I've scaled back the number of shows I'm doing yearly... for the past few years I have been doing between three and five shows each year but now with the physical restraints of a partially torn rotator cuff in my shoulder and a pulled Achilles tendon, I need to limit what I do. So all the body abuse is produced by hammering which is the productive time. With entry costs, the time spent packing art and display materials, driving to the show, unpacking and setting up, then spending a day or two in the booth before tearing down and driving home, it all added up to a bunch of work. Sometimes I made enough sales to cover the show costs and earn some profit, but often I have barely done that. But the Art Harvest Studio Tour is different. I don't have to pack up anything, go anywhere, or pay anybody but myself. The people come to see my art and where I produce it. They see where my inspiration comes from. These people are interested and curious about art and make an effort to go see the artists because they appreciate the process and context that creates the art as much as the art itself. These are the people I want to show my work to. And these people also are often interested in acquiring a piece my work. The Art Harvest Studio Tour has been very good for my sales, last year it did better then all the other shows I did combined. So that's why I'm concentrating on just producing work... so I will have plenty of inventory for those first two weekends in October. I'm actually looking forward to it.
Somewhere I acquired some heavy brass sheets that I have used to raise a series of three large pieces.
What I've noticed is that my skills increase proportional to the time I put into hammering. I recently took a workshop from the master metalsmith, Greg Wilbur, who was my initial inspiration over twenty years ago. I acquired a new hammer at the workshop, hand forged from alloy steel by Arkon Kartmazov, a Russian born blacksmith who is a good friend of Greg's. This hammer is Arkon's own design, inspired by the raising hammers he saw while he was in Japan studying with Japanese metalsmiths. This new hammer is much more aggressive than the hammers I've been using, allowing me to raise metal much faster. My aesthetic sense has also been improving, resulting in more pleasing forms.