.  It looks like the heat will be with us for a while so I’m going to concentrate on assembling products which can be done in the comfort of air conditioning.  And it gives me time to think about things I might post on the blog.

When I was beginning my smithing business I set up to do commission work and had no plans to do craft shows or make products.  However, reality set in.  People saw some smaller things I made for our own use or for gifts and wanted one for themselves.  It didn’t take long before I had a line of products.  I’ve come full circle now and spend most of my time making things for the gallery which sell again and again and  much less time on commissions.

The repetitive nature of working this way has pros and cons.  The downside is largely related to boredom of non-creative work.  The upside is largely related to learning how to work more efficiently and perfectly.  It is interesting to study how to make design improvements, better tools and jigs and other aspects of production.

Some of my products have a really good sales record so I’ve naturally concentrated my efforts on those.  In the last couple of years It has occurred to me that it might be possible to sell my business somewhat piece by piece or product by product.  Each project has its set of dedicated tools and jigs and instructions which make it possible for any other blacksmith to make it.

Soon, I plan to go into more detail about my strategy for organizing each project.

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