When I decided to embark on the moose poop project that eventually became The Winking Moose I knew the future would hold some obstacles. Today I would like to discuss a few of these challenges and the solutions I have found to deal with them.
The first difficulty that was evident from the beginning has to do with resource collection. At the beginning this only meant finding quality moose nuggets, which could be a bit tricky. Many deposits were of too low quality for artwork production and I discuss some of the other moose poop-related challenges in last week’s article. Spending more time collecting and processing nuggets was the obvious solution to this problem. What was unforeseen was the difficulty gathering many of the other materials necessary to complete production of my line of moose poop artwork.
Craft stores were overwhelming at first and there are a number of stores in Fairbanks, Alaska. Large chain stores to small family run businesses. Now add the vast selection of stores online and the choices seem limitless. When I have bought out a particular resource (like colored wire) at a local store, I have had to wait for more to arrive or order my own online. In one fortunate instance, the owner of Alaska Raw Fur Company offered to order the specific wire I was looking for which was very helpful.
I have been able to utilize a number of recycled materials during production. In fact, without many of the recycled resources this project probably would never have been possible. My graphic design computer, printer, glue, moose antler wire, mini wreaths, and many paper products are all examples of items I acquired as gifts or through scavenging. Without these and many other products, the costs to start The Winking Moose would have been much higher. Many people have also volunteered their help and there is no way this project would have been possible without it.
Another uncontrollable element that has had an interesting effect on craft production is the weather. Fairbanks had a very long fall with warm weather extending through most of October. This abnormality allowed me to continue processing moose nuggets outside for most of the month. Now that there is snow and temperatures below 0 degrees F, processing moose poop has to be done inside, decreasing the output and increasing the inconvenience.
Keeping my craft room organized has also been a challenge. After preparations for my first craft bazaar it looked like a complete disaster. Learning to keep things clean and organized has been essential to sustain consistent production almost like working in a laboratory.
Overall, I am very happy with both the speed and direction at which this project has continued to move. Learning how to deal with the smaller problems has been trying at times, but is necessary to complete my larger goals while providing an excellent opportunity for acquiring new knowledge.