Sunday, March 23, 2014

Help!


Friends, readers, online wanderers…

I've said this before, but it seems evident to me that this is, the Year of The Horse, is a year of galloping movement, fits starts and sudden advances, of forward momentum, of big, radical change. I see it all around me: friends moving, having babies, going back to school, buying land, expanding, learning, growing, reaching toward the sun like so many sprouting seeds. Spring makes it all the more evident and urgent.

While all this motion and energy is a wonderful thing, I sometimes often feel like it's a little overwhelming.  Anne recently summed it up for me perfectly, writing that "Change can be hard even when it's what we wanted."


This is a little bit of a though post for me to write, because I'm not usually one for asking for favors. I'm more of the fiercely independent, "If can't figure it out myself…"-type of person. Whether its my personality, upbringing, or a combination of these, asking others for help does not come naturally to me. Yet any time I've had to, or managed to do that, asking for help has yielded not only the extra hands and physical strength I've needed to accomplish something, but also the emotional support we often also need at times of troubles, or big changes.

Being able to ask for help when you truly need it, is a valuable skill for sure, so long as you don't expect other people to be constantly rushing to your aid, right? I suppose it's something we would all benefit from learning, because every once in a while, we all need a little help from our friends.

With that in mind…some of you may remember that my husband Charlie has been working on what'll hopefully become his lifework, taking over a local toolmaking business.

As I mentioned before, one of the big considerations for us in taking on this venture was finances. He had a decent job, that could have been a career and we were as secure as one can be in this topsy-turvy world. We had a little savings, but beyond that not much in the way of capital. Well, except for supportive friends, family and community and Charlie's evident skill and calling for this work.

Still, as necessary as the change seemed, it has in many ways been a step into the complete unknown, like big changes often are. 

In the end we decided to take a chance and trust that with hard work, a little luck and some help we could make this happen. 
With that in mind, we decided pretty early on to try our hand at crowdfunding, not only because we don't have a wealthy relative, or a rich benefactor who could help bankroll our endeavor, but because the reason we're doing this, the reason Gregg has kept making these tools well beyond retirement, is that this business means a lot to more folks than just the two of them and their families. These tools are an essential part of the creative process of many of the finest makers of Northwest Coast art, something that both of these guys are keenly aware of. It's not simply a family business, tied to the lives and livelihoods of a few individuals, but part of a bigger tradition. It's all of our hope that this will inspire people to learn more about and support this art, as well as helping us get a leg up in keeping an amazing small artisan business going. 

I'm sharing this here because it's a huge part of our lives right now and also 'cos some of you kindly mentioned you'd like to know if there was anything you could do to help.

(You wanna help these two fools make a go of it?)

Of course, we would be ever so grateful if you would donate us a few of your dollars, euros, or pounds, but I know none of y'all are made of money either, so if you can't donate, you can always help us spread the word instead by sharing our page, website and liking us on Facebook.  Prayers and good thoughts are much appreciated and essential. Most importantly, I simply want to share this venture here with you, because you guys are a big, sweet part of my life and I want to take this opportunity express my gratitude for all your encouragement and kindness. Thank you. I couldn't ask for a better community of sweet, caring, smart, funny people.

Here's our video, which shows a lot more of everything these guys do, the tools and some of the art too. 

Kestrel Tool from Charlie Prince on Vimeo



all photos courtesy of Gregg Blomberg and Irene Skyriver
video by Karjam Saeji 




38 comments:

  1. Can't wait to get our mug! I was tempted to get the carving set for my 9 year old nephew, who is getting into carving himself. But, I'm afraid they might be a little too advanced/dangerous for him at this age. Will keep Kestrel Tool in mind for future birthdays though :)

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    1. THANK YOU! It might be a little involved, maybe in a couple years for sure. Whittling is a great way to start, 'cos you're carving away from yourself. They have a bunch of videos about the tools and sharpening and stuff up on their youtube you should show those to him. I can't wait to send you yours reward and add a few bits and bobs too. Hugs! Thank you again.

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  2. Milla dear, you can count on me for contributing AND spreading the news! This is a one-in-a-lifetime occasion :o) and congratulations to Charlie and Gregg for the great video and text. What a noble project! And it's simply wonderful to see you both in real life so to speak.

    Oh, I can feel it's going to work beautifully - because it springs from beautiful, sincere, authentic people, who love art in a truly generous way. xo

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    1. Oh hon you're too kind! I really appreciate your support. I'm curious of what you think of the art too, as you're an artist? It's funny so much of the NW coast art is forever entangled with painting of all forms for me because of my exposure to Emily Carr. Big hug of thank you!

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    2. The NW coast art is still mostly an unknown continent for me, so it's good to be able to appreciate its presence in itself, as something raw, so to speak. What strikes me is the way the totem poles, for instance, seem to integrate the spirit of the creatures they evoke into the very shape and soul of the tree that was chosen for incarnating them.

      The resulting art seems to be actually staring at you from the inside, as opposed to a sculpture that you are simply looking at... It's more disconcerting still, but more remote, in paintings, as it becomes a little abstract (to me at least :o)

      Charlie's and Gregg's mask are quite inspiring and striking! :o)

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  3. Done! It's the least I could do after fondly reading your words and getting lost in your images for years. Good luck!

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    1. Thank you so much, for this and for reading my little log and for your kind wishes. With friends like these near and far, I feel an immense gratitude.

