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Friday, February 10, 2006

On the Art of Not Being Seen

Today's picture is one of the many test shots I took of my first Morta Bettafish, back in 2002, while setting up the photos for the morta section of our website. I picked this image as the photo of the moment because I just posted three new Bettafish shapes yesterday. All sold almost immediately and we ended up with requests for more, so look for some new fishies to swim onto the catalog pages in coming weeks.

The topic title today refers to the fact that we are currently suffering another ongoing attack of "having been seen" - by the wrong people, that is. A regional nature & craft magazine did an article on the BriƩre, and in it they included a sidebar mentioning morta and providing a brief description (with photo) of our morta pipes. Unfortunately, they did not include our website URL, which would have answered all inquiries with no cost to us, but instead they posted our phone number. Thus, for the past week we have been getting calls all through the day from "interested craftspeople" and similar curious types, plus loads of the usual calls from folks with no clue of the prices of quality handmade pipes. Typically, this latter bunch phone here expecting to get a unique, "crafty"-level oddity for around 20-30 euros, and are shocked to find that prices start at 200... In short, we're experiencing a brief deluge of people who don't know much about genuine high-grade handmade pipes. And that isn't even counting the people who just think morta is interesting, and want to call up and chat about the subject.

My feelings on this sort of thing are split, because on the one hand it is always good to see pipes represented in popular media in a way that raises interest, but on the other hand the interest raised is virtually useless to me but still costs me time and annoyance. High grade pipemakers tend to be a hard-to-find bunch, often reclusive, and this is an excellent example of why - We sell most often by word-of-mouth to a specific market of pipe/art/collectable enthusiasts, and every contact and exposure outside of that circle is essentially wasted time for the pipemaker... "Yes, it's nice that people find it very quaint that this traditional craft carries along in modern times, but can I get back to work now please?"

So, if you try to telephone us for the next week and are annoyed that you can't seem to get anything but the answering machine, c'est pourquoi....;) Normal sevices and non-stealth mode will be reactivated as soon as this magazine is off the stands and into the landfills.