Sunday, April 15, 2012

Attempting to Reduce Production Time

I'm now printing 5 grackles at a time
Revelation: Work Smarter!
In order to make a living doing my art, I need to decrease my production time or use cheaper materials. Well, I don't like the cheaper materials idea, so I'm tackling production time. Working more efficiently on my sell able items will allow me to work on other projects--products that I'm excited about working on but have pushed back due to lack of time (these projects also have the potential to sell at a higher price point). In this vein, I carved 10 birds for my grackle collages on the same piece of wood--5 on one side, 5 on the other--allowing me to print several at a time.

Collaged boards waiting for grackles
A couple of weeks ago I printed background papers and glued them to my wood frames, making an assembly line of sorts. I'll add a grackle on them once dry and touch up where needed. I've also been recording every second spent on each step in the process. When this next batch of grackle collages are finished, I want to accurately know how much time I spent working on them. Knowing how much time each takes + the cost of supplies, will be valuable when setting the price. Market value is key here, but I at least need to be going into it with my eyes wide open.   

Revelation: Keep it Simple, Stupid! 
I reduced time and effort by minimizing the amount of colors workshop participants could use. So easy to do and I don't think it diminished their experience (we were just proofing after all).

OK, I realize these simplifications aren't rocket science, but every little tip helps. If you have any of your own, I'd love to hear them!


Preston said...

Good to see you enjoying working and thinking in high gear. You're right -- when you want to keep the quality high on things you sign your name to, working smarter is definitely the key. That and working steadily (which is hard with a family that depends on you, I know)instead of trying to work faster, which only leads to mistakes. Like you, I've trained myself to know how long a specific task should take. And I've learned to value even small amounts of available time -- ten minutes before time to make the salad for dinner? Okay, I can buff the finish on a bowl and maybe apply another coat.
I'm a thrift shop scrounger for things like office supplies, hardware, big garage-type rolls of paper towels, even music for the workshop. And sometimes old, well-made tools are better second hand than new ones right out of the box.
Along with pushing yourself,I hope you take a break when you need one -- some still time, even just a few minutes. A buddy used to call those breaks "psychotic vacations." Close enough to the truth.

Cathy Savage said...

Well said! After a month of absolute craziness, I am learning those "psychotic vacations" are vital to my well being and creativity. I have a blog post coming soon on that very thing, since after saying no to something I wanted to do, I was actually able to regroup with that extra time and caught up on some outstanding action items--and I've decided I want to feel caught up more often. It feels good and allows for some creative thinking.