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Changing Gears

Changing Gears

I’m so tired. My old body is wearing out. I’m old. While the old cowboy rides away into the sunset, it’s time for me to take another look at my life. My health is failing. My Primary Care doctor sat about 6” from my nose last year and told me to either quit my fiber tool business or just to put my affairs in order. I listened and set into motion Changing Gears. Cat is dealing with a serious health issue. I work far too much, too long, too often. I’m not a cowboy but I’m going to spend more time looking at sunsets in lieu of paying attention to fabricating fiber tools.

Therefore, I am going to really retire – and limit my activities in my shops to fun stuff like bowls, boxes, welded sculptures, even kid’s toys. My long and exceptionally intense career making fiber tools is almost over. Mid-year is my goal to sell out of all the looms and tools. If they sell out sooner, it’s the better for me. Almost everything right now is in good stock. There are only about a dozen exotic #6 looms right now, but I’ll be making runs of both those looms and #6 intermediates. Just today I completed 650 of the 5” flat needles. Two days ago I finished oiling 100 Walnut and 300 BEM #6 original looms. There are several very large orders I’ve accepted – and will be making those in the next few weeks. I hope to cease production by the middle of April.

No big sales are planned at this time, but who knows? A few dealers will be offered deals to buy all that are left of a few tools. Dealers are invited to request runs of anything in my price list – if possible I’ll accept them, but it all depends on a multitude of issues.

I’ve not advertised anything at all, but a few shops have coincidentally approached me about buying my business. One is an outstanding candidate and nearby. I’d love for my business to continue, though not as “Hokett Would Work”. If anything comes of this situation, I’ll announce it here……

I’ve absolutely loved the almost 25 years of producing high quality fiber tools. I’ve not sold anything that I was aware that was not just right. A few other tool makers and several dealers have gone out of their way to impune my practices or abilities. Many makers have attempted to copy my work, but it seems no one can do them justice. One dealer in particular took me for thousands and refuses to pay for what she owes. I’d bet that she was the little fat girl who is still angry that she was not chosen to be a cheerleader in high school. As a man of honor, I’ll wish her well, though through teeth tightly clenched. I’ve never ever taken advantage of anyone and never will, but she might break her leg when she’s running around the yard tonight barking. People take credit for tools that Cat and I designed. How can people such as these look in the mirror while they brush their teeth? A few people have ordered tools and equipment, promising to pay, then skipping out just like the little fat rejected cheerleader.

I will continue to do the very best I can, but with not so long hours, without any priorities, without any urgency. It bothers me that this transition is much later than it should have been. But, Cat and I will really enjoy taking more frequent drives in the Corvette, the old ’41 Ford pickup, and watching sunsets with our little Pepper dog. I honestly wish every person well. Unfortunately so many people are incapable of being “good people”. I’m not quitting – just changing horses and gears.

Thankfully and Respectfully,

19 thoughts on “Changing Gears

  1. Aw, Jim… you bring tears to my eyes. I don’t blame you a bit. Retire and enjoy those rides with Cat. My fiber enabler and I are singing the same song – wishing we had taken drives when our bodies were a tad happier. Do it now.
    Speaking of doing out now… I’ve procrastinated long enough I getting one of your looms. I’ll figure out an order… Happy trails to you both! Hi to Cat!

  2. Thank you and Cat so much for the beautiful tools. I love my looms and my mini reel. Enjoy your retirement. It’s a good thing…

  3. Jim, thank you for all that you have done making some of the finest weaving tools I’ve ever used! The craftsmanship displayed and quality of the tools is a testament of the respect you have and the pride you take in producing works of art that others, like myself, use on a daily basis that makes our art easier to produce. I will be stocking up on some shuttles sold through the Woolery so that I have a good choice of tools that, I’m confident, will last me the rest of my life. Good luck in your retirement and know that very time I use one of your tools I’ll think fondly of you.

