Tuesday, October 31, 2006

And the Book is...

Done! Well, it's been written once anyway. Now let the rewrites begin! Oh yes, and a caveat, all but the introduction is written. I am savoring and saving the introduction until I see what the book turns out to be. It's hard to introduce something that isn't finished.

Coffee in the Barcelona skyline mug, "Let Me Leave" by Marc Broussard on iTunes, (ready?) 34,939 (original) words written. There have been subsequent edits and I didn't count them. Now if you do the math at 400-500 words per page this is a really tiny book! (87 pages is just not much) But remember, it's supposed to be eye candy, not a text book. I am actually over in page count right now and I am expecting my editor to come down hard today. I have planned 60 photos from other artists in the gallery, there are another 87 demo and how-to photos, 20 full-page beauty shots, 6 illustrations and 6 template pages. Oh yes, and an index, front matter, yah de yah.

So why, if the book is DONE (can I say it again? revel just a little in a blissful moment of DONENESS?) did I get up this morning at 6:30 am? What can I say, I am ruled by the sun. The clock springs back, I spring up. What did I do? Well, I harassed an online vendor about the decided lack of new coffee maker at our residence. I pinged iTunes about a double-charge for the Marc Broussard album I gifted to my in-laws. I began this post! Then I got J up and off to school (not tough, it's pajama day for Halloween and I french-braided her hair last night so all I had to do was supervise ablutions, feed her, see her shod and shivvy her out the door).

Now it's 8:20 and it's time to be a glass artist again. Going to get the slump load in early this morning and start on the illustrations, templates, and photographs for the line editor (she wants to see pics of all the projects before she edits the text... makes sense to me). I also need to contact the publisher and find out if they really want a hard copy of the book sent to them, and if so, what they want in it as we are already editing and everything is fluid..

Got email from Bullseye yesterday. They are soliciting photos of architectural installations for their new catalog coming out in March 2007. I have the perfect project, but I don't have any good photos of it and I don't have time to drive up to Marshall NC to get them. A couple of years ago I did 32 glass bricks for an old building renovation. They are 2-1/2 X 2-1/2 X 6 and solid glass. They go longways through the building so the light from outside comes through them on the inside. You can see the light and the bright colors from the picture, but you don't get that they jut into the room a bit on the inside and provide three-dimensional interest too. I think it would be a great photo for the catalog, but I don't really have a whole day to spend driving up to get the photo. Maybe I can hire a photographer to take the pics for me and send them to me... I need to pursue this possibility. Yet another iron in the fire for 2007!

Boxes. I am still obsessed with boxes. Especially now that I got the new lap grinder diamond discs from Centre de Verre and tried them out yesterday. Hoo boy. I'd forgotten what a new disc feels like. I got 60, 100 and 180 grit so I am really ready to grind. And I figured last night that I *might* be able to do 32 boxes in one firing in the big kiln. If I can do 32 at a time it makes them more saleable as I can more easily justify tying up the kiln for 32 for three days than I can for 1 or 3 or even 8. However I am going to be smart and I'm not going to do 32 the first time. If they all failed it would be a disaster. But I am going to do 8. Eight boxes the day after tomorrow. Tomorrow I will fuse the glass for them. Oh d*mn. I hope I have enough fiber paper for them. I still haven't ordered from Hoy's. *sigh* today. More administrivia, less glass.

Now more glass, less writing. To the Kiln and Beyond!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Three Pages...

Coffee in the Montreal skyline mug, "Home" by Marc Broussard on iTunes (Wow, can I just say, WOW!), three pages left to write in the book--the troubleshooting section--and I am DONE... with the complete first draft. I have already been asked for several edits (including the rewrites of all the projects they want re-done), but edits are far and away easier than writing from scratch. Dave asked me last night how much I had left and when I told him three pages he was just shocked. I don't know what he thought, but clearly he thought me much further behind than I am.

Today (obviously) I write. I also do a slump load. Beyond that, I don't know. Writing really gets priority. I can tell I'm in the home stretch as yesterday I wrote the dedications and acknowledgments page. I can't imagine anything making me feel more done than that. Of course it will be tweaked: The people from the art department at the publisher will get a nod if they do a good job (and I expect they will) as will my editor if she can improve the book while not making my life hell...

Now before I get too complacent here on my laurels I had best heft myself off and lumber away to write!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Favorite Day of the Year!

No coffee, no music, the finishing section of the book mostly finished yesterday (about one more page written). I got up this morning at O Dark Thirty (that would be 5:30) not to write--even though the manuscript for my book is due at the publisher Wednesday and it is not finished--but to futz around again with my mother's airline ticket.

