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Michael Pikula
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Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject: Michael's Smithy no longer taking commissions         Reply with quote

I would just like to announce that I will no longer be accepting or taking commissions of any kind. Thank you very much to everyone that has supported me and my work in the past!

Michael

edit, I am not closing down the shop, please see my next post for more information.


Last edited by Michael Pikula on Thu 08 Mar, 2012 7:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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M. Livermore





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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 2:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I hope this is due to massive backlog and that we will still be able to ogle your work.
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Allan Senefelder
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Location: Upstate NY
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 2:35 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm pretty sure I take the meaning. Sorry to hear it, join the crowd.
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Mike Capanelli




Location: Whitestone, NY
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 5:01 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'm really sorry to hear that Mike. If in the future you ever go back to the forge just give me a call. I have your website archived. If you need me for anything else please give me a buzz, if even just to vent. Be well brother.
Winter is coming
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael: Well that is bad news since your work and talent is/was first class and that apart from the realities of making a living doing what you love to do, and having to find another way to earn a living, this is also a great loss for the " Art " of making swords and other weapons.

I hope you can at least keep your hand in at least at the personal development level and occasionally make pieces for yourself and I also hope you don't have to sell all the tools you would need to get back to making swords if the economic conditions permit it.

At least I'm very happy with the swords and spears and the Cinquedea dagger I custom ordered or purchased when they became available.

Your swords are really at the very top end as far as handling characteristics and potentially I think you could be very favourably compared to the quality of the work of Peter Johnsson. ( Another reason to be very sad about lost potential ).

I also hope that your transition to doing other things and making a decent living isn't to difficult or frustrating.

Oh, and it was an honour and a privilege to have had wonderfully positive collaborations with custom work and in stock purchases.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Bryan W.





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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 5:47 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Sorry to hear about this Michael. Hopefully even if you don't commit to commissions you consider making something from time to time to post for sale.
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 5:54 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Bryan W. wrote:
Sorry to hear about this Michael. Hopefully even if you don't commit to commissions you consider making something from time to time to post for sale.


Yes I would second that but I guess it depends on Michael keeping or being able to keep at least a minimum of tools and still living in a place where he can do the work.

I guess that would make Michael a " Part-time " or " High end hobby craftsman/artist ".

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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David Wilson




Location: In a van down by the river
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 6:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Oh no!!! I can only echo what others have said, hoping that this is a temporary development.... you're a monster talent and we'd sure hate to see you go!!!
David K. Wilson, Jr.
Laird of Glencoe

Now available on Amazon: Franklin Posner's "Suburban Vampire: A Tale of the Human Condition -- With Vampires" https://www.amazon.com/dp/B072N7Y591
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Allan Senefelder
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 6:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You folks noticing a growin' body count?
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Phil D.




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 6:39 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael your talents will be missed.I hope that you will eventually come back to the craft.

Whatever your reason may be is not for me to assume or comment on but I for one am on your list should you decide to take an order.

Please keep me in mind when that time comes.

Best regards

"A bottle of wine contains more philosophy than all the books in the world." -- Louis Pasteur

"A gentleman should never leave the house without a sharp knife, a good watch, and great hat."


Last edited by Phil D. on Fri 09 Mar, 2012 6:49 am; edited 1 time in total
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Adam Bohnstengel




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 7:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

This is very sad to hear. I know I had a project I was saving for you, though it would have been a couple years before that would have happened. Who knows, maybe you'll be back on your feet by then. Either way, best of luck to you and yours.
Violence is the supreme authority from which all other authority is derived.
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Michael Pikula
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Location: Madison, WI
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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 8:02 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you very much for all the responses, I am sorry that I didn't expand or provide more information and now see that I left the original post to too much open interpretation. At this time I am not shutting down, I am just no longer going to be taking commissions. This is due to several factors, the main being that I am at a crossroads and need to start deciding on how I am going to proceed.

The reality is, over the past couple of years projects are taking longer then I expected, there are constant turns and hiccups, and I am finding myself repeating or remaking elements over and over again because frankly I believe that as I progress and learn more my skill level needs to improve and be pushed to the next level. Treading water and staying stagnant is not an option. I feel all of the work that I have produced has left a wonderful trail showing my progress as an artist and a craftsman, but when I am pushed to finish and wrap up projects due to needing funds my stress level sky rockets, I freeze up, and the process slows down and once again, steps that I've done in one shot before, now take 3 or more tries, which just puts me further behind. This practice is simply not sustainable in term of my health, general well being, and of course finances.

My plan at this time is to wrap up the projects that I have on the books, and continue making blades in a fashion that reflects the artistic side of the craft which will mean more detail work, using home smelted steel, exploring new techniques, and the price that I ask will reflect these changes. I am very well aware that this will most likely mean I will have to take on a real job away from the shop and it will limit the time that I have to work on the projects that I have in mind. I feel that this is the only way that I can move forward with my art and bringing my visions to life.

