Our First Anniversary at Black & Smith Country General

Three years ago (as Facebook reminded me, with one of my "memories") we put an offer in on our first home.

I joke (only partially) that buying this house was both the best and worst decision that we ever made. The worst decision because it has been a HELL of a lot of work to fix up (and we're still fixing it), with just about every conceivable problem arising at some point in the process. It has been an exercise in patience, a challenge for our relationship, and continues to be a project that we spend hours on each week. We are two people who are driven by growth. Our home is growing, it's thriving, it's changing. It's not what either of us had expeceted. But that's why buying this place was also the best decision we ever made.

Though an exercise in patience, our workshop/store/home/garden has taught us a lot, and given us a purpose - many goals to work towards, milestones to meet, and barriers to break down. Sometimes when I look at pictures of this place when we first bought it, I don't even recognize it. I don't really recognize me at that time either.

Last year (after two years of paying commercial property taxes, and staring at a giant empty room) we decided it was time we did something with this space of ours. We opened a shop. It started as a showroom for my pottery and a space to highlight the work of some other local makers. We had organic jam and nut butters, soaps, pillows, some wooden toys, coffee and tea. That was about it.

Since this time last year, the shop has expanded to carry a wide and carefully curated selection of all the things we love, all the things that (I believe) will help you to live a more beautiful life. These objects bring joy to the everyday, delight to the mundane. They brighten up your living space, and (I speak from experience on this one) can bring hope to some of the darkest days in your life. They are made by Canadians - handmade by artists with families and homes of their own - lives they are supporting by creating beautiful things.

We're celebrating our first anniversary of being open, our "First Birthday" if you will, on December 3 + 4.

Please join us for the celebration. Help us to celebrate the good work that all our makers do.
Join us in celebrating Canadian craft.
Sharethe love of handmade this holiday season.

... and tell a friend! (:

Sink or Swim

Tonight was my last shift as a part-time waitress.

For the last three years I have been building my ceramic business while juggling various part time jobs, sometimes several at the same time. With a new first home (and a new first mortgage!)  I didn't have the guts to go headstrong into a ceramic career and hope to make it. I worried I would fail.

What I've discovered in the last little while is that there is no "hope" - one doesn't HOPE to succeed. They succeed, or they don't succeed. I often ask my partner "What are the chances that___ will work out?" His response is always wise (though sometimes irritating)  " 50/50. It will work out, or it won't."

Two months ago, I decided it was time to remove my personal flotation device, and see if I will sink, or swim. If I will succeed, or not succeed. If I will make it, or not make it.

The funny thing about a flotation device is you can never truly swim with it on. You can bob around with your bum wet, kick your feet and splash your arms, and maybe get a face full of the sea when a wave crashes by. You won't sink, but you won't swim either. Sometimes you just have to cut yourself loose from the ropes holding you back, so that you can fly. You have to step off that ledge, rip off the bandaid, and SWIM!

So after a long last night at work,  I'm sitting in my living room with my two cats and toasting to stepping off that ledge. "I will make it! I will make a living from clay! I will work in my studio and make pots to bring joy to people's lives. I will teach classes and share the love of clay with others! I will succeed!"