"What Matters Most is How Well You Walk Through the Fire" -Charles Burkowski
Today was pottery day at Through the Fire, but the universe had other ideas. So, after taking a breather at a local fish hatchery walking area, I decided to answer the age old question "Who is the company with the long crazy name?"
I have been very blessed to have met many of our awesome customers in person, but some of you are possibly wondering what's the story? First a few pictures (without snow for once!) of my much needed walk with the family.
Don't let the sparkling water and sunshine fool you, the temperature was about 38 degrees. But, living in Northern Michigan that is almost t-shirt and shorts weather!
"Through the Fire" has many separate meanings to JD and I. One being the quote "What matters most is how well you walk through the fire", and another Isaiah 43:2 NIV "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you: and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze."
We started this crazy journey almost 20 years ago when he was a machinist and I was in the post graduate year of Elementary Teacher Training. There were plans: 1 year, 5 year, and 10 year plans. If you want to hear God laugh, tell Him your plans!
Life in the Arman world has taken several sharps corners and u-turns over the years, with health issues and job changes like most families. I stayed home to raise and school our two kids and JD started making knives and straight razors. At the same time, I was able to take pottery and glass classes at the local college. By 2012, we were ready to sell items at local shows. In order to stay under one booth, we needed a name that encompassed knife making, blacksmithing, pottery, glass and hot process soaps. All of these creative processes involve heat. So, Through the Fire -Fine Crafts was born. Looking back, probably could have come up with a shorter more user friendly name, but hind sight is 20/20.
Now a days, you can find me, Maria, working the business full time. I have degrees in Education, Science, and History and with Through the Fire, I get to enjoy them all. In the summer, I give several historical soap making demonstrations. Which is me, in 19th century clothing, with lard over an open fire, teaching kids and adults all about "Grandma's Lye" soap. Other times, I drag my psychedelic orange, 1970's kick pottery wheel to get kids playing in mud or watching me throw pots. Most days, however, I am making shaving soap. In an 80qt pot, which can hold 100 pounds of oils at a time, I am creating recipes for several different soaps. Or, being a mad scientist and blending scents and making new products.
A few years ago, we switched our brand focus to Classic Automobiles. I love vintage, I wear vintage most often, I sew vintage patterns, I listen to vintage music. I came by this naturally, because so does my mom. Growing up I was sewing with a treadle sewing machine, and cooking and staying warm with a wood fired cook stove. We made soap with rendered tallow and lye for cleaning. It was the 1980's not 1880's I swear!
I know a lot of you are having to school your children from home with online support. We were ahead of the curve here! My daughter is a senior and my son a sophomore, and we have been using the online public school system for 7 years. It's the best of both worlds, you get to be a part of their daily education with a support net. You will have so many memories from this time, even if you feel like you are pulling out your hair most days! Hang in there. ❤
I hope I was able to answer any "burning" questions you have about our crazy family and the crazy named business! We have been so blessed to have been in this business for well over 10 years and as ttffcraft.com for 8, and cannot wait to see where we get to go from here. We are always open to suggestions for products or things you would like to see here, leave a comment here!