After my Rotten Week in May, it took all of June and some of July to get back to feeling normal, at least as normal as it ever gets around here. In addition to all the stuff happening here at the Studio, we've also had the Ontario election, and no rain. Not that there's a connection there, but neither one of them has contributed to the general happiness at Pine Ridge. Add in the high cost of gas, which leads to low sales of pottery (yes, there is a connection there) and you can see why my mood has been, shall we say, low. I finally hit on the word 'defeated' to describe how I felt and I think that fits.
Last year, sales of my pottery were good. I ended up the year with some actual money in the bank, and, perhaps dangerously, the feeling that maybe I finally knew what I was doing. Ah, pride. Yes, even if it doesn't lead to a fall it does make the crash more painful. Sales this year were fine the first few events, then the election uncertainty took hold and they plummeted. So now I'm halfway through the year and sales are less than half of what they were last year at this time. Craftspeople often talk about sales: why they are low, what we can do, how we can predict... the weather is a handy scapegoat. If the weather is bad, we say customers didn't come because the weather was bad, when it is good (the weather) we say customers didn't come because the weather was good and they went to the beach instead. Could be, but what I am sure of is that the worst thing for sales is uncertainty. And an election upsets everybody, especially in a government town like Ottawa. Half the people are worried that if so-and-so gets elected their jobs will be at risk, and the other half worry that if so-and-so is not elected, their jobs will be at risk. Either way, everybody is worried. And worried people don't buy mugs and bowls.
And of course the more serious uncertainty in the Western world due to the sudden trade wars between ourselves and our Large Neighbour is of course making everybody even more nervous. And nervous people don't buy mugs and bowls.
Then there is the cost of gas. When it goes up, people have less 'free' money, and they buy fewer mugs and bowls...
I've had to warn Rosie that if things don't improve, Milkbones will have to be rationed.
Rosie is more worried about the continuing dryness. It makes it so much harder to dig up chipmunks, her favourite hobby. We really haven't had rain for over two months. Wind storms, extreme heat, a few sprinkles, but rain, no. The Maple trees in the woods are wilting, my rock garden is a more of a plant graveyard than a garden and my ferns are in dire straits. I know it's not as important as farm crops, but my garden, my ferns, and my woods, mean a lot to me and seeing things drying to a crisp is most depressing. I'm now watering, small bit by small bit, just to try and keep my ferns and my small conifers alive, but that's putting a heavy strain on my well and risking a pump failure. My well is only 5 gallons per minute, which is not a lot of water, and it is 275' deep. My line of credit at the bank and I live in fear of the pump failing. They aren't meant for continuous use.
But this past week, and in spite of everything, my mood seems to be improving. I've been in the dumps, now I'm starting to think positively again. If sales are low, I will build up stock. It might rain next week (supposed to, but can you believe forecasts?). Rosie can switch to no-name dog treats.
And I've got mugs and honey jars started.
|Honey jars ready for glazing!|