April 27, 2005

On a Roll

AFter that three month layoff (see my earlier posts), it has been a gradual process to get my physical strength back up to par. In the past, I have usually done the really hard work of making a shade in a single long day. For the past few weeks, I have improvised a new system that divides that labor into two days, and for a while, even that level of work left my muscles trembling in the evenings.

But it is getting better and better, and today I did the wild-and-wooly turning all in a single day. And it was a huge shade, starting with a log that started at nearly 200 pounds and ended up at around a pound. I am really beat right now, but it was fun, and exciting to see the shade appear. I plan to go right back at it tomorrow making another big shade.

It is amazing how these things work out. When I was laid up, business was naturally slow during the winter months. Now that I am back in harness, clients seem to be coming here in numbers that are greater than usual. Having had to cancel my only two winter/spring craft exhibtions, I was a bit worried about making ends meet, but it has all worked out just fine. Of course it helps that I keep so far ahead on inventory. But there also seems to be a mysterious balancing act of supply and deman that plays out just outside of my understanding or control. I feel very fortunate today, to be working, to be making these magical lampshades, and to be receiving the attention of my clients. Thanks to all of you who support my fascination with translucent wood.

April 5, 2005

Ups, Downs, Ups

Since my last post, I had a minor setback with a week of mild flu. For a couple of days, I thought it was soreness brought on by the turning, and perhaps that contributed. Anyway, now that has passed and today I completed a large shade for a floor base. That is exciting, surely a function of both the drama of a larger shade as well as the somewhat macho pleasure of accomplishment. Large shades are more demanding physcially, and technically they are more finicky. The size adds to the flexibility of the wood, and taming that is a challenge.

On another front, I am psyched up about a new commission in collaboration with blacksmith David Little (Meredith, NH). Last summer we made a chandelier for the Living With Crafts exhibition, and it won an nice award. Now we have a new project to make for a wonderful long-time client for both of us. This will include a two-shade chandelier and a single pendant lamp, each with David's "grapevine motif" iron work and my smaller shades.

All of that means that things are back in order in my work life, and that is important to me. As you have heard me say elsewhere, making lampshades is much more than a business for me, it is very much a part of how I identify myself, and I love the whole thing. As I gradually get into better shape, I will be able to spend more hours each week making shaving fly. But today was an important milestone, being able to make a really large shade. More to come.