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Michael Pearce
Industry Professional



Location: Seattle, Wa.
Joined: 21 Feb 2004

Posts: 365

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PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 11:37 am    Post subject: Changes in my life and my work         Reply with quote

Over the past several months I have alluded to unspecified health difficulties and sometimes spoken of migraines and problems with production. There has been some speculation about this and now some rumors have started. After consulting with my wife I feel that the time has come to 'read you all in' on what is going on.

Many years ago I was in the Army. During the course of my service I had some unpleasant experiences that resulted in my having clinical depression and PTSD. No, I will not discuss those experiences online; please don't ask. These medical conditions went undiagnosed and untreated until October of last year when matters came to a head and I suffered a breakdown of sorts. I was unable to work and quickly got help from the Veteran's Administration's health care services and have been under treatment for these conditions since early this year. In this period my migraines also increased in frequency to an average of 3 per week, also seriously interfering with my ability to work. Between October of last year and May of this year I probably spent a total of less than 20 days in the shop working. It has been a terribly difficult decision but after much soul-searching and consulting with my therapist and close friends I have applied for VA disability. It appears that I am likely to receive this some time in the next few months.

I have been encouraged by my therapist to view my issues as an injury rather than a mental illness but the practical effects have been the same. I have had a great deal of difficulty working on projects that do not 'inspire me.' When i have forced myself to work on them the results have been less good than I am happy with or than my customers deserve (or would be happy with) There are also problems with supplies and materials in the shop; as you can imagine my medical issues have had a disastrous effect on our finances and resupplying has been very, very difficult and infrequent. This has all combined to put me massively behind on my custom orders, some of which are prepaid. Eventually I will need to complete these orders or repay the persons that made them but at the moment it seems that I can do neither. Circumstances are such that I can offer no firm timeline for doing either, which bothers me a great deal but these issues will be dealt with when and as I am able to.

For now my treatment and recovery progresses and I am doing what I can as I can in the shop. On the good side I have reconnected with my passion for my work. My recovery however proceeds in fits and starts and I sometimes encounter unexpected pitfalls that need to be worked through before I can move on. I do feel sure that I will make swords again; it is difficult to describe but I can feel a building pressure to do so. I cannot predict exactly when I will make swords again but I am certain that it will occur sooner rather than later.

I am not revealing all of this to appeal for sympathy, assistance or donations or to make excuses for my conduct; but rather to explain where things stand and to scotch any rumors before they percolate and spread. I do need to appeal for further patience from those that I owe work to; i will deal with outstanding debts and other issues as rapidly as I can. I apologize for the inevitable inconvenience and difficulty that this will cause; I made promises that I could not keep and for this I am profoundly sorry.

As for the future I will need to make fundamental changes to my business and the way that I do things. I have had to make significant adjustments to my life and those will be reflected in the way I operate my business. I cannot be sure that i can keep artificial deadlines so the plan at this point is to largely stop taking custom orders. the consequences of making promises that I cannot be certain of keeping are unacceptable to all concerned. I will continue to work and to sell the products of that work on my website. This absolutely includes swords.

This does means that it may be more difficult for customers to get exactly what they want. The trade-off is that the pieces that I do offer will be without compromise; I will no longer be 'building to price' or arbitrarily limiting my creativity. I have always been an artisan rather than an artist but there is and will continue to be a greater emphasis on 'art' in my work.

If you encounter any further rumors about me on the internet please be so kind as to refer them to this post. If you have any questions feel free to ask them but bear in mind that I may choose not to answer.

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
-------------
Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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J. Hargis




Location: Pacific Palisades, California
Joined: 06 Feb 2012
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PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 1:06 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

You're one of the best, Tinker. Your work speaks for itself.

I haven't encountered any rumors, but you can be sure that for me it's all about your quality pieces. Never change that and the rest is just BS.

Best, Jon

A poorly maintained weapon is likely to belong to an unsafe and careless fighter.
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Tim Seaton




Location: San Jose calif
Joined: 30 Jul 2005

Posts: 100

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PostPosted: Fri 03 Aug, 2012 2:00 pm    Post subject: tinker         Reply with quote

Tinker your one of the finest sword and knife smiths out there today .
Your health is whats important and any custom orders that you have are well worth the wait bye 10 fold!!!!!!!!!!!
To your health tinker CHEERS
TSeaton
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Wilhelm S.





Joined: 09 Jun 2011

Posts: 47

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 9:35 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I am truly sorry this happened to you protecting our country our people and our way of life. Thank very much for your service.
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Kurt Scholz





Joined: 09 Dec 2008

Posts: 390

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 10:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wish you a good recovery.
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Roger Hooper




Location: Northern California
Joined: 18 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 1:24 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Nobody can make a sword like you, Tinker, except maybe Gus Trim.

Maybe now you can just do swords that appeal to you and put them up for sale to whoever wants to buy one.

I hope that your association with Hanwei continues and brings in the cash.
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Michael R. Black




PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 3:48 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I respect you very much for your willingness to post on such a sensitive and personal issue. I do not own any pieces by you, but your reputation for quality and fairness speaks for itself. IMHO, your posting says wonders, in a positive way, about your potential to manage and deal with these unfortunate events/circumstances.

Sincerely,

Michael
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Matthew G.M. Korenkiewicz




Location: Michigan, USA
Joined: 08 Mar 2004
Reading list: 3 books

Posts: 854

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 5:10 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

No one of any quality and human compassion wishes problems like this on anyone, I'll keep you in my prayers.
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Michael Pearce
Industry Professional



Location: Seattle, Wa.
Joined: 21 Feb 2004

Posts: 365

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PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 6:00 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thank you all for your support and good wishes; it helps more than you know.
Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
-------------
Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Jean Thibodeau




PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 6:43 pm    Post subject: Re: Changes in my life and my work         Reply with quote

Michael Pearce wrote:

As for the future I will need to make fundamental changes to my business and the way that I do things. I have had to make significant adjustments to my life and those will be reflected in the way I operate my business. I cannot be sure that i can keep artificial deadlines so the plan at this point is to largely stop taking custom orders. the consequences of making promises that I cannot be certain of keeping are unacceptable to all concerned. I will continue to work and to sell the products of that work on my website. This absolutely includes swords.

