Monday, November 23, 2009

Made in Montana

I'd like to introduce you to two of my friends who run a pottery studio in Montana and travel to many of the same art festivals around the country as I do. They're Tom and Marcie from Mountain Brook Studios.

These folks are not only two of the most talented potters I know, they're great people. If you are looking for that special gift for someone, you won't go wrong shopping here.

Made in Montana - Mountain Brook Studio from Carmen Ebert on Vimeo.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The good, the bad and the terrible

My latest trip to the two shows I did in California was well, interesting. Sales at Half Moon Bay's Pumpkin festival were on par with last years which made m feel good because many artists I talked to were glad their sales were only down by 30-40%. I can assure you that if you ever read or hear from me that my sales were ONLY down 30-40% that will be the last season I go out on the circuit.

My experiences in Danville were much more mixed. Through out Saturday I complained (silently to myself) that this market just wasn't for me. Although Danville is one of the richest ZIP codes in the country, they got that way my not spending their money. This festival is a place for the public to "be seen" not to attend to see and buy art at. I called my wife after closing Saturday night and begged her to not send me back, but being the ever so optimistic person she is, reminded me that I still had Sunday to make up for the slow sales on Saturday.

On Sunday with only a few hours left in the show, I had a couple of decent sales and low and behold after counting up what I did, I was actually up a few hundred dollars over last year. I'm sticking with my "this is the wrong market for my art" theory and most likely will give this show a rest for a few years.

The one thing that a traveling artist fears the most, even over crappy sales is having a mechanical breakdown while on the road and on this trip, I had two. On my way down to the shows I had my THIRD set of axle bearings fail on my trailer in the last 4 months. Turns out that the backyard tow truck driving, want to be mechanic that repaired them the last time I broke down on the road, over tighten the axle nut thus causing the grease to heat up, melt and burn up the bearings. So much for my good deal from this good ol' boy.

I stopped at a rest area just outside of Weed California and noticed the awkward angle my wheel was leaning and after a few choice words, went into "let's get this thing fixed" mode and called for a tow. When the driver unloaded my trailer from his flatbed truck at the repair shop he informed me that I owed him $360.00 for a THIRTEEN MILE tow. When I question him about the price he informed me that "your in California and we charge $180.00 and hour". When I pointed out that from start to finish it was only about an hour and a half he said there was a 2 hour minimum to tow from the area I broke down. Please remind me never to move back to California OK?

The axle repair went smooth and quick and I was back on my way in a few hours. Oh yeah, when I presented my insurance card for the tow bill the driver said the company rejected the charge because it only covered the tow vehicle and NOT the trailer. This is after I specifically asked my agent if my trailer was covered. Presently, my agent is still hiding from me. I also bought a membership to AAA RV Plus services.

My return trip home went smooth for the entire time until I got to about 50 miles from home. I had to accelerate through a yellow light (I know I should have done the opposite) and noticed the RPMs on my tach rev up which is not what's suppose to happen. This was the first sign that my transmission was going out so I limped it back to Sandpoint where my transmission service center informed me that I needed to have it rebuilt which, was only going to cost $1500.00 and not the $3000.00 plus a repair out of town would have been. Just part of being a traveling artist I told myself and 2 days later picked up my truck with a newly rebuilt tranny. At least I don't have to worry about that happening again for awhile, I hope.