Thursday, December 24, 2009

fresh pallet

Yesterday my magnificent assistant Premium T. packed up the last 3 orders to ship, and I hired her son as well to take down all the show displays and clear all of the detritus from 2009. I got out all the new materials I want to experiment with and put them on the clean work table. They wait; tidy, organized, and are as curious as I am about how they will be used.

How is it possible that I spent the ENTIRE day yesterday preparing for The Shows in February: The Buyers Market of American Craft and The American Craft Council Show. I will be doing both shows this year, to the tune of around $20,000. Yes people, you read that right. Last year I did only one of the two, The Buyers Market, but that show is wholesale only so although I came home with a big stack of orders, I came home beyond broke and had to do some serious juggling to have the materials to ship orders to get paid so I could buy more materials to ship more orders and try to pay my mortgage and bills in a not-to-delinquent fashion, and my assistants were generous enough to postpone their pay checks... In other words, it was one tough time. This year I am doing both shows. They each are geared toward wholesale and attract buyers and gallery owners from all over the country. This is what gives me the entire years worth of work. But the ACC show also has 4 days dedicated to retail, and if things go as hoped and planned, I'll recover my show costs and be able to come home with the money to get the year started again NOT in debt. Hence the 2-show February.

So yesterday I was on the phone and the computer for HOURS, arranging hotels, flights, train travel, booth pipe and drape, electricity, various contracts, and the outrageous drayage costs (did you know it will cost around $1500 for the union workers to pick my pallets up from the loading dock where my shipper drops them and bring them with a forklift to my booth location? It entails, all told, maybe 30 minutes of "work" on their part. I'm all for unions helping disempowered workers, but their hourly wage and benefits are in a different stratosphere from mine. That is nearly as much as shipping the entire load from here to there... (well not really, but still).

And then there is the shipping: arranging pick up (what kind of truck? lift gate? pallet jack?), drop off at the advance warehouse, delivery to the show, storage of the second show's pallet, shipping to the second show's advance warehouse, then from the warehouse to the show site. Then home again. With all the right dates for all of everything! (last year I made my flight reservation for a day later than planned--thank goodness it was for the return flight--a recovery day and night of sleep in the hotel was actually welcome).

You see? Very boring details are involved in the "glamorous" life of being a self-employed artist-type. And by reading this, YOU got to share a part of the extremely boring details!

So yesterday while my house/factory was being put back in order, I was arranging for the start of another year.

And today that is mostly done (need to confirm shipping quote and contract) and I woke to a clean & tidy house, a warm purring fluffy kitten, and clear cold blue skies.

I cried yesterday though, when T. and I looked at the calendar and realized that I only get one week of my planned 3 week retreat. There is no way we can be ready to ship by January 28th unless we light the fire of production soon. I had SO looked forward to that extended creative time! I hope the angel of creativity visits me, and visits me soon...

And THAT is the fresh pallet I will step up to day after tomorrow.

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