Our kids grew up often hearing the promise that "next year will be better". Money was sometimes very tight, and often dreams seemed like they were merely only being wished for. As we worked hard to achieve our goals, we just knew that next year would be the year. These days things are much the same. We just had a great year but find ourselves repeating that same old familiar mantra... "Next year will better!"
As I look back on the last year and try to sum it up in a single thought, I would have to say that for me 2011 was a year of learning. It was a wonderful year!
Some very cool projects passed through our shop, the biggest being the Fox and Hounds Pub project. That was the realization of a dream I've had for decades - to do a theme restaurant. And it turned out pretty cool.
A good portion of my time was spent teaching as well. One of the big things I discovered is that teaching is all about learning. If anyone thinks they know a lot about something, they just need to try their hand at teaching to instantly discover there is a LOT more to learn. And learn I did! We held three workshops here in our studio in the last year. I also traveled to Toronto, Ontario and Orlando, Florida to do two other workshops. At the end of the year I gave three lectures at the USSC Sign Conference in Atlantic City. A couple of other trade shows filled in the gaps. In the teaching sessions, I was able to talk to hundreds of sign professionals from from across Canada, the USA and beyond. It was truly an honor to share how we make our unique signs and how we do business in our shop.
Throughout the year I answered countless questions via email and on the phone. And the frequent posting my projects to four blogs we maintain also kept me busy.
While I thoroughly enjoyed working in my workshop, I also found the teaching (in all forms) to be very gratifying. I hear back from so many of those whom I met during the year. Kind letters of gratitude, words of encouragement and pictures of the projects they are working on arrive regularly. I read each letter and email, answer questions, and encourage everyone to continue with their new found skills and especially to push well beyond what they think is possible. In doing so they find, like I do, that each day in the shop is both rewarding and exciting. It doesn't get better than that.
As we turn the calender forward to 2012, I am optomistic for an even better year. Personally, I am challenged to to learn the operation of new software and our new four axis CNC router. The first two weeks of the year will be the most intense in that endeavor. I'll be posting more of that progress in the coming days. The next year looks to be another year of teaching (and learning) with a number of workshops already scheduled and more in the planning stages. Some very fun and challenging projects are on the drawing board already with even more on the horizon. 2012 will be as busy as ever it seems. You can bet I will constantly be pushing my own bar ever higher.
Next year will be better!
Happy New Year to ALL!