    Don Sandoval

    • Thank you, Don, for your very kind words. I take great pride in the results of my efforts. Making such a change now, at my choice before I am forced to, will add to my enjoyment of life itself. Jim

  4. I have two of your looms, and I love them. You should absolutely rest, and know that so many of us will remember and cherish your work. I laugh with you about your people troubles in solidarity. My work is very different, but I grump daily about the incivilities and indignities that I face. It’s so good to know that others have faced it and stood strong. Thank you for that!

    • Stephanie, Thank you for such a nicely worded comment about my “experiences”. I’ve always had an attitude to not stoop to the level that the occasional ingrate does. It always ticks them off badly……. I’d much rather live my life with honor rather than always looking over my shoulder. I believe that I’m leaving this industry well respected and honored by most……. Good for you! Jim

  5. Dear Jim, I feel your pain.. But when the time is right- you just have to do it….. So many times we put off the next phase of our lives and then we find that there is not enough time or energy to enjoy it…   With that said i guess i would need to stock up on a few things before they run out…  i would like pick up/shed sticks in the following sizes and quantities(8)   Seven inch 1/4x/1/2(12)  Twelve inchx1/4x 1/2 inch let me know what i owe you-  I look forward to hearing about your adventures (hope that you will continue to blog). take careLinda from Rhode Island.  i may be listed under Kindred Spirits Creations

  6. Dear Jim: My heart goes out to you. I didn’t realize you had been making your looms & tools for so long! I can only think how much beauty you have sent out into the world, how many people have had doors to tapestry & other weaving opened to them by your simple, but beautiful looms. I love mine. They are the only looms I have that I weave on pain free, plus I am an exotic wood nut, so each one of mine is special. And forever, I will be thinking of you as I weave on them. Retirement is really good, once you get into it. I’m glad you are being able to make that decision while you & Cat are able to do other things.
    It would be good to have someone you trust carry on making the looms; they would never be the same, but weavers coming up will need them.
    Warmest best wishes to both you and Cat.

  7. Thank you, Dee, for such important insight. I’m going to “do” retirement as well as i did working. Really, Cat and i just not woke from a Three hour nap. Second time this week. Thanks for being such a near person! Jim

  8. Jim, I’m just a multi-decade weaving groupie, and sometimes guitar player–Phillenore is the weaver. But I know lots of weavers who use and love the handcrafted wooden instruments you made. I always looked forward to our visits at your IWC booth, because your personality and humor were as good as your would work! Here are wishes that you and Cat adequately surmount health issues and have both an enjoyable and long retirement. Bob Howard

  9. Dear Jim,
    What a pleasure and an honor it is to weave on your handcrafted Hokett weaving looms with your lovely handmade fiber tools! I enjoy using your beautiful looms and tools so much, and have given your loom kits as gifts to grateful folks as far away as Santiago, Chile, and Southern England too. I hope you know that you and Cat’s fine contributions to people who are so appreciative of your woodworking skills, your wonderful handcrafted weaving tools, Cat’s loom design and weaving talents- are truly remarkable!! The fine quality of your work that goes into making your tools, and your generosity in sharing made it possible for so many people to appreciate weaving, and to own fine quality tools that will be heirlooms of the future!
    I hope you and Cat have a very beautiful time together in your retirement and beyond!
    Again, I so appreciate and treasure your Hokett weaving looms and tools! I am so fortunate to be able to use them to bring pleasure and peacefulness to my own life!

    Best Wishes to both you and Cat!
    Patricia Waas

    • Patricia
      Thank you for your very kind comments. It’s people such as yourself that give Cat an I the energy to have done what we did. We treasure each and every person who have admired and used the results of our efforts. I’m not riding off into the sunset, but we’re close enough to see it……

  10. Thank you Jim, for your beautiful work! Your weaving looms and tools are a great treasure and I will be looking to purchase one or two more. You are an inspiration and I wish you the best retirement years ahead. ENJOY!

    • Nancy
      People like you are what I’m going to miss so much here very soon. My tired broken old body demands I slow down. It’s going to be the First time in my 72 years that I’ve not had a “job”. I waited too long.

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