Hello all!Â Today’s post is going to be of the “sneak peek” variety, giving you insights into more than you ever wanted to know about the nitty and gritty of being an etched metal artist.Â A few things prompted the writing of this post: doing my taxes (my printer ran out of toner that day, how did it know?!), a conversation with my father, and a gleco trap.Â Intrigued now, are ya?
The taxes, well, what can I say.Â I’ve been dutifully filing my Schedule C for several years, but being a sideline fledgling meant not feeling the full brunt of self-employment tax.Â This was the first year of being a real full-time “this is my income, you want how much?!” business.Â While I’ll secretly admit it was somewhat less painful than I thought it would be, the real relief came in being able to put a dollar amount to my anxiety.Â Not knowing was far worse than having to fork over the funds.
The conversation with my father was one of those “I think he gets it! oh, no… nevermind” type.Â See, he retired recently.Â Shortly after I got laid off, actually.Â It was an odd bonding time.Â We’d call each other in the mornings to say “guess what I’m doing — not driving to work!” and things like that.Â When we got a boatload of snow, we cheer about how we didn’t have to shovel.Â Still, deep down he saw me as unemployed, not self-employed.Â I took him out to lunch one afternoon and spent a grand total of $9.63 on focaccia sandwiches and he winced and said “are you sure?”.
Recently he’s been selling old guitar catalogs on ebay, having fun collecting $10 here, $50 there and putting it in his vacation fund.Â He lamented the less valuable ones, how they’re barely worth selling once you add in the cost of an envelope and postage and all.Â At the end of the phone call Alan turned to me and said “does he know what you do??”Â Nope, not really.Â I don’t share the unsexy stuff.Â He’d faint if he knew my shipping costs were four figures fat.Â Or that I buy boxes by the hundreds in various shapes and sizes.Â It’s just not the kind of stuff people know about.Â They see the splashy side, finished pieces and fancy photographs.Â Ever wonder where I took that picture?Â On the floor in my studio, on a white sheet of paper.Â Do you think less of me now?
This past week I took some time to do the unsexy stuff, like stock up on the routed wood pieces that go on the back of my work.Â While there is no creativity involved in marking the same cut over and over a hundred times, there is a certain meditative quality to the repetitive motion.Â I actually like making backs, filling up bins sorted by shape and size… there is a feeling of renewal and organization that’s neat and tidy, even when I’m covered from head to toe in sawdust.
As for the gleco trap, well… it is a little tank on my drain that catches the sediment before it enters the main plumbing.Â A little trap that, during all of my organizing and cutting and meditating, came unhinged.Â There is nothing quite as viscerally unsexy as suddenly being covered in rust-colored sludge.Â But like most things about this business, it was full of authenticity.Â And I’ll take that moment of authenticity over a hundred days at a desk watching time slip away.
Until next week……………………..