On What to do in the Winter

Damn, it's cold out! You'd think a couple thousand degree fire would heat you up real fast. All that hot air is hell bent on getting somewhere else and it sure isn't planning on sticking around long enough to thaw those hands and feet.

Power through it and dress appropriately! You're supposed to be tough! Aren't all blacksmiths big burly men with bushy beards working shirtless over a glowing fire? No? You mean all of the movies and romance and fantasy book covers have been lying to me?!?!

Fact is, a good portion of the year is going to stink. It will either be extremely hot or extremely cold. If you, like me, don't have heat in your shop or, worse yet, decided to smith outside, prepare to be uncomfortable. Living in northern Illinois, outside of Chicago, I get about 3-4 months of good weather. The rest of the time is crap. Dark, flash floods, blizzards, air so thick you can drink it, we have all been there.

But this is your business, or at least your passion.  Winters will test how much you want to do this. Unless you live in Florida, but you have enough problems down there to worry about anyway. 

Speaking of business. Craft shows dry up and those that do occur have mostly window shoppers, especially right around and following Christmas. For the most part people just want to see nice things and talk to people about their work, but they have already spent their money on other things. I can understand that, did the same thing. Let this be your motto: Spring is Coming.

With spring, people are dying for something to do, someplace to be, or just something. Sign up for those craft shows early to guarantee a spot. Those cold months with a decline in business? Use them to stock up on inventory for shows. Seriously, there are a decent number of smiths but not many venture into craft shows. Since it is spring and, hopefully, the weather isn't abysmal, you may even be able to demonstrate your work which, if you have read my previous post about that very thing, is a huge boon.

Besides, if all else fails and you don't sell all the stuff you made when there were only like 2 hours of light a day, at least you have all the gifts you need for the year for your friends and family. If you don't have any friends, sorry... can't help you there.