What can I say, it's been a long 18+ months for all of us. I hope you and your family are doing well, and staying healthy.
In December 2019, I had undergone major spinal surgery to stabilize a spinal cord "crisis" that if left unattended would have very rapidly led to me being paralyzed from the neck down.
So, given a directive from my surgeon that "you have 30 days to get your life in order," I did just that and on December 17, 2019, the surgeries began. Over the next 2 days I would have 3 operations, 18 hours in all, and then I would begin the very slow, long and painful journey back to "life."
Just as I was reaching the 4 month recovery point, COVID hit the United States, HARD. On March 12, 2020, I closed the Studio. Unbeknownst to me, this would ultimately become a permanent closure.
Along with every other small owned retail business in the world, the business plan for Big Dog Pots Pottery was about to take a long, torturous ride on the COVID shift and pivot roller coaster named "How Can We Save this Business?"
There were a number of iterations of Big Dog Pots during those first 8 months of COVID. There was Paint Your Own Pottery at HOME, pick it up -paint it - bring it back we fire it - then you pick it up when it is done. This didn't work....too many steps....too many people just simply forgot to either paint their pieces, or to pick them up - even after numerous calls. There were other attempts - painting pottery with acrylics so the pieces didn't have to be fired, shipping ready to paint canvases with instructions and paints...the list continued for months of how to bring in some form of income, pay the few employees that stayed, and use the formidable stock that I had on hand.
Then in August, "life" intervened. My father had to be hospitalized and was then transferred to a long term care facility. I had to devote vast amounts of time to getting him to doctors appointments, dealing remotely with his care issues (he entered the facility during the height of COVID and it was in lock down when he entered and remained that way for 6 months). Also during this time, I had to make the decision to end his lease and go through the arduous task of sorting through a lifetime of possessions, papers, mementos, clothes, furniture, kitchenware, you name it. If you have done this, you know how exhausting this process can be.
Then Thanksgiving morning my mother-in-law passed away. Shortly thereafter on December 1st, my Uncle died and I was the executor of his estate.
It just seemed to go on, and on, and on....
By mid June 2021, I was exhausted and looking at a world where I didn't see COVID getting under control - regarding retail stores - anytime soon.
So, on a whim, we asked a longtime realtor friend Anne Michael Greene, what the Studio might sell for...she suggested we lease it instead. We said "sure, let's try that." Within a week Anne Michael had secured us an 18 month lease for 3,000 square feet of the newer two story portion of the Studio.
Then we had to vacate that space......EVERYTHING HAD TO GO! And it did...I sold a few things, gave a LOT away, and mostly wound up donating the ceramics to local schools that had their own kilns so that they could host their own paint your own pottery nights as fund raisers. Then after everything was removed, our new tenant Miller Brothers Construction moved in, and I returned to the original space inside the old house footprint.
In late June, I had yet another family tragedy, and at this point any emotional reserves I had had, were gone.
So, now it is OCTOBER, the seasons are changing. I am physically and emotionally recuperating from the past 18 months.
I feel GOOD!!!
I feel like MAKING POTTERY !!!!
And so I am.
My new normal...Big Dog Pots has returned to its roots. I am making and creating almost everyday in the Studio and selling what I create online.
And THAT, is What Happened.......