I would like to stress that this entire situation is a child of my own doing and is not a reflection of the projects and work that I have taken on. This transformation has been a long time coming and I feel that I can put this decision off, but eventually I will come to the same situation, or I will work myself to the point that every time I see a hammer I will want to pitch it into a lake Wink

I am truly looking forward to making some really fantastic work that will blow what I have been doing out of the water (sans hammer) and will be sharing and interacting with the community throughout the process!

Happy
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Addison C. de Lisle




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I had a feeling that this is what you meant by your initial post, and am glad you're not going out of business. I think you are making a good decision, and look forward to seeing what you come up with. Good luck!
www.addisondelisle.com
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Tim Lison




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 8:46 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael-

WOW! Work better than that which you are already doing will be truly mind boggling as your work is already top notch! I am so glad to own the swords you have made for me and look forward to seeing what lies ahead! I'll start saving now...
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Bryan W.





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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 8:58 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

That's a relief to hear!
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 9:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Pikula wrote:


The reality is, over the past couple of years projects are taking longer then I expected, there are constant turns and hiccups, and I am finding myself repeating or remaking elements over and over again because frankly I believe that as I progress and learn more my skill level needs to improve and be pushed to the next level. Treading water and staying stagnant is not an option. I feel all of the work that I have produced has left a wonderful trail showing my progress as an artist and a craftsman, but when I am pushed to finish and wrap up projects due to needing funds my stress level sky rockets, I freeze up, and the process slows down and once again, steps that I've done in one shot before, now take 3 or more tries, which just puts me further behind. This practice is simply not sustainable in term of my health, general well being, and of course finances.

I am truly looking forward to making some really fantastic work that will blow what I have been doing out of the water (sans hammer) and will be sharing and interacting with the community throughout the process!

Happy


Well, I'm seriously relieved as it would have been a true loss to have you stop doing the work and I look forward to being blown away and impressed by your future work.

I think I can sort of relate in the sense that when one has to meet deadlines or fill objectives set by a customer and try to meet deadlines plus having to " produce " at a certain pace to pay the bills it's a " JOB ": An honourable job maybe but still it takes away from the ideal freedom of an artist trying to push his limits for it's own sake.

We often work to live ( Have no other choice ), but the ideal is to live for one's passions and at the end of the day it matter more that one has done one's best to fulfill those passions.

Better to make money doing something else and be free to explore those passions without the confusing effects of mixing commerce and art.

Now, still being able to sell the work after it's done, at closer to it's true value, is a good thing after the things are made.

I do feel that if and when I make something if selling it is in the back of my mind it's a serious distraction taking my mind away from the design process. ( In a small way with my walking sticks making hobby: I only do it because I don't have any outside of my own desire to make one motivating me, and making a business out of it would ruin it for me ).

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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William Swiger




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 9:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You need to follow your own path Michael. Look forward to what is in store for the future.

Bill
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T. Arndt




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PostPosted: Thu 08 Mar, 2012 10:48 pm    Post subject: Damn!         Reply with quote

Now I really regret deciding to put off commissioning a boar hunting spear until summer Cry
Michael, at some point if you decided to take a limited number of commissions, even with a very long waiting list, let me know.

Wisconsin Historical Fencing Association (WHFA) - La Crosse
A HEMA Alliance Affiliate

“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?” -Juvenal
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Michal Plezia
Industry Professional



PostPosted: Fri 09 Mar, 2012 5:03 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael Pikula wrote:
Thank you very much for all the responses, I am sorry that I didn't expand or provide more information and now see that I left the original post (...)


I understand your feelings very well. In fact I have similar experience. Perfectionism is a good thing for an artisan, but not as good for a merchant .

Make your wife your sales manager- it helped some artists make more money Big Grin Wink

www.elchon.com

Polish Guild of Knifemakers

The sword is a weapon for killing, the art of the sword is the art of killing. No matter what fancy words you use or what titles you put to
it that is the only truth.
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Scott Roush
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PostPosted: Fri 09 Mar, 2012 7:01 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I constantly battle with what you are going through Michael. I can't be happy with a static level of craftsmanship/artistry which means I constantly take on new challenges which ALWAYS take longer than expected. I always WANT to put more detail and artistry in my work but the reality is that every little detail added to a work equals time and potential for error equaling more time, ad infinitum. I've had small bits of file work, which seem easy and inconsequential, lead to complete re-working of the entire piece. It is so hard to follow your heart in this work and still make a living. Yet I plod on because this whole craft, other than being part of my family.. is the deepest thing I've ever been involved with.

Anyway... I think you are probably doing the right thing for now..and it will lead to a longer term enrichment (and success) for your craft. Part of me wishes I could also take a break from doing this for a living, but living where I do, the economy.. and being 40 yrs old :-) ... I don't have that choice right now.

Good luck... and you are welcome up to my shop any time for some forging and smelting.

http://www.bigrockforge.com
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