The saga began yesterday when she tried to change her airline ticket from Atlanta to Missoula on December 5 to December 14 and couldn't. So I took over for her since she was making the change in order to come to Chicago to help me at the One of a Kind Show. I was on the phone with various people at cheap tickets for over an hour and never did get it changed. CheapTickets.com is cheap in service as well as in name. Today I finally go to someone who told me they couldn't change it because even though I don't want to make a change to the originating flight on November 7, they can't make a change to it,a nd because they can't make a change to it, they can't make a change to the return segment either. Are you confused yet? So she had to release the ticket to the airline and let me make the change with them. Caloo Calay! I called Delta, they changed the ticket and it cost less than it would have to change through Cheap Tickets.

It wasn't the best way to start my day, but at least the time I spent on it was free because today is my favorite day of the year. Today has 25 hours! I have a whole extra hour to do whatever I want today, and never have I needed it more. I laready fired two kiln loads and did the prep on another two. I haven't done any writing yet (and it's 3:40 already), but I will get a little done before dinner just as soon as I finish this post. Which I guess is now!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

6213 minutes Till the Manuscript is Due

Coffee, fittingly, in the Chicago skyline mug this morning, "Walking on a Wire" by Lowen & Navarro on iTunes, no words written yesterday. I think I had too much to drink yesterday. Too much coffee that is. Excess caffeine is the only reason I can think of that I called Kathleen Hogan of the One of a Kind Show in Chicago and asked if I could increase my booth size at the last minute and took on a 10 X 20 double corner booth with two pillars in the front corners and only one wall in the back. Oh yes, and it's on the "new" side of the floor. At least, from what I have heard, it is over by the "Martini Lounge". Yes, caffeine is the ONLY likely explanation.

I lay awake from 1:30 am to 4:30 am designing the booth in my head from display to lighting, only interrupted by Jessie climbing in with us at 4:00 and Dave's occasional restless murmurings. I think I have come up with a freestanding support system for my track lights and a battery-powered lightbox design for the lower shelf of my pedestals. Hoo boy, and that's all the time I have to spend on the booth (except for making notes this morning on all my ideas) because THE MANUSCRIPT IS DUE TO THE PUBLISHER IN 4 DAYS 8 HOURS SIX MINUTES AND 36 SECONDS. (I keep a timer running on my desktop for it... as if I don't have enough stress.)

I think I will be okay. I know I will for the writing part, but I also need to draw all the illustrations, scan them in, print out a copy of everything and snail mail it in. Just the scanning printing and mailing will probably take all day Wednesday, and it's also a big shipping day (three galleries orders scheduled to go out). That leaves today, tomorrow and Monday for writing, and Tuesday for illustrations. All the big kiln loads are slumps and once I get the 3.5 X 8 rectangular plates cut and ground from the fuse, prep time will be very little. Breathe, just breathe.

Yesterday's firings were a mixed bag. I made another frit wafer like the one in the original draped vase. I see such potential in this technique for sculptural pieces. The wafer is so delicate I want to pair it with something sturdy like cast blocks, but the whole piece also needs to be able to be packed and moved without breaking. Of course, this isn't something I have time to think about today either--in spite of the fact I have one show in two weeks and the One of a Kind Show is in a virtual four weeks away. The coulee I did did not turn out so well--too many reactive glasses in the same piece made it dark and muddy. And 4-1/2 lbs is not enough to get a 12-inch square. I either need to weight the corners more heavily or use more glass. Probably the former. The final fuse of gallery pieces looks to be flawless, as expected. Some things I can do (thanks to the computer on the kiln) in my sleep.

CRRAAAACCKK!! Gulp. Time's a wasting. Off to write.

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Website Rears It's Ugly Head...

... Not that it's an ugly website--far from it. But more on that in a minute. Coffee in the New York skyline mug this am, "Everything in its Own Time" by the Indigo Girls on iTunes, 519 words written during my pedicure yesterday!!!! Yesterday was a most impressive day. I managed to order packing supplies online from ULine, get the dogs to the groomer, get a pedicure (and write 519 words--or a page and a half--of the three pages on finishing techniques), grab a sandwich to go from the pastry shop next to the nail spa, drive up to ULine and pick up my order, drive home, unload the car, put the seats back in, put in two kiln loads (one slump one bubble-fix), take J to gymnastics (and write another paragraph there), and end with picking up the dogs from the groomer. Whew!

This morning I got an inquiry from a couple in Texas building a house who are interested in a backsplash. I might also be able to interest them in a sink--who knows. And speaking of sinks... I just took the 8-inch test tile for the sink for the couple in Wisconsin out of the kiln. It is 1/2-inch thick and I think it is *stunning* (shown at top right). I may have to make a sink like this for the bathroom on the ground floor of our house in turquoise, French vanilla, amber and maybe a hint of cobalt. Though I've got to say I am really liking the way the coral/salmon opal and transparent have worked in the two pieces I have done like this so far. Got to get the molds ordered!

