yet another update of the ups and downs of my life - After losing my job, struggling to avoid bankruptcy, working in a job I hated for 2 1/2 years without finding an adequate job and losing money every month because the job did not cover Hawaiian cost of living, struggling with depression during that time to the point of considering giving up on life, things are obviously moving forward. If you heard a loud noise in the past couple of days, that may have been the weight falling off my shoulders...
Today I signed a contract for a faculty position at a university in Philadelphia, starting January 1. The job is an excellent match to my background, it will be challenging in a good way, and I am pretty much back to the position and pay level that I was at when they screwed me here at the University of Hawaii almost 4 years ago. So, this year I actually have no problem finding something to give thanks for tomorrow.
And while we are at it: Over the past few years I have received a lot of support on all kinds of levels from members of this forum, and I want to thank you all again for that. I know, many others also have tough times and struggles to go through, but for me it was the low point of my life and every little encouragement meant more to me than you may even imagine - Thanks again!
So, what does all this mean for my handle making - or better 'not handle making' - in the past year? To be honest, I have no idea. First, I need to say that I still owe things to some of you, and I am working on that. I had just applied for a leave from my current job and now that the contract is signed, I won't go back there. This means, I will spend all my time from now until Christmas on finishing up some things in the wood shop, taking down the shop, and organizing my move. So here is what I am planning for now:
- Everything that sits around and needs to be sent out will go out before the coming weekend. In some cases I need to check back and confirm addresses because it has been a long time since last contact. If you are waiting for something, you can also contact me directly at customorders @ japanesehandles.com (delete blanks).
- There are a few pieces where I agreed to do the rehandling or handles that need a little tweaking: Those will be finished first and also go out as soon as possible.
- If you are on my order list or I talked with you but have not entered you there, yet, please also contact me - and I will do the same. I expect to get some things done but probably not everything I had hoped to finish.
As for the future, I am not quite sure what to do. I know, I lost a lot of trust and credibility in the past couple of years because I overcommitted myself and could not keep up as I had hoped, and in addition to that there are now a number of others who have stepped in and make handles and other things at least as well as I did - and for less money than I needed to ask for. On the other hand, if I find the focus for it, I still enjoy the work and actually had thought about trying out a bunch of new things. But if I continue, two things need to fall into place: I need to find a place to live that includes a garage or a basement where I can work - driving 12 miles to the wood shop after a full work day and occasional university teaching clearly did not work well. The second thing is that I would drastically limit custom orders and focus more on making what I like, hoping someone will buy it from me so that this whole thing at least breaks even - in the past few years I lost quite a bit of money with this because I had such high overhead cost here in Hawaii. Actually, I might be better off just reselling my wood because the margins on select wood pieces are probably as high as on handles that took a few work hours to make... Any thoughts?
Anyway, tanks for reading this and your continued interest, patience, and support. And if anyone knows of an affordable 1-2BR place for rent with a basement in a safe area of Philly, please let me know