The solstice is over and the biggest shop opening so far is finished. All orders are packed, signed and on their way to their new homes. I’ve written so many Thank you-notes (THANK YOU!), and while I was printing all the shipping labels my husband stapled the packages shut. All in all it took a couple hours and as we worked side by side, talking quietly or focusing on getting the right label on the right package, the sun slowly set outside the studio window. On the field outside, the three fox pups that live in the forest nearby were playing. Two deer were grazing, a buck with beautiful antlers and a doe with her white tail turned towards us. A hare joined in, seemingly completely unconcerned about the fox pups and their mother, keeping its distance with ears moving from one side to the other, but still calm; eating, looking out. This is what the peak of summer is here - the grass is long and fresh, the animals have an abundance of food. The gathering for autumn hasn’t yet begun and the days are long and warm and easy.
I wanted to share with you what goes on as I close the web shop down and tie in all the loose ends. The shop openings are working so, so well for me, and I’m very happy so many of you think they are a good way of doing things too. I’ve been thinking a lot about why it works so much better for me to organise my business like this rather than having a web shop that is continually restocked, and I think it mainly is because it gives me, and you, a rhythm to follow. For me, it goes like this: Once the shop closes down and everything is packed and shipped, it’s accountancy time. Doing the paperwork for each shop opening is great because I can remember any irregularities and I don’t get overwhelmed by doing three months of accountancy at once (I have to file my VAT and taxes and everything every three months). I then go over my supplies. Do I need more silver, more gold? How many boxes and business cards do I have left? What’s the state of my equipment, is something broken or missing or worn out? I order all my supplies from the UK and Sweden and shipping is expensive so I do my best to make one big order every one or two months instead of many small ones. If it’s the end of a three month period, I have a meeting with my accountant where we look over all invoices, paperwork and other things that needs to be handed over to the Swedish tax agency.
Once all these practicalities are finished, the planning of the next shop opening begins. What’s the season? This is the first question, always. The season, weather, the changing landscape, the rhythm, again the rhythm, is very important to me in my work. But also - which items did well in the previous releases? Do I have something new that I want to focus on finishing and present? What have you been asking for? When is a good date? There is a growing collection of designs that I repeat, and I find it inspiring to figure out how they all belong together in different constellations, to put together a theme for the next shop opening and decide on what items should go in it and which ones that will have to wait. It’s a different aspect of the creative work that is important, even if it’s not as visible as a new pendant design or new photographs, and I think you can sense it too, from your outside perspective. I hope so. During this phase I also try to do other creative things, things that have nothing do do with metal. I play the piano (badly), knit and design knitting patterns, paint, write and read. For the longest time I thought you had to do but one thing to be truly good at it, a true creator. But I think now it’s quite impossible to be creative in just one field; that creativity isn’t something that is contained in one single corner of your soul. It moves like a stream through our very beings, even if it’s not a waterfall in all areas or at all times. Sometimes it’s a quiet creek or a slowly changing pond. Sometimes it’s buried under layers of mud and rocks and debris, barely noticeable. But the more we let it out, and the more we realise where our creative aspects lie, the more we can see it and hang on to it, share it with others. And it doesn’t even have to be what we normally think of as creative “work”, it might be just making up nonsense lyrics to songs we sing to our kids, or organising our dishes in a certain way or doodling or taking pictures with our phones. It’s something we can tap into, some little pointless thing we create, and from there it can grow and we can see what it wants with us.
As of now, I have a LOT of accountancy to finish, and I’m yet to arrive at the next step in this cycle, where I can think about the next shop opening. Soon, I’ll arrive there. In the meantime, tell me, are you up for a late summer vacation opening, perhaps..?