Things have been quite different around here this summer. In the past I have spent most of my time working on animal head sculptures in my studio. It is cool in summer, and since the base of my work is paper mache I took advantage of the hot dry summer air to sun bake my work. I always had lots of orders, and if not I would work on "spec" pieces for the fall and winter, or new designs just for fun. Over the years I have hired help, usually a teenager, to work part time in the summer doing basic lay-up work.
A few years ago the average wait for someone who ordered one of my pieces was four to six weeks, and I had a good international following.
Then the recession started. If you are unemployed, or your house is in foreclosure, you just don't have money to spend on original art. The international business lasted longer than domestic. The commercial (as in office decor) lasted longer than individual purchases.
Last year was worse than the year before, and this year I have had weeks go by without an order on the books. I have not been building extra either. I only have a few finished pieces in inventory, and even fewer unfinished.
The good thing is that this has given me time to work on the house. Now when I check the email in the morning I feel strangely glad when there are no orders. And the place has been quiet without a summer helper.
But then suddenly things have changed again. I have gotten three orders in the two weeks, and I am working out the details for another custom piece. It's good to see a little money coming in, but in a way my time is probably worth more when I'm painting the house than when I'm making an Elephant!
I have wondered many times if I can take some of it with me into our next life. I have narrowed down the list of the most popular critters I make and could easily fit what I need to make them into our towed. I have imagined a variety of working set ups, including an Easy-Up next to the RV, or perhaps in an activity room at a resort. Marketing would be the same as it is now. On the internet. On my Web Page. If I could make just a few pieces a month it would certainly help pay space fees at nicer places. Our living the RV life isn't dependent on the extra money, but I would be happy to have it, and my identity is still very strongly tied to my work. If I leave it behind, who am I.
Oh well, only time will tell. For now I have to finish a Large Elephant, start a Large Zebra, design a custom Dragon, and send a customer fabric swatches for a Pig.
If you would like to see my work, there is a tab at the top of this page for my web site.
or click here animalhead.com
423 Days, or 1 year, 28 days till the target date for having the house on the market!
When we hit the road is anybody's guess!