Lessons Learned

I’ve had a lot of time to think in the ten days or so, while laid up (well, when I wasn’t napping, which I swear I did for about 20 hours a day). One thing that was on my mind – that was on my mind before I had so much extra sitting-around time – was lessons learned from changing the way I do things and making an entire line at once as opposed to making a line a piece at a time over a few years.

Pros of doing it this way include being able to take stunning photos like the one above, where everything is featured; feeling excited about an entire line of things; people’s reactions as they see me making things and get excited about when I’ll be finished; and feeling a little more professional putting out everything at once instead of piecemeal.

Cons of doing this way include pretty much every other thing I do to hold HaldeCraft together falling by the wayside while I did it; other things ran out of stock and I never had time to replace them; things I’d planned on replacing or doing differently got shunted to a back burner; and some new things I’d planned on doing just never got done.

Granted, I made all that in two months. When I gave myself a two month time frame to do that, I was more thinking that I’d go fast because it would be new and fun… that I basically already knew what I was doing… and that if I admitted it to myself three months would have been more ideal than two but if I released this at the end of May, and then took three months to make another, that would be the end of August (and Big Bang Bazaar) and then if I took three months more to make a third line, that would be the end of November and great for holiday shopping.

So I was going to make the next line in three months, and release it at the end of August. Except that the first part of June was spent catching up with things that had fallen by the wayside over April and May, and the second part of June was spent being sick, sometimes too sick to work. So here I am facing another two-month time frame if I want to get the next line out at the end of August — I’ve narrowed down the colors and I know exactly the pieces I’m going to make but still that only gives me about seven weeks to make 33 pieces (plus another 33 for unglazed backstock so 66 pieces total and that’s not counting if any blow up in the kiln or suffer other horrible disasters. Also, if those two months are like April and May, a lot of other things are going to get ignored or dropped… and I don’t like that idea.

So I think I’m going to aim to have the next line out by the end of October instead of the end of August. Any pieces I have finished I will most likely bring with me to Big Bang Bazaar in August, but I think my schedule is too tight to get it done by September. September has two weeks of dyeing yarn for club, followed by a weekend show in Orlando (the Florida Fiber-In), and October has me taking a week-long vacation with my family (Walt Disney World, watch out!) and a weekend in Tampa with friends. I will probably get as much done in those two months as I would in a regular month. And at this point, I’d rather give myself too much time than not enough. If I plan for the end of October and I’m done by September, awesome! But if I plan for the end of September and don’t finish until October, I’m going to feel awfully silly.

Then I will reassess; at this moment I’m tentatively planning a line to release in April of next year, and another in October… that’s six months apart. But if it starts being easier than I expect, the more I get into a groove of making things… then I’ll do three; one in February, one four months later in June, and one four months later in October. Either way October will be a party month! (Appropriate since that’s my birthday month.)

Sometimes it’s difficult to use both sides of my brain. The artist in me wants to make, make, make! Make ALL THE THINGS. But the business owner in me needs to constantly evaluate and assess. You shouldn’t be making all the things if that’s making you drop other parts of your work. Something’s gotta give. So this is me, musing, evaluating, but still acknowledging that I am 100% wired for making ALL THE THINGS. I’m just trying to find my balance and sometimes you need to take a hard look at where you’ve been so you can make sure to clear the road ahead when similar things arrive in your path.

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