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Arts & crafts

So beautiful, it almost made me cry

(31 Posts)
Anne58 Wed 29-Jul-15 19:57:28

When I was first given this job, DS (boss) took me round the workshops showing me things that the students were in the process of making.

He made a point of taking me to the bench of an Australian student who was 9 months into a 1 year course. The student wasn't there, but DS showed me a semi-circular table top, with fine inlay.

It looked lovely, the veneers were in place, but it was unpolished and the legs were nowhere to be seen. Today, P, the student, called me in to the workshop to see it in it's finished state. It was as stated in the title! (Tomorrow I hope to post pictures of it, I just wish I had taken some of the way it was the first time I saw it, beautiful, but in a different way)

P has taken around 3 months to complete this piece. I said that I could imagine his descendants saying "my great grandfather made that!" He replied, "No, I want to sell it as soon as possible!"

I was a bit taken aback at first, but then realised that of course if he want's to make a career of this, then he needs to sell pieces. (He has already sold some lamps, but I haven't seen them)

When I went back into the building where the offices are, I told DS of my reaction to the finished piece. He said "But Phoenix, we do that every day!"

You might think it a bit odd that I'm posting this without the pictures (I really hope to get some that show the piece properly, but no doubt I will end up using the ones that Phil, our resident "digital artist" takes) but my experience today has helped me to understand how privileged I feel to be part of this amazing place, even though my contribution is far from creative. (Unless you count the way that I try to get DS's receipts for certain things accepted by the accountants!)

A very happy Phoenix, who hopes that this job will be "the one" grin

Thank you all.

downtoearth Wed 29-Jul-15 20:21:00

yes but do you like the job grin

Anne58 Wed 29-Jul-15 20:23:02

Urrrrmm, yes, I suppose so! grin grin grin

(Oh heck, I'll look a right whatsit if I get the sack!)

downtoearth Wed 29-Jul-15 20:29:55

it doesn't show...grin

downtoearth Wed 29-Jul-15 20:32:57

have faith my child.....he called you "our Racheal" did he not,bet you have got them round your little finger and they cant do with out you....mind you lack of enthusiasm for the job...grin

Anne58 Wed 29-Jul-15 21:20:26

Oh downtoearth you really have made me grin

Just you all wait until I post the pictures, you will be shock

(Do you think it's legal to enjoy a job so much, even if the boss can be a little bit "touchy" from time to time? I think I'm getting the hang of how to handle him, although there was a slightly dodgy moment earlier today about the ingredients for sangria!)

merlotgran Wed 29-Jul-15 21:25:11

You get sangria as well?

granjura Wed 29-Jul-15 21:55:12

brilliant phoenix- so gald you are enjoying it so much.

Could you buy the table yourself, perhaps?

The most painful thing, but so common alas, for artists, is to sell to people who haven't got a clue about art but are just rich and buying for investment- not even truly liking the piece!

Anne58 Wed 29-Jul-15 22:01:18

No, merlot grin There is a two week summer school going on with this (apparently) well known American wood working chap, and there is to be a barbecue/party thing on the first weekend. I suggested that we might follow the example of the members party things where I worked before which involved a new dustbin lined with a bin liner, then filled with sangria! DS rather liked that idea! There will also be bottled beer.

I had another thought (I really should start charging him for these] that we should offer something decent for the non drinkers/drivers, what I call "posh pop", Asda used to do a lovely red grape & hibiscus, plus a cranberry & raspberry spritzer (spring water rather than wine). I just thought that some people will be driving, and others may not drink alcohol, so we should offer them something other than coke, orange juice etc.

merlotgran Wed 29-Jul-15 22:09:32

Yes. It's nice for the drivers to be offered something a little unusual. I often make my own spritzers as I'm always the driver. There is usually some fruit juice available which is nice with tonic water and fresh lime. Cloudy apple juice and tonic water tastes like a good cider.

Nelliemoser Wed 29-Jul-15 23:14:21

Phoenix I often use those Asda soft drinks. Several of them are really nice as are the Belvoir Farms juice drinks. They make a good alternative to wine.

rubylady Thu 30-Jul-15 01:32:46

Phoenix You seem like a wonderful asset to this company and to your boss, he is very lucky to have you, don't let him forget that. Just like we all are. smile

Anne58 Thu 30-Jul-15 08:34:03

blush smile

thatbags Thu 30-Jul-15 08:42:32

jura, don't you think that someone who is willing to 'invest' in a piece of work is appreciating it at some level? They clearly recognise its artistic value or they wouldn't pay money for it.

Someone else might appreciate it in a more spiritual way, of course, but buying art for investment also preserves the art so shouldn't be maligned.

Penstemmon Thu 30-Jul-15 09:29:45

Presumably an artist just wants there pieces to sell, to make a living. What happens after perhaps does not matter!

thatbags Thu 30-Jul-15 10:53:35

I think that's probably right, pen. For an artist I imagine a huge proportion of the satisfaction they feel is firstly in doing/making the art in the first place – the process of it – and then in finding a buyer who appreciates it enough to shell out some dosh.

