Friday, August 23, 2013

Whirlwind Summer

It's the middle (actually a bit past that) of August and my summer is nearly over...and I don't have much to show for it. I was trying to figure out why I'm feeling behind on both work and personal things, and when I look back at the last three months, I actually had a total of 22 days that I worked (or partially worked) in the studio. 22 days out of a potential 55 (looking at June, July, and August).

Um...that's not a lot. It's also not enough.

Why so few working days? Here's a brief synopsis of what took up the rest of my time:

Festival, Festival/travel, Travel, Family Visit, Travel, Festival/Travel, Travel, Family Visit.

The in-between days were working days (I try to not work weekends, but with a schedule like that, I did work part of some), but not all in between days were work-able. Even a local festival usually requires a recovery day. Travel festivals require (sometimes, like my big drive to NM and back) a bit more than that. I had two travel festivals in that time frame (NM was a huge time suck), plus two family visits. My sister- and brother-in-law stayed with us for seven days. My mother was just here for six. Do you know how difficult it is to work FROM HOME when people are staying in your home?? Trust me on this. Visits are nice, but they're not...productive.

And then there was some personal travel thrown in too - four days in Arizona, for my father's memorial service / family time. Five days in San Francisco with my husband  (gotta get a vacation in somewhere!). A long weekend to Charleston for a bachelorette party.

What it all adds up to is my being behind...again. Or maybe I never really caught up. Fabricating designs from scratch requires a pretty long lead time. Design time can't really be rushed; it's like the customers *know* which designs you didn't put your heart and soul into...and they won't buy those.

Once the fabrication work is done, cleanup also takes a lot of time. Stone setting takes time. And it's all very physical labor, so I can't just hit it hard for three days in a row or my body will rebel. So there needs to be time, and kind of spaced out time, to create. Not to mention the whole rhythm of creating, which takes a little bit to get into and out of...every bit of travel or family visits disrupts that, and sometimes it's very hard to get back in the mindset.

So I am going to have to restructure for next year. I'm hoping to restructure for THIS year, but I'm already behind and suspect that it won't change too much in the last four months of 2013...I *am* looking at a potentially slower October and November, but things always come up - especially later into the holiday season. Last minute orders, short-window custom orders, weird things that's not typically a good quiet time for a retail jewelry business.

So next year is going to involve more planning. Some of that I won't be able to control, because of the show deadlines, the potential for acceptance / rejection, the physical ability I'm only in charge of part of the planning...and I have to account for the Fibromyalgia, which takes a wicked delight in being consistently inconsistent.

And yeah, I said "I can't hit it hard for three days in a row" but that's what I've been doing. And that means pain. Fibromyalgia flare ups. More delays because I push and push my body and it eventually pushes back...hard. However, necessity is the mother of...ah, screw that. Necessity is the mother of overworking. ~wry smile~

So here's what I did with my last two days of "hittin' it hard" before leaving town again:

Mmm-hmm. Bezels. And backs (which are all hammer textured, then the bezels are soldered to the backing, then the excess backing is filed away...*then* I get to start working on the embellishments. So for this week (two days of work!) I have 40 stones bezeled, and 21 of those have soldered backs, ready for the next step. It's all I could manage, and I suspect my left arm (hell, left side) is going to be complaining for the next two days or so...but the work has to get done sometime!

It's quite gratifying that the colorful stone pieces are steadily selling. Which is nice. I love to "have" to buy replacement stones.  :)  But I have to watch myself - I tend to get lost in making these and over-achieve, as it were. I'm actually supposed to be working on some new mosaic pieces. And there IS one in progress, and several sketches waiting, but I wasn't ready to tackle soldering on mosaics this week. They're finicky. They take a lot of patience to get them lined up right. And they drop on the floor - usually just when I've found the mostexactlyright piece - and are never found again. So I did bezels and backs instead.  :)

Next week I have a WHOLE week in the studio...can't wait!! And it will include working on some other artist-y pieces. Deadlines are quickly approaching and fall is on its way! Stay tuned...

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