In this issue:
--Retired or not?
--The Worcester nightmare
--Consulting and design
--Canvas labyrinth status
Retired or Not?
There seems to be confusion regarding
my retirement. Here are the facts. Currently, my retirement is only partial.
Due to circumstances facing many retired people in today's economy, I
intend to continue to work part time. What I really want to end is the
administration of Labyrinth Enterprises, LLC. I am not actively seeking
work nor doing marketing nor any of the activities that it takes to grow
and operate a service business. As a result, work -- received through
clients finding my website or through reputation or word of mouth -- will
continue to taper off. Nevertheless, I am available to do a small number
of installations, and Linda and I are available to do trainings and programs.
That being said, I'm not going to take on any more difficult jobs (see
next article). I will refer such inquiries to members of our growing labyrinth
collaborative. All of this means that only a small number of people will
have a chance to have a labyrinth that I personally install, a low number
to be sure, but greater than zero.
The Worcester Nightmare
Previously this newsletter contained a story of a difficult installation we had in Worcester, MA. With the help of the overall general contractor, everything has been resolved. Thank you Gilbane for your understanding and help. There are now four excellent labyrinths at the Massachusetts state psychiatric hospital in Worcester, two 30-foot Santa Rosa designs and two 24-foot Circle of Peace designs. Chuck Hunner was the foreman for the job. Artist workers included Lisa Moriarty, John Ridder, Mark Smith, and David Blonski (who I believe put something on YouTube about this project).
Note the high fence. These are locked wards. From the outside, parts of the building look very prison like, which they are.
The most unsettling
aspect of my retirement is the lack of a successor to run Labyrinth Enterprises,
LLC. Sixteen years of building this company is about to go to waste. A
few years ago, I advertised the company for sale, but had no takers. Most
of my current experienced workers are in their 60's, and not interested
in ownership -- although they may be willing workers.My equipment is in
storage in Indianapolis, as John Ridder will need it in the spring. This
includes proprietary tools developed specifically for our polymer concrete
installations. In December, I sold my truck and tool trailer, as the cost
of commercial insurance was exorbitant. I would be glad to advise someone
on how to continue this work, if there is anyone interested. It has been
a very satisfying career for me.
Consulting and Design
I am still available on a fee
basis for consulting and design work. This includes reviewing plans for
labyrinth designs, creating new designs, or supervising a group of volunteers.
Much of this work can be de by email or telephone, which is good (see
my schedule).Why not take advantage of my experience and creativity for
your labyrinth project?
Canvas Labyrinth Availability
Our St. Louis studio, under the direction of
Judy Hopen, was the world's largest producer of hand drawn and painted
canvas labyrinths. Judy's talent was quite extraordinary. Congratulations
to over 1,000 customers who have artifacts of her work. Due to health
and financial considerations, our studio was closed last June. Judy's
current health challenge is being kept very private, such that even I
do not know her current situation. How will people who want a portable
labyrinth be served? Only two sources currently exist for hand-crafted
canvas labyrinths, not counting a few local artists who produce them in
limited numbers. John Ridder, at www.paxworks.com,
is well established, having been making labyrinths almost as long as I
have. Less known (yet infamous in her own right) is past president of the
Labyrinth Society, Lisa Moriarty -- originator of the Circle of Peace
labyrinth pattern (www.pathsofpeace.com).
Lisa is young and energetic and highly skilled in her artistry. She has
produced several labyrinths for us, to complete some unfilled orders,
much to our satisfaction. I highly recommend both of these artists. Since
I see Lisa as the logical successor to Judy Hopen, I will be aiding her
as much as possible in becoming better known.
Labyrinth Artists' Collaborative
My first preference for Labyrinth Enterprises,
LLC, would be for it to go non-profit -- a structure and purpose that
would well fit its sensibilities. Short of that, I hope to use our established
name to give opportunity to other talented labyrinth artists by giving
them exposure on this website as well as the appropriate referrals. I
have been a bit slow in getting this accomplished, due to my travel schedule
and some limitations in serving as my own webmaster. Stay tuned, this
is something that I still hope to do.
Robert and Linda's Schedule
During the past two years,
I have fallen in love, remarried, and discovered cruises. So infatuated
have I become with cruising that I am doing some writing on the subject
(see below). My schedule for 2012 looks something like this:
January: Annual visit to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico
February: A rare month at home in San Antonio
March-April: Labyrinth work in Australia
April-May: Possible cruise back to the U.S.
June-July: Visiting friends in New England
August: Workship in San Francisco by Robert
September: Installation at Denison University, OH
October: Possible work in Virgiia
November: Visit to Germany, Mediterranean cruise
December: Repositioning cruise back to Texa
foremost endeavor these days is to complete some of the writing which
I have postponed for years. Here are a few projects:
Retired: Gone Cruising: Diary of a Transatlantic Crossing. This
will be my first work to be finished, currently under production. The
associated website is www.retiredgonecruising.com.
The book is a blow by blow account of a 17-day cruise, along with history
and personal commentary. If you have ever gone on a cruise, you can compare
your experience to ours. If not, you can see what it was like for us.
Robert Ferre's Labyrinth Manual The ultimate guide for designing
and building labyrinths.
Robert Ferre's Facilitator Guidelines Based on my 95-page
outline developed for training facilitators.
Robert Ferre's Labyrinth Essays. Everything else that I have
to say about labyrinths.
Fond Memories of a Good Life. Linda pointed out that the
other books I want to write, about Chartres Cathedral and happiness and
much more, could instead be chapters in a single memoir. Brilliant.
do all my writing these days using the Pages app for my iPad II. It
is small, very portable, and easy to use. Next to it, my laptop seems
like an 18-wheeler. Luckily, I have discovered that exotic destinations
and cruises are perfect writing venues.
will find my personal website at www.robertferre.com.
Email me at either of these addresses: