Saturday, 29 April 2017

Its Stupid to be independent - a Mugwump

People voted in the EU referendum for a variety of reasons and some reasons understandably are how it affects personal lives and immediate futures. I followed all the debates, explored some statistics and made a difficult decision which on social media now means I am part of the utterly stupid camp. 
Ponder this please and take time reading as I believe I experienced a microcosm of the EU 45 years ago when I was invited to join and set up the UK's first craft commune. Firstly I was one of a dozen free thinking alternative individuals with creativity at the core of our lives. As a young man I threw up a secure teaching job at Millfield school so my first question is - are the British now completely risk averse?
I was sold the idealistic hippy dream of the crafts commune and freely made furniture and fixtures as the chosen 'carpenter' in return for vegitarian food provided by the wonderful resident chef.
The commune had a gallery and we were charged a 10% mark up on our craft produce but were not allowed to sell freely outside the commune.
We were sold the dream that a van would arrive on a Friday afternoon and take our produce to sell to other galleries (that meant !0% on top of the sometimes 100% charged by galleries!). But the work didn't sell. Then the 10% markup became 22% for the strong crafts such as furniture was perceived to be (hang on - people either bought antiques or cheap MFI furniture at that time!). The printmaker had a 12% levvy so in effect one craftsman was subsidising another and some staid in bed whilst others toiled endlessly!
The dream was sold that the public could make things alongside the makers and share the equipment which in a nutshell meant my wood bandsaw was being used for cutting stone and the clamps taken off my cabinets before the glue had dried! Sadly, after 6 months I announced I would have to leave as it was bankrupting me. The commune's director got heavy with me accusing me of spreading panic amongst the other makers and asked me to leave immediately. The UK faces similar hostility and punishment for exercising its democratic right to leave a club!
The video here is about a speculative commission that resulted from my leaving the crafts commune (watch at 2 mins 40 secs) and moving to Bath with just a few hand skills, no money and the determination to survive. I had no workshop and could not even borrow fifty quid from the bank, but I took the future as it came day by day.
I wouldn't swap that decision to leave a secure teaching job for anything. An the over-riding reason I voted for Brexit was to have the best chance be in control of our affairs and determine our future.
I see parallels of the high percentage I had to pay at the crats commune to support other makers in the UK's contribution to a club that is not even made up of like minds (cultures!).

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