The last part of this year has been pretty incredible. I went from having a 'quiet' year with not much on, no residencies no real exhibitions planned to BAM, working full time for myself. AS A GLASS BLOWER!! What the?! I know right, I'm as shocked as you. In June I had a few bites on the horizon and decided to make the jump into full time self employment and say see ya to the part time retail world. (The retail world was making me a horrible dark demon who hated pretty much everyone and everything. (Oh the anger, oh the ragiest of rages!) I'm stubborn and I don't like being told what to do at the best of times let alone have ridiculous rules and protocol shoved down my throat. The company I worked for was going through some pretty big changes and I no longer felt like my individuality which they always prided themselves on having staff who could think for themselves, would rather have cookie cutter teenager robots who couldnt string two sentences together without being given the appropriate cue cards, but hey, whatevs, I had an amazing run. Oh and I also wanted to add, the location; Melbourne Central had a BIG part to play. That place is one of the seven circles of hell. Or as we like to refer to it, Melbourne Central; where souls come to be broken.)
So I quit. Weeeeeel, I kind of slunk out the back door, told them I wanted six weeks off and never came back. I know! I know! It was the cowards way out but I just didn't want to go out in a blaze of glory and I do love those gals that work there and I guess I just expected that I might have to go back one day. (I don't think I can ever go back. Too jaded, ie; pig headed.) So what did I do???? To me 2014 only really started in June (maybe I work in financial years??), so the first cab off the ranks was Life Instyle.
Oh man, good and bad. I felt like I went from one retail extreme to another. Bozos as far as the eye can see!! Four ball breaking days on the front line, good gawd never again... I did get some orders out of it and covered my costs but at what price?! The last day saw me hiding out in the employee lounge cramming burger rings in my mouth and watching jimmy fallon clips on my lap top crying hysterically...ahem.
So I got to work making my orders which is great because it meant my exit strategy to quit retail was working. I had created a source of income for myself. I also started to get some really good promo in some mags.
Then I started to get some pretty exciting emails. The first one being from the Australian juggernaut in the furniture world that is Jardan. Wow. I still pinch myself that this one really happened. Jardan approached me saying that they had seen my work at last years design files open house and yada yada yada, now I make a range of lighting AND homewares for them. I am so proud of this job and whats super fantastic about it is that it is ongoing AND has potential to really blow up (HAHAHHAHA, I saw what I did there, unconciously of course but just goes to show I live, eat, sleep and breathe glass blowing)
I think its fair to say that this job saw me give myself a whole new batch of grey hairs....oh man did i do some worryin, i had sleepless nights, i stressed myself silly. I feel like I have learnt something form every big job I did this year, and this job taught me to 'keep the faith'. To crush that little voice that says "you are a fraud, why are you doing this?" and to believe whole heartedly that you are good. Better than good even. Jardan are a dream to work with, they believe in me so why wouldn't I?
My next big job was the dinos job. I got to make a line of work for a brand I have loved forever, Dinosaur Designs. Wow. I still pinch myself about this one. This one was sheer numbers. Man oh man did we make some numbers. I got to run a team and this job really let me work on my skills as a blower.
This job also gave me a great opportunity to run in my brand new piece of equipment; my grinding wheel!
I just can not even fathom having to do that job without my own wheel. One of the best things I have ever bought. (Also one of the most expensive things i have ever bought. I spent so long deliberating whether I should buy it or not. I was tearing my hair out one night (as I like to do), had it on the brink of purchase, was about to back out, Brendan goes let me see and clicks "buy". What the fuck did you do?!! Agh, instant buyers remorse!!! Turns out to be the best thing ever, ha, who knew?
The next Big job of the year was my colab with Gorman. THE Gorman!!!
This was another project that saw me stress myself out beyond belief...at one point I thought I was going to have to pull the pin. I didn't think I could do it. What an idiot!! I am so proud of this project. Working with Lisa was amazing.
I pushed myself in this one and designed something I had never made before but wanted to learn, a flame worked swizzle stick. The launch was so much fun and looks incredible in their brand new driver lane store in the city. I'm one proud papa.
So this year has been pretty hectic. Actually the last five months have been off the hook crazy. But hey, thats the way I roll, I like crazy, I like busy, I like 5 things on the go at once. Here are some of my other achievements this year:
Exhibited in the Yerring Sculpture award with Elaine Miles.
Went to the Big Hearted Business Conference - AMAZING!
Took a pottery class with this goon.
Terrorised a small seaside town with these boobs.
Did a custom job for T2.
Drove to Adelaide solo more times than I would like to think about....
Got to meet Charli 2na!
Bought a freaking House!!!!
Made some sweet works for a Craft Vic group show.
Got a hot torch and taught myself a few things.
Worked with this goon all year.
Bought a ute!
Got on a billboard!!
More sweet promo!
Blew ALOT of glass.
So yeah. I did stuff. Turns out ALOT of stuff. So thank you if you are a new stockist, bought my work, promoted my work or maybe just gave me a hug when I was looking tired. This year was a total corker for me and saw me move into a great position for 2015. I look forward to all the new stuff on offer and I greet all opportunities with open arms. I feel very, VERY lucky to be able to do what I do. And now by counting all this back I do feel like I have earnt my summer break. A Summer for relaxin, hangin out with mates, cooking delicious things, working on new designs, lining things up for next year (stay tuned for a REALLY exciting collaboration I have in the works...!!!!!) and generally enjoying life.
Because at the end of the day I know, that I'm a good guy at stuff.
(And I make great head pieces)