Thursday, April 09, 2020

'Working' during a Pandemic ...

Part One : The self employed artisan on lockdown.

On one side, it's not really that much different than usual, at least for this time of year.

We expect considerable snow here in Wareham. The first years up here (so the 1990's) four to six feet was typical. Every winter you could expect normally at least two periods, lasting a couple of days, when we were effectively snowed in here. I've learned, through direct, nasty experience, that if Don has not managed to get the roughly 1 km from his place to mine with his four wheel drive tractor to blow out my drive? Just to stay the Hell HOME that day. Any normal winter, you should expect the power to go out for a couple of days as well (not necessarily the same storm). In fact, given the amount of wind at Wareham, power could be expected to fail a couple of times over the rest of the year as well.

Over the winter at the Wareham Forge, operations effectively shut down. There is no residual heating system out in the workshop. I normally only run the propane forge from roughly November through to March. Yes, this effectively acts as a space heater. But the shop is at whatever last nights low temperature was. In January and February this is typically - 10 to - 20 C. I keep a heater on my slack (water) tub in an attempt to keep if from freezing solid. Also a heater on the anvil itself. (Remember that otherwise that huge block of metal would also be at - 20 C!)
Honestly - in a normal year I rarely go into the forge in the dead of winter.

Put that all together, and it is not at all uncommon for us to go 10 to 14 days without setting foot off the property in the winter. (Other than shoveling as seen, out to the mail box.) Standard supply and grocery trips on that same turn over. 'Stocking Up' is just how we live in the country.

February 28, 2020
As you should imagine - this all directly translates into 'No Winter Courses'. When I don't even want to subject myself to those workshop conditions, I can not for the life of me imagine asking anyone to pay to endure those conditions! In past years, my first program of the year (two students, use of propane forge) was typically roughly the second weekend of March Break, so the third weekend in March.
This year my first program was not scheduled until the second weekend in April.

Like this weekend coming up.

As anyone following the Wareham Forge has likely seen, I have cancelled the courses originally set for April and May. Everything else I had intended to take part in originally through now to at least July 1 has also been cancelled.

Not a surprise, given the situation we all are finding ourselves in.

So where does that leave me, living the 'Carefree Life of the Artist'?
Pretty much screwed - that's where.

Even before I had decided to cancel my own scheduled programs through to at least July1, the few reservations I did have had mostly cancelled themselves. New bookings? Not happening.
So add it up.
Essentially no income over January to March (*). (Or for December 2019 either actually).
Now no income for April and May, and nothing likely for June either.

So, 'Self Isolation' ? Piece of cake. Pretty much the same thing as has been going on here anyway. The only small modification is that we are fixing our supply trips to a minimum of every 14 days plus.

Part Two?

(*) Ok, not quite true. I did get some film related work. Consulting, Design, Object, Rental. Last payment still outstanding by the way. (Expect a future blog post on that project.)

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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