Well, the time has come. It's been a difficult decision. Not only do I love what I do, but I am so very emotionally attached to Whimsical Bliss Studios. Even down to the name.
Mom and I sat around one evening, 10 years ago, trying to come up with a name for our business. We started writing down words we liked. I liked "whimsical", she liked "bliss". And so it began.We called the kiln our "big easy bake oven"
. Then at our first show a lady came into our booth and said our pieces looked good enough to eat, like something from a bakery. By the time we got home we had our tag line, "Bakers of Fine Ceramic Confections".But now I have to let it go, and return it all to hobby status.
I'm sure it will come as no shock that in the last two to three years my sales have declined to nearly nothing. Sadly, those are the same years I have had to go it all alone, and I am tired. And I can finally admit, lonely. It was all so much fun, Mom and I creating, oohing and ahhing when something came out
of the kiln that was beyond our expectations. Or commiserating when something failed in the firing. Spitballing ideas, doing shows, laughing - often covered in glaze. We were so proud and excited when we were featured in Romantic Homes Magazine
for the Mother's Day issue featuring mothers and daughters, and we were so disappointed when we discovered they printed the wrong phone number. We laughed that our 15 minutes of fame got cut to just shy of 10.It was Mom who started making the roses, and the story of her remembering how to make them when she looked heavenward and asked her mother to remind her of what she taught her as a child is true. Mom tried to teach me to make roses and I would always put her off saying "why do I need to learn when you make them so well?".
It never accrued to me I have to do any of this without her. So I asked grandma to teach me how to make roses, and she did.Shows. We did lots of shows. We loved them and we hated them. We made lots of friends, and missed seeing them when we could no longer do them. But we didn't miss the physical part of doing a show. We were always the first ones to set up and the last to tear down. Packing all the ceramic pieces was like moving each time. Each piece had to be wrapped in bubble wrap and carefully packed.
And don't forget the tent, the tables, the table clothes, display items, etc....... Some shows were worth it - and some shows were lots of work with very little to show for it. My Father and my husband were the unsung heroes of our shows, they were our faithful roadies.Dad also wired all our lamps. Mom embellished lamp shades to match each one. This has truly been a family affair.
Our lamps inspired Dad to start making lamps out of everything and anything. Toasters, mixers, toys, purses, you name it - he'd wire it!There were the catalog years. We were invited to be part of a artisan catalog and they choose my "Oz" plate. It was a big hit! The plate featured two red shoes with sparkling red rhinestones and lacework rim. The center of the plate said,"The Wizard of Oz is just a movie about two women fighting over a pair of shoes.".
For the better part of a year I would make 24 to 48 plates a month, I thought the kiln would burn up in re-entry. The money was good, and I saw red shoes in my sleep. It all came to an end when Ted Turner contacted the catalog and asked them to cease and desist selling my plate, an items from other artists referring to The Wizard of Oz. You see he owns the movie and apparently my plate threatened to topple his empire.... So the catalog began selling my Cinderella Plate, I was told Disney didn't care and apparently saw it as free advertisement. Go figure.And WBS was such a blessing when Mom was diagnosed with cancer.
Her three year fight was painful and courageous, and I tried to do it all so she wouldn't have to be bothered. Then she told me one day that she needed to paint, to create, to keep her mind off the ugly stuff in her life. And so we painted together to the end. If your reading this and you have one of our Ceramic Confections signed by Lou, cherish it, because Mom painted that one.I have tried to keep it all going, but I have failed. Supplies and shipping have become more and more expensive
. And I have to think that without Mom, by my self, some of the magic is gone. My pieces just don't seem to sell as well. Or maybe it's the lack of feed back that keeps my inspiration from growing. And the economy hasn't helped any.
I hold this secret hope I'll win the lottery and I can keep this all going, but I know that's just a dream. So it's time to close this chapter. It's been a lovely ride and I thank all of you who have appreciated what I, and my Mom, have created. We hope your Ceramic Confections continue give you years of lasting pleasure.My Father and my husband used to tease Mom and I that in a 100 years or so someone will be on the Antiques Roadshow
with one of our pieces. And there would be the explanation of Mom and I and the studio, blah,blah,blah, and the person would have that look, you know the one. The one where they're thinking,"Ya,ya - what's it worth?". And the appraiser rattles of a number that delights the owner. And there are smiles all around. If this should happen to one of your relatives, know that Mom and I are looking down and high-fiving. It was all worth it!I invite you to join me in my new venture here.Hugs to you all and thanks again!