Greyduster Thu 30-Jul-15 14:03:47

I would imagine the major difficulty is pricing such pieces to reflect the artistry and industry that has gone into creating them whilst still making some profit to make it all worthwhile. I have a nephew who is a carpenter, and a very talented woodcarver as a sideline. He would make a few pieces of furniture a year when commissioned, in his spare time, but rarely charged for all the hours he put into them. He said it would make the prices unrealistic and they were expensive as it was. I suppose it depends on who and where your market is. I hope the young man in the OP makes a living out of it. Such artistry is a joy.

Anne58 Thu 30-Jul-15 17:28:41

granjura I think I would need a very full purse to buy the table!

I tried to take some photos today but my little digital camera didn't do it justice.

Phil took some today with his huge expensive camera, he will email some to me next week and I will upload them here so that you can all see them. I have asked P the maker if that's ok and he was happy to let anyone who wants to, see them!

I have asked him what he will be working on next and he has shown me some drawings and the timber he has selected. He will be making a small (about 3ft high) cabinet. He plans to use it as a sort of "sample" in that it will be small enough to take to a potential client's house when he is approached about commissioned pieces. I think that is a great idea, as even though photographs can show a lot, there is nothing to compare with touching or handling an item.

I plan to photograph the timber as it is now, large, un-planed chunks, and sort of chart the journey of the piece. I am hoping that P will stay on, he is almost at the end of his 12 month course with the school. Some students stay on after their course, and rent "bench space", but as P is an Australian I'm not sure how it would work with regard to Visa's etc.

I will be interested to see what you all think of the piece, it might not be to everyones taste, but hopefully the craftsmanship that has gone into it will shine through!

Penstemmon Tue 04-Aug-15 22:48:47

It is difficult for artists/craftspersons to sell at profitable prices.

I would love to have the plain glass in my front door replaced with stained glass as I believe it would have had that originally. However I cannot afford to pay a local artist who does fab. stained glass. I do not think she is expensive. If you add a skilled 'hourly rate' plus the cost of materials her prices are reasonable but sadly beyond my pocket.

Elegran Tue 04-Aug-15 23:28:57

Will you be keepng a story of the making of the piece, Phoenix, for the workshop website? It might interest potential buyers and students.

Elegran Tue 04-Aug-15 23:29:55

You might even find a second career, doing photo sequences for students to show and market their work.

Anne58 Tue 04-Aug-15 23:39:57

Funnily enough, I had a conversation with the boss today about something along those lines,(the story or "journey" of a piece from rough timber to it's finished state) it is still in the early stages, but it could work! I think I will leave the photography to Phil, he's much better at that than me, I'll stick to words!

Yesterday he (Phil) was working on the photos of Paul's table, plus the rocking chair made by Michael that I also covet! They will be on the website soon, so hopefully I will be able to either post links or even upload the photos onto here.

If all the admin things that the boss want's me to take on, plus some of the creative stuff (writing for the social media thing) that I would like to take on all come to fruition, heaven knows how I will fit it into 3 days!

Elegran Tue 04-Aug-15 23:44:42

Would a full-time job be on?

Anne58 Wed 05-Aug-15 00:15:43

In a way I hope not Elegran !

I ended up doing 4 days last week and felt quite weary! There still seemed to be quite a bit to do around the house, let alone the things that I wanted to do.

I suppose time will tell. I keep thinking that it's early day's but it isn't really! I want to re-vamp the filing system, the boss keeps giving me stuff to file, but although there are folders in place, I don't think they are set up in the best way, then there is the matter of sorting out contracts, bringing some of the dreaded "compliance" issues up to the mark, then I have a full day next Tuesday with the apprentice bean counter Accountants assistant to go through my first attempt at "month end".

It doesn't help that there are 3 separate businesses, each with their own bank account and credit/debit cards. That would be fine if "himself" didn't just use the cards willy nilly regardless of what he is buying for where!

If only I could have a couple of days purely concentrating on that ^^ sort of stuff, I might make some headway, but then I have to book his dentist appointments, check with the bank if it's ok that the dog comes with him to the meeting on Thursday confused then have students coming from (literally) all over the world, well, Sweden, Canada and Belgium, and that's only in September! who seem to think that I can sort them out with accommodation, then the UK ones asking about bus routes (what bus?)
plus lovely Michael, Israeli national, with a German driving license who is having trouble opening a bank account, then I have to order 2 extra Apple Macs on a lease/buy basis, oh and by the way Phoenix, can you look into getting 4 Adobe Photoshop software packages on an educational establishment basis, and what happened to those special nails we ordered from Germany?

MariClaire Wed 05-Aug-15 07:48:11

From the variety of your task list phoenix it is clear to me that you're proving to be indispensable! And your passion for the work product itself offers deeper meaning to all the administrative work you obviously perform well. Congratulations! They can't get on without you! After all the challenges you've faced and overcome, it's time to take a deep breath and allow yourself to enjoy your job once more. Well done phoenix!

PS I enjoy your writing and musings very much smile