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  4. How exciting! I'm so glad you shared. I watched the video and am so, SO happy for Charlie and for you both. What an incredible thing to be taking on. Craig was a sculpture major in college and I'm sure he'll be into seeing what Kestrel Tool is all about- will show him the video when he's not snoozing away next to me. :)

    Might I get your email address, please?

    Good luck and good vibes to you and yours!

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    1. Thank you m'dear, I know you know all about taking on big, exciting things. I'd love to hear what Craig thinks of it, wood sculpture is a strange form within a strange form (the whole thinking three-dimensionally boggles my tiny mind).
      I emailed you. Lots of love and hugs to you and your family

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  5. yeah milla! proud of you for reaching out. did you make the video?

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    1. Thanks m'dear. I WOULD LOVE TO GET A PHONE DATE IN SOON <3 Our friend Karjam made the video, he's a one man steady cam team, tell you what. He worked hella hard on it before having to go back to Tibet for some family stuff. So grateful to be surrounded by talented folks from all sides. Love ya.

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  6. Just donated! Would give more if nyc living wasn't so crazy, but I'll be sure to share with my friends! Also, I may need to update you on the address come May - the year of the horse has been affecting me like crazy too.

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    1. Oh hon I'm so so honored that you would spend your precious dollars on this. I'd be excited to hear where you're galloping off to on this wild horse ride this time. I've been enjoying little bits of NY through you, a vicarious adventure for the island-bound old lady that I am ;) Lots of hugs and gratitude and let me know where your print must travel. THANK YOU!

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  7. Wish I had tons of money to throw around but did what I could get away with. It is a lot more fun to support small businesses when you kind of feel like you *know* the persons involved, and that video really helped sell it too by showing the traditions and quality of work, etc. Best wishes to all involved!

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    1. Thank you so much, dear. Your kind words mean a lot too as do your wishes. Just knowing that folks are thinking of us on this journey is a big deal for us, something to lean on as we go trough our doubts. I hope spring is on her way for you if she's not already there and send you as well many good wishes and momentum and warm nights and flowery days. <3

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  8. Yeah! So glad to see this! Looks like it is going well so far. Glad you all are asking for help. Talk soon!
    xoxo
    -Lissa

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    1. Oh Liss, you're too sweet, thank you. Hope to see you Fri, show you goods and have tea. Hugs and a big thank you!

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  9. most of the time, i don't mind living humbly and without money. but it's things like this that piss me off a bit and make me wish i had some. i wish i could send you two a gift. but for now, i will pray. xo

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    1. Hon, you're prayers are plenty! That's the exact only reason I'd ever wish to be rich, it would be such a joy to make other's dreams come true as well as one's own, or just give someone a little extra, but in the meantime, we can pray and think loving thoughts. Thank you for that. And hey send me your new addy, so that when I get my act together I can hit you with some sweet mail. Hugs

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  11. I can't think of anything more important than supporting local, artisan craftsmanship. I'm thrilled that you and Charlie will be continuing on Gregg (and Irene)'s good work. Hope to run into you next time I'm on the island!
    Sarah

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    1. Sarah, thank you so so much, you're so generous and sweet.♡ Give us a ring when you come visit next, we're in the book under Prince, Charles. Good mnemonic times ;)

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  12. Just donated & will try to get the word out to as many folks as possible!

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    1. Thank you so so much, we really appreciate both, reading these comments makes me so happy, just knowing that other folks now share a little bit of our dream ♡ Happy Spring and Thank You, again!

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    2. Shared dreams are the best kind! Always happy to help support fellow dreamers & doers.

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  13. What wonderful dreams to have and hold near :) I liked your FB page, shared on Twitter, and am sending lots of prayers!

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    1. Thank you so much dear, it's so nice to know that prayers and good vibes are coming our way. The same to you and happy springtime!

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  14. Small donation made and "liked"! What a wonderful vocation and beautiful craft, I've been in awe of Northwest coastal art since visiting Washington and Vancouver as a kid. Good luck to you both!

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    1. Dear Chloë, thank you so much for your kindness and generosity! It's so interesting how this art and all art, can really affect us when we're young. When I was about five, my mom and her friend took us kids to see Chagall-show and it totally stuck in my mind and my visual understanding of things for good, still to this day, his paintings really speak to me. But I digress. Much love to you m'dear!

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  15. Wishing you great abundance for this project. I loved the video and am glad I can give a little to help Charlie's dream come true.

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    1. Thank you so much, it's so sweet to have kind folks like yourself on our side<3 I really appreciate it. Happy Springtime, dear!

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  16. we are just now going through a very similar change around here, so this was so refreshing to read. I wish you all the luck in the world and will surely spread the word about your new endeavor. Sounds, feels and looks quite incredible.

    As I would have only expected.

    Xx
    J

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    1. I'm intrigued! I hope to find out more about your own journey soon and thanks for all the love and support, same to you m'dear!

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  17. Wishing all you need to come to you in this brave adventure! It's great to be able to support it actively :) x

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    1. Thank you so so much dear heart! And happy bountiful creative spring times!

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  18. I do tend to skim along, so I no doubt missed it, but how exactly does one donate?

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  19. Never mind- I found it! Good luck in your undertaking.

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    1. Thank you so much <3 Having this kind of sweet support makes my heart burst! Happy happy springtime to you!

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