I ask in advance that readers excuse the depressive rant I'm about to launch into but sometimes it's good to get things off your chest
A lot of you may already know that I'm a self employed carpet fitter and I have been in and out of the trade for many years. This time of year is always quiet for me but this year it is ultra, super quiet and work is extremely scarce.
I always find January and February extremely depressing. I have very little work and what really gets me down is having to watch my lovely wife work so hard just trying to make ends meet while I have to wait for the phone to start ringing again.
As usual during this time of the year I habitually scan the job vacancies to see if there is anything available to enable me to make the switch to 'employment' but alas it seems at the grand age of 48 I'm all washed up and there is absolutely nothing that I would be suitable for. Scan any job vacancies in the North East and unless you have a background in engineering or nursing you're pretty much screwed ..... unless you want a career in door to door selling or making cold calls to unfortunate home owners to try and sell them something they really don't need.
My wife has always stated that I am unemployable; I don't suffer fools gladly and I really detest the thought of living my life 'by the clock'.... At 16 I left school and started work alongside my Father in the pottery industry as a ceramic mould maker ... I lasted 6 months. One Friday afternoon I stood in line at the clocking on/off machine and looked at the queue of miserable, sad faced people, some of which had been at that same factory all their working life, watching the clock tick by until it reached 5pm so they could clock off...... At that point I clocked off early (to gasps of dismay) and decided that factory work wasn't for me.
I remember my Father begging me to go back but I just couldn't .... I hated every long, tedious, mind-numbing second of being there. Luckily soon after that I found employment (and the only 'employed' position I ever truly loved) working for a resin figurine manufacturer in Stoke-on-Trent. From the moment I walked into the factory/studio I wanted that job desperately. ... and a few days later I got the phone call that started the best period of my working life. I was trained by the sculptor in the process of making silicone rubber moulds for the amazingly detailed pieces he produced and after a year or so I became very good friends him. Looking back I think he's the only boss I've ever had a real respect for. His work was amazing (wildlife figurines and human studies) and it was a great honour to be given the responsibility of getting one of his original sculptures (usually made from clay or wax) and to be left to (in some cases cut the original sculpture to pieces) to produce a master mould and then to get the piece into production.
|'Little owl ' Sculpted by myself around '94|
At this time I realised that I had a talent for sculpture myself. I had always been artistic but it was Mike Simpson (my sculptor boss) who urged me to try and later trained me to sculpt.
Sadly due to the flood of cheap imports into the UK the company was sold off and the workforce was made redundant. I moved to Scotland having been offered a similar role for a company based in Perthshire but alas this didn't work out as having worked for the best I became extremely dispondent with their idea of quality (or poor quality as I viewed it).
Since then I've been in and out of the flooring industry...I have a good reputation for my work and I do enjoy it although at the moment work is extremely scarce and it's really getting me down. In the past I also dipped my toe into the wargame scenery market but at the moment I really do feel completely washed up.... I'm sure this mood will pass, it usually does once the work starts coming in again.
Anyway, here's a few examples of my colourful sculpting past:
|From my wildlife days.....|
And finally a few of my wargame sculpts... These are now owned by Battlescape in Australia (20mm and 15mm scales) and Scale Creep in the US (6mm range)
|20mm Church ruin|
|Selection of 6mm (plus a couple of 3mm scale now owned by Picoaror in the US)|
|6mm Farmhouses and barn|