If you aren’t in over your head, how do you know how tall you are? -T.S. Eliot
It's been a long week at home and at the studio. Our eldest chicken, Barbarella, passed away yesterday. We got her just about 6 years ago. She was a sweet and curious lady who liked to get in the middle of whatever we were doing while we gardened. And she loved tortilla chips. One summer day we were having a snack in the yard and she discovered how delicious they are.
When we realized Barb was sick we wanted to jump into action and pick up meds to try and perk her up. But we both needed to go to work. Even though Jenn is mainly self-employed via P&D, we have meetings, orders, classes to prep. for, etc. that are mostly time sensitive. I.E., being self employed doesn't mean you can necessarily drop everything at work to take care of things at home. Clients and students have deadlines and expectations, and if we don't meet them, our business looks bad, and our financial bottom line suffers. You could argue that things come up, emergencies happen, and that people will understand. And that is often true. In the end each of us has to decide how to make the best choice for that moment in time. When you're your own boss, you call the shots for better, or worse.
We've been thinking about what a disservice it is to only post happy, upbeat posts about our business, because even though those posts are real, they only tell part of the story. We are all too human in our fears, worries, stresses, etc. We count our blessings and good fortune every day, but sometimes the scales tip and we need to process and work through frustrations and disappointments.
One of the things that's been on our mind lately is what's next. Our business incubator with the c3:initiative is wrapping up at the end of Sept. and we will be moving out of our current studio space. While we're working on an outline of a plan for next steps for our business, we're not quite ready to put it out into the world just yet. In the next few weeks we will firm up some things and then we'll be able to move forward.
There's been a lot of talk in Portland about artists being displaced as the city grows and the cost of living rises. As owners of a creative business we are all too familiar with the balancing act of income vs. debt. Our studio continues to evolve and grow, and we are excited every time we sell out a class, sell something on etsy, or get a new custom order inquiry. But the reality is we don't always make ends meet, and there are some very sloooow times. We sweat being able to pay our mortgage, our student loans, our credit card bills. We, like so many others in Portland, are trying to figure out the new normal. How do we evolve with the city and grow with her?
These past two months, in between teaching classes, making production paper at Oblation Papers and Press, and working with the artists in the residency program, Jenn has been hammering away at our latest McMenamins card order. We're in the home stretch and need to make just 200 more envelopes to finish up the 400 cards. The pics. from above are of the studio from the past few days.
Recently we've had several people ask us how we manage it all. And the answer is simple. We just do. Sometimes things don't go the way we plan or hope for, but at the end of the day we have to figure it out and make it work. And if one of the metaphorical plates that we're spinning comes crashing down, that is a part of the journey. It's a sucky part to be sure, and then there's all the mess of cleaning up the broken pieces, but what other choice is there really?
We find the best way to keep things in perspective is to come back around to being thankful. Thank you for going on this crazy ride with us. Thank you for your support, your kind words, and your encouragement. Thank you for taking our classes, for telling people about what we do, and for buying our paper and our art. Life can get dark, and messy, and stressful but at the end of the day we know there will be bright, beautiful, lovely times too.
Pulp & Deckle is a handmade papermaking studio located in Portland, OR.