Summer's are turning out to be my busiest time -for everything. The key to enjoying it ALL is finding a happy balance. Most self-employed artists don't have a paid vacation, at least I don't. So if I want to take time off and still be able to pay the bills (or buy more clay and steel!) I need to plan ahead and work extra hard. There is plenty of business for me now and WAY too many fun things to enjoy in Alaska during the long summer days. Gallery sales are good and "inventory" is needed for fairs and custom orders but so are the fish running, family is calling and all of that is combined with one of the most beautiful Alaska summers on record.
I'm trying to balance the good fortune of work with plenty of opportunities to play. Not only have I just come off of having three really good Shows, I have a stack of customer requests and another G Street Artist Market to participate in on July 25th (which is only one week after I get back from a 2 week trip out of state). We are also are going fishing through the Holiday weekend at a friends beautiful lodge. When we get back from fishing, we repack because Gus and I will be going to Seattle on Monday for a couple of weeks. We are going to my parent's 50th Anniversary celebration!
With all of this on the calendar, I figured some artwork and special projects will just have to wait until I return, but pieces of art for the Galleries HAVE TO get done. I don't think its fair for a Gallery to lose money during peak earning season because of my taking time off.
I worked hard to plan and divide my time wisely this week, or at least as best as I could. I had a plasma cutting day, welding day and finishing day. Shipping will be done by Daddy-O for me next week. All of my material was on hand and production went smoothly, except for a part on my plasma cutter that burned up! BUT Air Liquide fortunately had a replacement part and I didn't do too much damage in frustration when I banged it on the cutting table... Evenings were trip planning, making travel and party reservations, shopping, misc. customer and marketing business (e-mail's, orders & request replies, questions etc.) dinner on the deck with the fam AND I was even able to have a lovely breakfast with my sister on her birthday Monday. My sister Chris and my niece are coming to WA with Gus and I. We're all pretty excited, though we can't possibly be as excited as our Mom will be to have "her girls" and a couple of the grandkids home with her and Dad for their big 50th party.
While we're fishing, the enamel will be drying on the Seascapes I
I made this week. I was also able to finish a couple of Seals. They weren't on my "production list" but I had the most beautiful sheets of steel a couple of weeks ago that called out to be turned into seals. I first draw the shape of the seal I want, plasma cut, add grinder details, heat and bend the flippers and body. I only get one shot at cutting them out and need a steady hand on the plasma cutter for a smooth, continuous form. I then weld the details on like the eyes and nose, heat weld their spots and details on the flippers. Bend and weld the roundstock for the back frame to seem fluid like water. I weld the Seal to the round bar and add hanging hardware. Once they get the details added, the sculptures hang to cool and will get a clear-coat finish on the front and back. I will probably add glass bead details to all of the Seascapes and the
Seals when we get back from fishing. I am bringing my little bead spinner and plenty of copper wire with me, so in the evening air while I'm watching the river run (and enjoying my favorite beverage) I can be quietly beading away.
Oh, I also threw my favorite travel water colors and sketch pads in my gear bag just in case fishing is a bit slow -or I can do a little art if I need to give my arm a rest from hauling in too many fish!