Saturday, June 11, 2011

How Long Does it Take?

Every artist gets asked this question and I have asked it myself. Sometimes it is asked out of shear amazement, how can something so incredible be created in such a short time, seemingly with so little effort? and other times we are trying to put a value to something, equating dollars to hours.  Artists who paint have a wastebasket of missteps at their feet or paint overs, reusing the same canvas until they get it right. Writers, even Stephen King, hit the "delete", edit and reedit what they are trying to say.
   It is no different in the steel arts.  I have a graveyard behind my shop, sometimes piled so high it becomes dangerous to venture there.  I make mistakes.  And there is a certain cost in developing an idea, there will be prototypes and the beginnings that failed to be what was dreamt.
   I mine my junk piles and cut from this or that, creating something from from wasn't.  Not counting drying time for the concrete to cure I could make a bench in one day but it certainly didn't begin that way.  Most benches on the market have a separate concrete slab for the seat and so I began mine that way also.  I quickly realized that I was competing with outfits that had forklifts, lots of molds, big warehouse space and churned these things out.  My back just wouldn't allow that. and my brain says that I just couldn't do the same thing day after day.
   But I still wanted to make a bench!  The process begins with an idea and a list of problems to be solved.
The desire has to be stronger than the obstacles.  I did do my research, spent some time at the local shops to see what was available, what was selling and more important what was missing?  I went to seven local retail outfits and they pretty much all had the same thing: rectangular benches, concrete slabs on concrete pedestals, and pretty much all the same price.  The price of something is never the limiting factor but it is always the beginning.  So my first thought is what could I make and sell for about $200?  In reality, not much.  I am a one man shop competing with an industry, but it is a challenge so that is where I begin.
   My goal is to always raise the bar.  I remember when I was told "arbors don't sell well in this town, Jerry".
I took that as a personal challenge and changed the market!  The stores all had the same thing, flimsy made in China imports that wouldn't support themselves let alone a vine and they were all about a hundred bucks.
I raised that bar considerably and have made arbors for upwards of Three thousand dollars!
 My Bench In Process
   It is really pretty easy to see what is missing in any art field, it just takes courage and a little risk to try to fill that gap.  Oh you can ask yourself "what happens if I fail?" but the truth of the matter is nothing happens, nothing bad anyway.  A little more junk to mine behind the shop, a missed television program, or yes, Soozie, I could have cleaned the shop!

I think I will add a bit of slate to this?
So, what was "missing" in benches?  Music!

and, "How long does it take?" a lifetime!

you can also visit me HERE!


Cheryl said...

Thereisd no doubt StonePost your 'thinking' sets you aside from the others.
You have real talent and I love to see your creations. Once again, I am left thinking that I would love to visit your studio.
Cheers and congratulations!

freebird said...

I like your idea of what is missing is the music as this bench reminds me of a grand piano - maybe it did to you too. I am one of those people who would pay for a sturdy trellis if I could. You are right, they are mostly all the same and they don't stand up to anything. Where I live we have strong winds much of the time so that is always a consideration for what we have in our yard. A sturdy but great bench or arch makes a statement when you have little else in the yard. I can see how you have found a nice little niche. If I ever get to decide just what I want in a yard I may have to give you a shout out. I love original and different things and if I have enough money I'm willing to use it to get that kind of thing too. Keep up the good work of breaking out of the cookie cutter mold.

Barbra Joan said...

You'll always be that 'one of a kind' in your art, your work and yourself. . I'm truly honored to have one of your pieces.. BJ

AutumnLeaves said...

What a gorgeous bench! I love that you put music into this one. This is a perfect little bench for one...a place to set a cup of coffee as you sit outside and enjoy the rise of a new day.