Weary and Heavy Laden
Today’s picture is of a tomato plant (one of several I’ve planted in the garden). Why is such a thing in a newsletter that purports to be about craft? It illustrates a point about the work I do that is very important to understand. Like a tomato plant, the work I do creates fruit it cannot support by itself. A tomato plant, left to itself, will grow its fruit all over the ground. Morning glories will entwine themselves in its leaves and branches, and finally the fruit will be either no good or unobtainable.
My craft cannot support its own products. First, I must get a range of products before people that will help them to understand that I can do custom work. If they ask me to build something they do not see, they have a better than even chance to be able to receive it in a timely manner and for a reasonable price. I have done this in the past by bringing a representative selection of work to festivals and sidewalk displays. This has garnered me orders and even sold some of the selection. It has also caused shop-wear on my furniture that has lessened its value. Thanks to the help of my daughter-in-law, I have established a website that does this without the hauling around. Also, I have begun the process of advertising in my college magazine: Harvard Magazine. Next, I have to have money coming in from current projects. My inventory stays low because of storage space problems so I can’t sell things I already have on hand.
There are also the morning glories that threaten to choke the work to death. You are already familiar with the cats that descended on me last summer. There are five of them, and they mean that I can’t open my doors to any breezes even during the hot summer. They gather around me whenever I am trying to figure or draw on my bench. I have developed some strategies to work with this. I’m 76, and recently I’ve had a health issue (kidney stones) that took me away from the shop for a matter of months. Fortunately, my health has tended in general and in my core to be good, and, thanks to my wife and some disciplines I’ve developed over the years, I am doing things to keep it that way.
These are some of the things that make my work like a tomato plant.