Monday, November 4, 2013

Closing the Store Front Gallery

Several years ago one of my wonderful clients made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.  They owned a building on the main downtown street which they wanted to use as a storage facility.  To make the property fit in with the historic downtown atmosphere they had a carpenter make some attractive modifications of the storefront windows and asked me to display some of my ironwork.  I had Kan Fab use their water jet to cut a “Persimmon Forge” sign which was placed over the front door. We stocked the store windows with some display pieces and posters giving contact information so a shopper who wanted to inquire about purchasing a displayed item or commissioning a unique work could reach us.  I wrote a post about this on 11/8/2010.

At that time I was participating in a few art/craft shows and had some inventory accumulated.  This was a welcome opportunity for me to take some things out of my basement and put them where they might actually sell.  We sold some items, but then the “great recession” descended and the shopping traffic and store front sales slowed up a lot.

The building owner recently placed the property for sale and a few days ago contacted me with the good news that it did sell.  Betty and I went to the gallery on Saturday morning and removed the remains of our display.  While we were working one of the local store owners came over to visit and said that an antique store operation was going to move in.

From one point of view it is the end of an era.  There was a period where I welcomed getting as much publicity as possible with consideration to the expense involved.  Now, I am seeking more invisibility.  I am rather far behind in my work schedule for clients and I no longer actively seek commissions.

PrairiePastimes is the gallery where most of my non-commission work is sold and it it not far from, what I’ve called, the  Store Front Gallery.  For the last couple of years I’ve worked on a strategic plan in which I continue to produce ironwork products which I enjoy making and shrink my inventory and foot print.  At some point my children will face the task of disposing of all the things I accumulated.  Every day that liquidation day moves closer.  Every day I work a few minutes at trying to make that job easier.  Rather than being sad at the closing of the Store Front Gallery, I can look at it as one more step in that down-sizing process.

I am grateful to the benefactors for giving me the display opportunity and their interest in my work.  They are a bit younger than I am and are just now embarking on their retirement experience.  They are dynamic people and will energetically pursue what interests them.  I, too, left a demanding job for a new love, artist blacksmithing.  Some people see it as hard work, dangerous work, dirty work.  I don’t see it as work at all.  I love to do it.  You know the rest of the statement - “If you love what you do you will never work a day in your life.”  I have always regarded this as a statement of fact but I never thought it was an ancient one.  Check out Confucius.

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