Wednesday, October 28, 2009

since last we met

It seems a bit false to march back into my blog and not note, if even just in passing, what I've been up to. My sister and I have been living here in Portland, Oregon for over a year. November will mark a year and a half. We've seen the economy tank, and our own situation go through significant changes countless times since moving here.

In Oregon, the unemployment rate is one of the highest in the country, but (anyone who has lived here will understand) there is an underlying sense, in Portland especially, that those statistics are a given here. Portland is a city of entrepreneurs, artists, craftsmen, small businesses, all sticking their necks out to make something in this beautiful town. It is remarkable when it works, and terrifying when it fails. I've been looking for success stories here in town just recently, feeling like this is the right place to be to find people willing to share what worked for them.

In terms of my own economy, I needed a break from the feast or famine of living out of an Etsy shop. About three months ago I began inquiring about more hours at my place of work. It has been a big shift going back to full time, I still feel ebbs of gratitude when I reflect (like I'm doing right now) on this change. Followers of my blog will remember I've mostly been working part-time since opening my shop in the fall of 2007. The change affected my shop more while I was seeking those hours than now that I'm working them, believe it or not. In the build-up to 40 hours I was feeling a big financial crunch, my computer kept crashing or freezing, my camera broke, and orders were getting lost in the mail. It was a nightmare.

The good news is that I'm now blogging for the store I work in as well. Having a retail position in a letterpress studio makes the creative heart yearn for access into the printmaking studio, apprenticeship, firsthand knowledge of both fields. At Oblation, I've found my niche instead in creating for the company a blog and the framework for more online strategies than they ever explored. It has been wild, and lots of fun.

I guess that's another reason why I came back to my own blog. What is working with having a shop? What aspects of this do I actually enjoy? Where is the benefit? I could have closed down at any time during the past year and saved myself a lot of hair pulling. I had hoped that trying new things would answer some of these questions for me, and I feel like it has.

I have wanted, and want, my shop to fund and inspire my creative endeavors. That's it; to fund the work, to inspire more. These are pretty fundamental goals for me, but just pinpointing what they are has been a step forward from chaos and distraction.

So, although I'm tempted as always to branch off into a million directions, for right now it finally feels as though my wishes have come true and things are starting to actually work out. My future goals are to find more time to draw; beyond that to continue to try new things, explore this lovely state, and practice some new crafts like sewing. But for right now it is good to be working, and even better to see results from that work.

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