Wednesday, April 25, 2012

What is a 'Working Day' ?

Day 60

The last couple of days have been a bit messed up, certainly in terms of how they might track back into the grant project.

Just how do you count a working day?
Especially if you are a self supporting artist?

People who have 9 to 5 'standard' jobs just don't get it. Yes, I do not have to go someplace at a fixed time, then do something I largely do not like, mainly for someone else's bennefit.
But I also spend more time each day (even if its broken up) occupied with my 'job'. I also typically 'work' seven days a week. I don't have any holidays.

Normally I'm up at about 7 AM (often much earlier). I dress, brush my teeth, go up to my office and turn on the computer. Grab a coffee. That puts me 'at work' by about 7:10 at the latest.
Then I'm involved in business related activity until normally 10 - 10:30.  This includes all the business communications, which I in fact do first. This may be answering questions, preparing quotes and design work. Keeping my business records (including all that tax stuff for the sole bennefit of the Government). There is time spent on 'outreach' - here being researching, writing, formatting and posting for the blogs. Attempting to keep the web sites up to date.

By about 10:30 or 11 AM, my brain is about toast. Some days the desk / computer work runs straight through to noon. By then I'm *really* fried.

During the grant project, I have been seriously trying to keep 'non grant' work to a bare minimum. I'm keeping a daily diary, when I note what I've done each day. Note that I do not consider that work required as part of keeping the Wareham Forge functional as 'non grant' time. Monday I spent a hour compiling my quarterly HST, for example.  A counter point was that this morning I spent roughly a hour and a half making up a design rough for a possible project for *after* the grant runs out. That time I will not include under the project grant.

Afternoons are generally spent in the workshop itself, normally starting some point between 1:30 - 2 pm. Once again, there is a lot more to undertake in the shop than just hammer at the forge. Supply trips (Monday morning I rushed in to purchase propane, elapsed time was 1 1/2 hours). Clean up and maintenance. Equipment construction and set up.
Now take one of the work sessions documented here, say the one shown as 'A Typical Work Session'.
First I need to figure out just what I'm going to do. This may include some organization and record keeping. Typically 15 minutes.
Then, having selected the bloom to work on, I start the gas forge and start getting the required tools, etc organized. All while waiting for the gas forge to get through its pre-heat. Typically 10 minutes.
Now I can place the bloom piece into the gas forge for its initial heat soak. Then I turn my attention to the preparing the coal forge. Clean, sieve, lay and start the fire. Wait for that fire to run through its coking phase. Normally sweep the shop floor while this is happening. Typically 30 - minutes.
By now the bloom piece is pre-heated and can be transferred to the coal forge to bring it up to welding heat. This requires some attention. I dance back and forth preparing the air hammer and hydraulic press for operation.
Elapsed time from when I entered the workshop till I pull the bloom piece out to the anvil? Typically 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours.
Insert forging the bloom here, normally about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Now at that point I'm, pretty much beat. Forging multiple kilogram masses at welding heats is exhausting and demanding work (even *with* my two machines).

Add some time shutting things down. Normally its now something between 5 - 6 pm.
I make that a 'normal' work day of 7 a to 5:30 p, with 1 1/2 hours average for lunch = 9 hours.

Then there are the *long* days.
Now do that basically 7 days a week.

I was extremely pleased - and quite surprised, to get this OAC grant! (Ok?)

Taking the amount awarded in the grant and converting it into normal working days, at 5 per week and weekends off, the total came to * 43 * working days. Use that standard, with the 14 days for the Smeltfest research trip considered additional time.  With the grant effective February 15,  the last grant day would be Thursday April 26.
See the 'day count' at the top of this post?
I have deducted all the time I have spent on things that I do not consider part of this project. I've been counting 'full days' (not working hours!)
Today's total?
* 60 * days

I'm actually going to try to squeeze out additional working time past that April 26 date for the grant project. I have an academic paper to deliver at the International Congress on Medieval Studies on May 10. My intent is to extend my own work on this project to that date.

I think the Ontario Taxpayer is certainly getting their money's worth...

PS - this piece just took me one hour to prepare

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February 15 - May 15, 2012 : Supported by a Crafts Projects - Creation and Development Grant

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