Thanks so much for the emails and comments of encouragement and understanding and prayer. You helped my rubber band get some elasticity back in just one day!
One day spent sleeping and snuggling with fur-therapists, and I was back finishing porcelain and facing opportunities (a.k.a. challenges, a.k.a. problems) the next day!
It always amazes me. I can work myself down to that zombie state, and then after a short regeneration, the first time I pick up a piece of porcelain on which to sculpt, the experience...the emotions are just as fresh and exciting as those first years of making my own designs.
The light I work under is really strong and intense with a mixture of incandescent and fluorescent lighting. I also try to mix in some daylight on my work space so that I get all three sources of light.
Another Fed Ex Overnight Shipment to Washington, D.C., yesterday, came off without a hitch!
Just two short days before we were so confused and exhausted by bizarre problems with the kilns, by bizarre problems with a strange crust on the fired pineapples, even by crazy problems in shipping a package to D.C.
That one kiln firing had 15 pieces that we had to reject! That is 15 times 20 to 30 minutes for me to do my work in finishing the sculpted details! Then there was the time to cast the 15 pieces, the wear on those 15 molds, the cost of the porcelain on those 15 pieces.
That crusty stuff is not something you can brush off. It does not even fire off in a second firing.
We've investigated this mystery for years, called and sent samples to porcelain slip companies, etc.
When there is a huge deadline crunch, this crust starts to appear.
We have some theories about what is happening, and we take some steps to help minimize the time and materials lost by this problem.
The firing the day after the big deadline...not a fleck of this crust to be found on any of the pieces! I told you it was weird.
The other problem that pops up at the most inopportune time is a tiny piece of the plaster mold that hides under the top layer of porcelain. I can sculpt details over it and never have any indication that a plaster fleck is lurking. When the piece fires, the plaster fires away leaving a big crater in the piece.
I've come to look at these unpredictable defects as challenges God allows in our lives to make sure we are leaning on him and depending on him to provide for us!
He does...every time!
Just this morning, we had a call inquiring about me doing a piece for another historic building that I would love to sculpt. If it works out, this would be for Christmas, 2009.
It restored my confidence in pursuing the next level in our business. I'll share some of that at another time.
I'm not telling you any of this for any "Poor Pitiful Penny" sympathy. This story is anything but a pity party. This is yet another victory story in our journey. Anyone who creates something from raw materials runs into production problems.
I'm just sharing with you some of the behind-the-scenes, and more importantly how God takes care of us especially when we have exhausted our own energy and our rubber band has lost its elasticity. This process has been played out here hundreds of times, with every deadline I've ever faced.
Either I am one of God's dumbest children, painfully slow to learn, or He is building strong faith muscles in Gordon and me for a reason.
Today I am thankful. Just deeply, deeply thankful. Trying to work smart and not run my batteries down to empty. Trying to take some time for rest and renewal. Trying to do something not work related.
We still have hundreds of pineapples to finish, and over 100 St. John the Baptist Catholic Church ornaments to finish and several other projects to finish...but we can and we will!
Once again, for the many-thousandth time, I'm learning to take baby steps and then learning to walk again emotionally and spiritually. In the past almost five years, this process of starting all over has been shared with a man who loves me more than I have ever been loved by a human before.
Yes, I'm more thankful than I can express in mere words.
Oodles of fab doggie pictures to share with you next!