I am not a patient man by nature. I want things done right, and I want them done NOW! It has always gone against my grain to have a “wait and see” attitude, and with all the life changes the last couple years I have often been one frustrated individual. I am changing slowly, but begrudgingly. But that all changes when it comes to one thing…making and painting decoys.
I have for years been “compelled to create”. Writing, cartoons, music, many things really…it just seemed I “HAD” to be making something. That has not gone away, but these days my focus has gone to making duck decoys. Mostly I make my decoys out of wood, or cork and wood. Creating these things is not something that is a quick process. Simple decoys with a decent paint job can take 10 or more hours to complete and are spaced out over many days. Complex detailed birds can take 50 hours or more. Obviously some parts of the process go quicker than others, but some take a great deal of time.
On detailed wooden birds there is not only a lot of time spent painting, but before getting to that point there can be hours and hours of working on feather details with a Dremel tool and wood burning pens. There is nothing quick about that. Likewise painting can be a tedious process, especially on smooth surfaces. You would think with my desire for instant gratification that I would never get past those points, but I do. In fact, the tedious tasks in decoy making are my favorite.
On more than one occasion I have asked myself how can I possibly sit for hours on end slowly pecking away at something until I get it right when I can’t sit still waiting for an answer to a question via a returned phone call? My only answer is that in my mind those details are what give my creations their soul. It’s what makes them my children. It’s what tells the world, “Here, this is for you, and it’s the best I can possibly do.” I understand that doing something right takes time and can never be rushed.
I sell the decoys I make and my wife, bless her heart, tells me time and again that I undervalue what leaves my shop. Maybe she’s right. Maybe I should charge more, but what I bring in monetarily is not what’s important to me. I enjoy having some extra money to spend but that is not my motivation. What drives me on is that I want to give somebody something that makes them happy. My biggest reward is seeing the smile on someone’s face when they hold one of my creations in their hand. That, my friends, is the payment that satisfies me. Without it I would simply stop making sawdust and concentrate my efforts elsewhere.
Some may find my reasoning odd, others will understand fully, but the joy of those receiving what I offer is far more fulfilling than depositing some money in the bank.