Friday, March 03, 2006

To Own or Not to Own...

Coffee is in the Starbucks Skyline Alaska mug this morning, and I do feel like the last frontier--or the last something. There is no music (unless you count the faint strains of "Annie" wafting down from my Mom’s room).

It is Friday. I was on vacation Monday and Tuesday. I am a small business owner: Being on vacation means there are two days when things needed to get done and nothing got done. And that is the glass half empty, some would say. I say that yesterday morning it would have been a relief to get up, get dressed and commute into a job. Working for someone else--no matter how responsible the position--never requires as much effort, energy, thought and relentless reinvention of the wheel as working for yourself does. You can (and probably do) fudge a bit to your boss about why you missed a deadline (when the real reason is that you are still in post-vacation mode) but you can't fudge to yourself. Actually, I am sure there are people who can--self-delusion is not uncommon in the population (it is common--as my mother was quick to point out when I read that paragraph to her--in our elected officials... shrubbery comes to mind). It is, however, rare among business owners of businesses which survive.

So today I looked in the kiln and the slump... wasn't. A bowl which was scheduled to be shipped to the Art Institute in Chicago today for arrival *and jurying* Tuesday had to go back into the kiln for another slump. I am not hopeful I can fire and ship it today, but I will try to remain optimistic. Worst case, I can probably mail it through the post office tomorrow. (I have to work Saturdays, why can't UPS?!?). That makes the second firing this week that did not complete successfully in Big Bertha. I have the new lid for her (which has been outside still in the crate in the rain sometimes covered by plastic, sometimes not for the past month and a bit) and will probably need to get it unpacked and installed on Saturday--before the birthday parties, school auction and Oscar-filled weekend... I may have to break into some of the wine we schlepped back from California. I knew it wouldn't last.

Last night I wrote letters, updated mailing lists, mail-merged and packaged up catalogs and price lists till 11:30. Doing the small business owner marketing thing, I looked up all the galleries which purchased from me last year at the BMAC shows--none of whom I saw this time--and sent them "hey I missed you at the show" letters and packets. Yep, that's right, I am soliciting MORE work. I felt like just skipping it, but that would not be the responsible small business owner thing to do. Yes, I have a lot of production work now and through the middle of June, but eventually I will be ready for more (unless I have slit my throat between now and then) and my work has to stay vibrant and exciting in the minds of my clients in the meantime.

So I'm off to mail packets, create spreadsheets of work schedules, unpack a shipment from Bullseye, unpack from the BMAC, inventory the finished pieces I have and schedule them for re-delivery to the local galleries I emptied before the BMAC, and prepare for a big week of firing next week.

3 comments:

Bill Paley said...

I have an odd question for you...

Do you use the glass from wine bottles or other containers in your artwork?

Honest question; I don't know if there's differences that make it impossible or not...

Brenda Griffith said...

Any glass can be mixed and fused with itself. Float glass (your regular old window glass) has become very popular recently with fusers, but all the glass in the project must come from the same piece of glass to be safe. Otherwise you either have to test the glass for compatibility across manufacturers and pieces, or do what I do which is purchase glass made for fusing so that all the colors and pieces are compatible with each other. If incompatible glasses are fused together they will either break on cooling or some time after from the stress that accumulates as they cool anbd harden at different rates.

As for wine bottles, the most common thing to do with them is slump them flat into cheese trays. I did that for awhile. It sucked my soul.

Bill Paley said...

Well, we don't need any sucking here, then.