Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reality Check?

  The experience of the Redwoods was just what the doctor ordered. I had accomplished a life long goal of visiting those trees. I felt changed.  I rode back north the next morning at a leisurely pace, stopping in Half Moon Bay to visit the Bakery and do some laundry.  While waiting for the wash, I called Public Glass to check in regarding the workshop that was scheduled for that week.  I was informed that there were no students enrolled, and that the class would not be running.  Shit.  This was not entirely unexpected, but a little disconcerting none the less.  The class was a chunk of money that I was depending on to make it to the next leg of the Journey. The show was a success on many levels and while I did sell some work, I was quite short of where I needed to be to continue on.  I will admit there was a bit of panic setting in - I have no back up plan.  There is no credit line.
    I walked around town a bit and checked out some of the shops, while settling into the idea of reexamining what I am doing and how I am doing it.  I noticed a couple of shops, one was purely art glass called Light & Art, the other a combination of imported items, beads, jewelry, incense, crystals, and related new age nick knacks called Tokenz.  I walked in to Light & Art, the owner asked if she could help me, I told her I was a glass artist. "Do you have any work with you?" "Yes, in the truck." "Why don't you go get it?"  I pulled out the big silver suitcase with miscellaneous glass pieces packed in newspaper.  Overall, I think she enjoyed looking at the work, some of which made her laugh (the chain mold tumblers & ornaments).  She picked out a variety of objects, and paid me for them right away!  Wow, okay, great! Lets try the next place.

    This was a different experience altogether. Seems that I only have enough mojo for one successful solicitation per day (usually the first), any others become a learning experience.  This one especially.  I took a couple of the bowls from the show (still wrapped in shoddy newspaper) and let the owner know that I thought she needed to see them.  Her sheilds were up from the beginning, but she was kind to me considering that I walked into her shop trying to sell her on my work!  She let me know about a local glassblower, Douglass Brown, and how to get to his shop.  I thanked her, and went on my way.

    Douglass' shop is housed in a barn on the same property as the La Nebbia Winery.  Here is the link to his website - click!  Pretty cool set up, nice small shop, a couple of little electric furnaces, single glory hole, couple of annealers, just enough room.  Oh, and it is next door to a winery.....I walked in the door and introduced myself.  "Wait, what's your last name?" "Vinson" "Did you just teach a workshop at BAGI, and do the Hot Glass Cold Beer at Public Glass?"  "Uhmm......yes?"  He pulled out a mold, and informed me that he was inspired by my work to make it. Whoa.  Crazy.  We had dinner and chatted a bit, he offered me a place to stay nearby, he happened to have an extra house for a couple of weeks, and he let me crash there.  He invited me back for the weekend to hang out in the shop & work on a couple of molds for him.
    A little cash in pocket and with something to do for a little cash over the weekend, I headed back to San Francisco.  I was still a bit distraught. I was left with most of those little bowls from the show that I now needed to figure out how to sell and from the recent experience in Half Moon Bay, I knew that digging them out of a box of old newspaper was not going to cut it.  The workshop format that I have been marketing has only had a 50% go rate.  I had two more scheduled in the East, with no clear way of how I was actually going to get there, and not knowing whether I would actually have students once I did get there!  Looks like I have to rethink this whole thing!  I thought a book might be helpful, something like Zen and the Art of Marketing Yourself.  Made it to a bookshop on Haight near Ashbury. Asked for said book - apparently it does not exist (not yet anyway) - but I was led to the business section.  Returned to the counter with "Marketing Lessons From the Grateful Dead" - very appropriate I thought!  

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Encounter With The Redwoods

    There was so much build up for the show and demo, that I was in a bit of a daze the next day. It was quite a mixture of things. It was a bit too much to digest all at once – I was going to need a little bit of time. I knew that I had to take the show down – there was a ceramics show being installed right after me – it took some time, but I got there.

     I finished up right about the time the demo piece cooled down. THAT was exciting! I have been thinking about this piece for a very long time, and I finally get to see what it looks & feels like. Sometimes ideas can be great all the way from conception to planning to making, and then are sort of a disappointment once they come out of the oven. And we were definitely pushing our limits with this one. I didn't know what to expect.
We were not disappointed! I think this piece was much more than I had expected. Evan called it “Bottle Storm” - perfect. Here are a few more pics of it – Click!

    I wasn't going to have class until Tuesday, so I decided that I should dig out that Treasure Map & go camping. I needed to decompress – a lot just happened. That and I figured that this was going to be my one chance to see the Redwoods – so I had better do it. Drove down Coastal Highway 1south out of San Francisco – what a beautiful ride. Right along the ocean. The ocean here is different than I am used to – in the East, the land is flat for some distance before you reach the long sandy beach. Here there are hills that are chewed away by the waves and tides and very short beaches lie just beyond these cliffs. Stunning. I had the pleasure of this view for some distance, before turning East. Hills, some wooded, some groomed, wind there way up and over. It is late evening as I enter into an area where the trees change. There are some Really Big Ones beside the road. I am headed to Portola Redwoods State Park via hand drawn map. The road in climbs in elevation a bit, past vineyards, and small farms, the smell of eucalyptus, sea mist and redwoods in the air. At dusk, I pulled into the ranger's station, self registered and picked up some firewood (I did have a debate about going to see trees & burning wood – but a fire is nice, you know) and drove down into the camping area. I parked at space 19, right next to these two Big Ones and unloaded my camping gear.
    I couldn't wait any longer, so I made my way over to check them out before setting up camp. It was now just after sunset & getting dark. I noticed a dark familiar shape at the base of the tree – It's a hole! I peered Inside to find a large dark cavity. I ran to the truck, grabbed a candle, walked over to the opening & went Inside.

    I hung out inside that tree by candle light. for quite some time. I could feel energy swirling around me, and eventually through me. These things are giant antennae, connecting the energy of the earth & the sky, and here I am, my first encounter with a Redwood, Inside the antennae! Intense! I have wanted to meet these trees my entire life, and here I was! Perfect.
Not sure how long I was in there, but a sharp sound outside interrupted the transmission, and let me know that I should probably set up the tent. I slept very well that night!  Here are some more pics of my stay - Click Click!