Monday, March 11, 2013

Like Sands Through the Hour Glass... does the cash flow through my fingers.
Image via The Drum
Seriously. It's been an expensive week. 

A couple of weeks ago, I broke into the monies that the sale of my beloved Mighty Dodge and purchased a new camera. Our old DSLR was finally due for a replacement after nine years of faithful service. After weighing the pros and cons of spending the cash, I decided the upgrade was worth it. I could use the camera to take better pics of my pieces (after I got the hang of it, of course), so it made some financial sense.

Now, when you have only a very limited fund with which to work, you think very carefully about your spending. When you're part Swiss (and thus spring from a race of bankers) you turn your pennies over many times before spending them. I agonized over the purchase,  wondering if this was a valid expense. After all, I need a website, the ability to send out newsletters, and all manner of other things, not to mention it's time to upgrade my kiln. After all, that's why I sold the car in the first place. (Well, that and some serious nudging from a certain someone...)

So, the T3i arrived, and the book that will help me to decipher the intricacies of my new business tool. I went back to compiling my taxes.

Then the motherboard on my laptop fried. Completely. Irrevocably. Above all, expensively. And in the middle of doing taxes. When else? *sigh* The repair guy said it's a common thing in that brand and model, and when I thought about it, I had the first one replaced within a month of purchase of that laptop.

Research what would make a good replacement. Purchase new laptop. Lament the loss of funds. Suck it up and enjoy the new, larger screen. Use computer to search Craigslist for a new kiln while SATAs to USB cable is in transit so I can transfer the info from my hard drive to my new computer.

Whine at spouse about money going out, no kiln coming in. Spouse tells me to keep looking on Craigslist.

Find kiln. Wait! Find kiln?! WOO-HOO! 
The kiln on Craigslist is actually larger than this one...
Larger. Shiny. Nearly brand new! Only fired three or four times. Sells retail for $2779. Listed on Craigslist for $1500, which is the last of the money from the sale of the Dodge. (Inner cringe.) Look at stats: fires to cone 10 (that means it can go up to 2381 degrees! Cone 10 to ceramics folks...), is digitally controlled (that means I don't have to babysit it like I do my smaller kiln), has a venting system already attached. Simply everything I've been looking for, and is a good brand, too. That means I could do high fire stoneware... And larger pieces... And sculpture! Large sculpture!

I talk to Mr. ShellHawk about it, voicing my concerns that the cash from the sale of the car would be gone before I got the kiln I need. He agreed, and agreed to come with me and take a look at it.

The first impression that I had of it was that it was huge, especially in comparison to what I thought it was going to be. It's taller than what we use at Parks and Recreation, tall enough that I'd have to use a ladder to load it. It gives me concerns about my gimpy back.

We talked to Betty, the lady who's selling it, and got the lowdown on the unit, then went outside to talk it over. Mr. ShellHawk thought it was a good buy, even if it has to be set aside for a little bit while we decide where we're going to wire it. It takes 240 volts, and will need to be hard wired to the wall, and a voltage regulator put it.

Hyperventilation. Heart palpitations. Utter terror at not being able to pay the electric bill. More palpitations at the emptiness of my bank account...

I asked Mr. ShellHawk to do the negotiating. He did, and I have some money left over to buy some shelves for the kiln (which run at $30.00- $40.00 each), but not, unfortunately for the voltage regulator (which I'm told will cost me as much as the kiln) or the electrical wiring. For now, it seems, I will have a very expensive paperweight.

Mind you, I'm not complaining, exactly. I'm just really, really weird about spending large amounts of money in one go. I can blow $1500 in small amounts, over a period of time, no sweat. It's seeing it all go at once that gets the heart racing, even though it's a legitimate and logical business expense. 

It is time to grow, and this is just a growing pain.

But one day, I might, just might, be able to do work like this. Which is why I'm doing this crazy, expensive, time- and -money-sucking venture in which I will almost certainly never be rich.

Several people have suggested a Kickstarter project or something similar to pay for the electrical, but I'm hesitant. Others have suggested a donation in exchange for a piece from the first firings. Again, I'm hesitant. It seems a bit like begging, even though there would be a tangible object in the hands of the benefactor at the end of things. I just don't know that it feels right.

I welcome thoughts and comments on this one.

1 comment:

  1. Exciting! Well the great thing about an investment like this, is that you can always write it off yer taxes next year, heh heh.


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