Friday, August 11, 2006

It Can't be Friday Already

No coffee and no music. This needs to change. I may need to make my own (sound of loins girding). Naw, (she slumps back onto the couch) I am too lazy to be an addict. One of the casualties of the switch from Windows to Mac is the loss of access to the Glass Eye software, a design program targeted for stained glass artists but which I have found very useful when doing detailed geometric designs for fusing. Lucky for me I have found an almost adequate replacement: Microsoft Excel. You can size the cells to be little squares, shape them into larger squares or rectangles and fill them with color. Pretty nifty. Last night I decided to be anal and actually design the layout for the pattern bars instead of letting it fall to random chance. The screen shots of the Excel designs are shown at right.

Yesterday's wild, exciting ride got even wilder and more exciting about 11:00 when I heard back from the gallery whose order at the BMAC was a third of my show total. They had already ordered for two of their locations--Disney World and Chinatown in Chicago--and yesterday they added another 13 pieces to the Disney World order and asked that *everything* ship ASAP. My carefully wrought schedule went the way of the dodo, and I scrambled till 6:00 to get the big kiln as loaded as it would go. No progress was made on any of the book projects (except for the pattern bar designs which I finished last night at 10:30 while IMing with Bill who did not believe I was still working...).

I smell coffee, it is going to be in the Denver skyline mug today. I hope he made a lot as besides needing to completely fill all three kilns today--gallery orders in the big one, book projects in the middle one and I have to pre-fire the casting mold I made in the little one--I also need to run a bunch of pieces to Dixie Glasshoppers to be drilled. The 24 X 16 hanging panel in Ocean that I did as a trade with another artist is STUNNING. I need to add it to my regular repertoire. And the two plates for the fountain are ready as are the two 16 X 24 Cosmos panels I fired yesterday. Well, they'll be ready as soon as they are cooled. And I have one last run to make to pick up a bunch of Paisley pieces from Taylor Kinzel to ship to Florida. This is known as robbing Peter to pay Paul. But when Peter does consignment and Paul pays cash....

I do not like being so over-extended that I keep having to pick up work from one of my consignment galleries in order to have enough pieces to do shows or ship orders. I just re-stocked Taylor Kinzel from my depredations pre Austin Fine Arts Festival (TAFAF is now taking apps for next year's show and I am not even tempted--got a wedding there in June, that's enough for me) and now I have to pull eight pieces today so I can fill the Florida order. The problem there is that the pieces they added yesterday are all Paisley pieces and I do not have enough circles cut to make them all.

On tap for fun today: pattern bars and the first box casting I have done--and I'm using completely my own method... I am excited and nervous all at the same time. First dates will do that to you.


Bill Paley said...

If you're busy, you're not overextended.

However, don't you use all of your kilns daily? If not, maybe you're not planning properly...

Brenda Griffith said...

It is a funny thing. I thought I would fire all the kilns everyday, but it is rarely appropriate to do so. Really the only reason for it is if I have three firings with completely different schedules to do which also happen to match the kilns in size (one very small--just one piece, one medium--a larger piece or a couple of small pieces, and one large--lots and lots of pieces). The only time I would run the same schedule in multiple kilns is if I had just one more piece that couldn't be squeezed into the big kiln, and that had to be done that day instesd of the next day in the big kiln with another full load--and that almost never happens.

In my normal day there are only two firings I do--basic fuse and basic slump. And if I did the fuse in the big kiln, there are way too many pieces to slump in the medium kiln so I just end up doing it all in the big kiln. It is also energy-inefficient to fire more than one kiln per day--especially with the same schedule. I am guilt-ridden over the sinful waste. Really. One of the reasons I spend so much timecreating a firing schedule is so that I can optimize kiln loads and firings and fire less. The other is that I love Excel and just can't get enough spread-sheet crack.

I am getting much more use out of all the kilns regularly now as I am using the small one for jewelry, testing and small casting, the medium one for one-off book project fusings and slumpings which do not follow the basic schedule, and the big one for my gallery production work. At issue is also the sheer amount of time it takes to cut, assemble, etc. all the pieces to fill all the kilns. I can squeeze eight very large or up to thirty-some smaller pieces in the large kiln. It takes hours to get that many pieces prepped.