This does means that it may be more difficult for customers to get exactly what they want. The trade-off is that the pieces that I do offer will be without compromise; I will no longer be 'building to price' or arbitrarily limiting my creativity. I have always been an artisan rather than an artist but there is and will continue to be a greater emphasis on 'art' in my work.


Seems best when the need and urge to create comes from passion and ideas one wants to make into real objects without the pressures of " promises and deadlines ", often more a burden than a positive motivational factor to creation, and a real weight on the mind when one can't deliver because of circumstances out of one's control.

An in stock ready to sell business model takes away the time pressures although staying above water financially is still going to be there.

I assume that the VA disability includes some financial help ? ( Don't know how this works in the U.S.A. ), but some sort of regular incoming funds covering at least the basics, like some form of pension, would give you a financial floor to stabilize the irregular flow of income doing custom work ? ( At least I hope this is the case ).

Getting good quality support from a psychologist should help a great deal in dealing with long simmering issues and learning techniques to cope when having a bad patch of emotional turmoil ! Doing work you like, the way you like should help also.

Anyway, don't want to get into giving advice too much that risks missing the mark, but in short it's good to live in the moment, take deep breaths and use meditative techniques. ( Work can be very meditative, so can swordsmanship as one really has to be in the moment to be good at it and it's sort of like meditation in movement when one is in the zone ! ).

Best wishes, Jean.

You can easily give up your freedom. You have to fight hard to get it back!
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Michael Pearce
Industry Professional



Location: Seattle, Wa.
Joined: 21 Feb 2004

Posts: 365

Feedback score: None
PostPosted: Sat 04 Aug, 2012 8:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Jean;

The VA disability is a pension and provides free medical care and enough income to cover the basic bills. Currently I am undergoing therapy and being given (mild) medication that helps a great deal without interfering with cognitive functions; sadly the Veteran's Administration has had abundant experience lately in dealing with both PTSD and migraines caused by closed-head injuries from impact and concussion.

Working in my shop is a very meditative experience and as I have been clean and sober for 28 years (recovering alcoholic/addict) I have a good support group and a lot of resources that have been very helpful. My wife Linda has also been a God-send throughout.

Thank you for your advice and support.

Tinker

Michael 'Tinker' Pearce
-------------
Then one night, as my car was going backwards through a cornfield at 90mph, I had an epiphany...
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Peter Johnsson
Industry Professional



Location: Storvreta, Sweden
Joined: 27 Aug 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug, 2012 1:45 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael, I am truly sad to hear about your troubles. I am sending my best thoughts your way and hope you see recovery and strength returning to you. I can identify with you strongly and understand the pain of your situation.

I hope you and your loved ones can work through this in a way that opens new and positive pathways.

Take good care of yourself!
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Chase Bolling




Location: United States
Joined: 15 Jun 2012

Posts: 20

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PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug, 2012 7:38 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Be blessed sir I will lift you and yours in my prayers.
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Jeremy V. Krause




Location: Buffalo, NY.
Joined: 20 Oct 2003
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug, 2012 9:33 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I'll be thinking of you and your family as well Michael,

It takes courage to seek help when emotional issues become overwhelming.

As a therapist I have a keen interest into the struggles within the military to cope with emotional problems and their efforts to reduce the stigma of mental illness.

You seem to really be taken the right steps and congratulations on such a long and successful recovery period!

"Easy does it, one day at a time"

Jeremy
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Herbert Schmidt




Location: Austria / Europe
Joined: 21 Mar 2004

Spotlight topics: 1
Posts: 161

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PostPosted: Sun 05 Aug, 2012 1:55 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

All the best to you!
There is really not much one can say - but I am sure that everyone will understand and give you the time you need for yourself.

best wishes

Herbert

www.arsgladii.at
Historical European Martial Arts
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P. Frank




Location: Germany
Joined: 03 Jan 2010
Reading list: 1 book

Posts: 73

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PostPosted: Mon 06 Aug, 2012 12:06 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael, I admire your courage to speak as openly about your situation as you do. I wish only the best for you and your family.
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Paul Hansen




Location: The Netherlands
Joined: 17 Mar 2005
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Aug, 2012 2:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have little more to add than my best wishes and hope for a speedy recovery...
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Fabrice Cognot
Industry Professional



Location: Dijon
Joined: 29 Sep 2004

Posts: 354

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PostPosted: Wed 08 Aug, 2012 2:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I wish you the best, Tinker.

Speaking out about this is a firm sign that you're on the right path, and already getting better.

Sincerely,

Fab

PhD in medieval archeology.
HEMAC member
De Taille et d'Estoc director
Maker of high quality historical-inspired pieces.
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Greg Mele
Industry Professional



Location: Chicago, IL USA
Joined: 20 Mar 2006

Posts: 356

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PostPosted: Mon 13 Aug, 2012 9:19 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Michael,

I agree with Fab - the first steps are already in place; but then, having gone through one kind of recovery 28 years ago, you already know that.

My thoughts and prayers are with you and Linda. Just remember that for the inevitable steps backward, there are two forward, and that is what matters most in the end.

Your friend,

Greg

Greg Mele
Chicago Swordplay Guild
www.chicagoswordplayguild.com

www.freelanceacademypress.com
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