I know by orders over the last two years that half my audience has been listening to my warnings that many materials will come to an end and half haven't, thinking things will be there tomorrow or that 'somebody' will rescue us.
I have said over and over that I chose to do the casket project as I had visited so many workshops where these high-end threads/fabrics/cabinets/etc are being made and could see the writing on the wall. That we had about ten years at best while everything was still available.
Then the last month happened and it seems daily that I am dealing with the surprise 'end' of something or planning for the known end. I posted last week on NING about the end of many of the lovely linens we like to use and the desperate work I and Access did over the last few weeks to convince the linen maker to make me 400 yards of the Old White Linen as a last run. Things I haven't posted - the frame company I liked to use folded. Looks like months later they may have a buyer but I haven't seen any pieces to evaluate yet. The metal thread scissors we had gotten made - company doesn't want to make them anymore. Gone. Another major closing was just announced to stores today - but isn't public yet.
Richard and I have negotiated the last of the casket numbers. I have been working on the website and my spreadsheets to make sure that I have it all right before I tell you exact figures. But there will be less than 150 of the complicated caskets left (Double Caskets, Flat with Doors, and Flat Caskets). The distribution is what I am working on right now and double checking and double checking. Then I will announce order-by dates to get any locks you might want for your own work in the wood shop as I will be placing my last order.
So that made an email I just got take me by surprise and I knew I needed to post right away before people freaked out.
Bill Barnes of Golden Threads posted a few hours ago that he was going to retire (not a surprise - he is 75) on the Heritage Crafts Association website. I certainly wanted to preface the announcement with why and what we are doing.
Bill really wants to increase production and pass on the thread making knowledge to someone else. Our threads have gotten slower as he had and has recovered from knee replacement this year (the reason so many of you have been waiting forever for silk purls and some have realized that he stopped taking retail orders (I do not know if that was temporary or not) ). We have been helping him by increasing the business volume for years - as the only way to get someone to train to take over the business is to see that the past and projected volume was healthy enough to support a person and their family with income. That means a business needs minimum $500,000 or more in sales to have a workable income after costs, etc. Unfortunately his attempts to find a person have sputtered on and off over the years that we have been working on this project. We recently gave him some projected numbers and he made some more attempts through local channels but now has to set a wide net to try to publicize through the Heritage Crafts Association network. We can only pray that it works, it will take a bit to train a new person so it is not overnight. Meanwhile, we have been prioritizing threads and keeping a list of what is essential to get produced before he shuts shop so several of the classes get their threads as advertised and other planned courses.
This concerns not only gold threads like #4 Silver and Gold on silk but silk purls of the original size and Gilt Sylke Twist. Sadly in my book, I will not get a few lines of thread I really wanted to do.
I can say that we have had a great run of it all! What a wonderful time we have had to play with our threads as these manufacturers start to move off into the sunset. Know that within my limits of capital, I have been working as creatively as possible to buy, fund, re-engineer, transfer knowledge, and dig up sources to help keep anything alive that can be. No stone is being left unturned.
But I think you know that, hopefully.