And we’re off…again

torchwork since crawlAnd again, getting ready for a show. I got in three solid days at the torch. One day a week, for three weeks, which is all I can swing with the day job right now. But it was enough. I was back in the swing of things, increasing speed and accuracy, spending a longer amount of time at the torch with each successive week. New ideas are snowballing in my head, even at an ungodly hour of the morning when I’m riding the bus to work. I jot down books to get from the library to flesh out the inspirations with a little research. I’m on a roll. Enjoying it like I haven’t since last spring.

case diagramAnd now I’m back to the lists: the prep list, the supply list, the printing list, the last minute what-can-I-squeeze-in list, the car packing list. I’m back to breaking down my display, reconfiguring it for the show (four co-joined rectangles rather than five free-standing cases), and repacking only the bare minimum, reducing what I have to haul back and forth. I’m back to making my case set-up diagram.

case with link necklace

Yes, I diagram what goes where in each display case before a show. Yes, I actually refer to it when I set up on location. Why make a diagram? Why don’t I just arrange things the same at every show? Why don’t I just use the same diagram from the last show? Never going to happen. For one thing, as soon as something sells, I start moving things around or adding things from back-stock to fill in. By the next show, my inventory bears little resemblance to what it was. I get antsy between shows. I don’t want to just replace exactly what sold last time. I want to make new things. case with pinwheels and open squaresI often don’t have time to replace everything. So the inventory is different for the next show. So, I make a new diagram. If this seems a bit crazy, remember, I am a jeweler. Jewelers are generally concerned with the aesthetics of small details. I can’t help but CARE what my display looks like. And, given a chance, I’ll obsess endlessly over the smallest minutia for eternity. And I can’t do that when setting up for a show. If I’m lucky, like I am with this show, I can set up the cases and lights and extension cords the night before. That leaves me with two or three hours the morning of the show to get the jewelry in the cases. Which sounds like a lot of time. And it is. And it’s not like I leave the pricing or the polishing or anything like that ’til the last minute either. case with botanical piecesBut I have a tendency to over-think things. And I don’t like feeling rushed. So, I make my diagram. How the cases are configured. Where I’ll use risers. Where the bamboo mats go. How the earrings will be grouped. Will the bracelets be stacked together on a mat or laid out individually on fixtures? How many necklaces will fit on fixtures? I write in which pieces go where. Which pieces look better lying on the bamboo, which on the black velvet, which really only look good on the fixtures? You see? I CAN think about this endlessly. So I do all that a week or more ahead of time. And when I make the diagram, I am DONE thinking about it, well before I actually have to get to the show and set up. Despite my 4:30am wake up time for the day job, I am not a morning person. Yes, I have been waking up to go to work at that hour for about five years, but I am not a morning person. I survive on auto-pilot. So, when I have a show, I usually get to sleep in, but I ‘m at a loss without my usual routine. I actually have to THINK about where I have to be and when. The diagram is my auto-pilot.

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