Today my new assistant (I still thrill to those words!) is coming over to grind the rest of the circles. I am doing the last big fuse load in the big kiln till next Tuesday (every day between now and then in slumping, slumping, slumping), I am going to do a box in the little kiln (period. no questions. just do it.), and I should do a rake for the new wavy candle sconce project for the book. I also have to make a mold for it (can you say fiber blanket, rigidizer and soup cans?) and get my Hoy's order in. And I thought yesterday was a big day. Better get to it!

P.S.--Happy Birthday Mom!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm a Square

No coffee, no music--just the sound of J's whuffling breath as she sleeps in the room next door, and nothing written either. But I did a square melt. I wanted to run a couple of tests. First I wanted to see if I could force a melt, excuse me, coulee (pronounced coo-lay) into a cornered shape. The answer is yes. It didn't hurt that I used 3 lbs of glass for an 8-inch square (I was doing a test for the sink). It is still too hot to take out yet, but I have High Hopes (and I can sing it for you if you would like). Second, I wanted to see how the colors I picked for the sink work together. Maybe it's not too hot after all... let's go see if I can get a picture... nope. Tomorrow.

The sky begins to lighten. Where does the early morning go now? I have been up since 5:30 and haven't done anything but putz. At least I have coffee now (thanks to Dave--he not only made it he brought me a cup) and music--nice, soothing George Winston. Today a run to ULine to pick up packing materials, a slump load, and A BOX (really, really, really this time). Oh yes, and the dogs to the groomer (ever tried to bathe a hydrophobic 130 lb, 3 ft tall *at the shoulders* dog? Don't try this at home), J to gymnastics (and writing for me there), and... since Jodi got to get one... A PEDICURE! (And writing during the pedicure. It almost makes it work.)

Finally I have to begin making some phone calls. Why can't people just pay on time? WHY do I have to call and say, "Look, I gave you 30 days after I shipped your glass to pay me, and you STILL didn't get a check to me on time. What's THAT all about?" I got a check from one place Saturday--on the 30th day exactly--and it was $800 short. Another that was due Monday--for only $150, you'd think they could manage that--hasn't come yet. *sigh* this may be one of the first positions I hire out. I'll get a guy named Vinnie...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

T- One Week!

Coffee was hours ago in the Washington DC mug, "True Companion" by Marc Cohn on iTunes, nothing new written, and one week to go till the manuscript due date. And yet there are other things which go on in life and take time. I just got back from a morning orientation at the local Waldorf School. It was very interesting and well worth the time. Now back to glass (after a little leftover Nancy's deep dish pizza and a post).

I got one fuse load in yesterday--almost all Pop Art. Boy do those take a lot of extra time! I got up this morning at 5:30 and putzed around with sink dimensions, options and pricing and got that email off to the clients before heading off the school at 8:30. Got a lovely compliment from a woman in Iowa today. Sadly the internet is too anonymous sometimes so I cannot refer to her by name, but I appreciate the sentiment anyway (thank you Smasty!). We glass people are everywhere.

Time to update the firing schedule (I can here Bill snorting into his beverage as I type). Though it might seem like I spend an inordinate amount of time planning what I am going to do as opposed to just doing, I have so many balls in the air right now that if I don't plan I will find myself standing in the middle of a trail going "Where am I and what is this handbasket doing here?".

Today another fuse (or maybe a slump), a box (PLEASE let there be time today!) and a melt--which I have decided to call my Coulee de Verre pieces (there is a little accent slanting off to the right on the top of the first "e", just couldn't make it happen in Blogger). And a supplies order to ULine, one to Ed Hoy's, and more work on the Bullseye one. Oh yes, and a deposit (yea! Something coming in as opposed to everything just going out!). Finally a mold order and a stainless steel shelf order. I am going to try 18 gauge stainless as a shelf material because I can get one piece that is big enough (unlike mullite, vermiculite and ceramic fiber board). Anyone have experience with steel as a shelf (supported on other shelves, of course--probably ceramic fiber ones)?

Writing you say? Writing is for tomorrow (tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you tomorrow, you're always a day away!).

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Single Digit Days Till the Manuscript is Due!

Coffee in the Atlanta mug, “Broken Moon” by Lowen and Navarro on iTunes, finished the kilnforming section of the basics and emailed it in yesterday (yea!). Today Kat joins me in the studio. We haven’t defined the parameters of the arrangement yet, but she wants to learn, she is eager to work, and I like her. So off we go! Today is a full on studio day with three fuse loads going into the kilns. I don’t know exactly what yet, but I am going to cram them to the gunwales and fire away (wheee!). Three orders to ship by 11/1, have started one of them. Book to finish by 11/1, have the Finishing and Troubleshooting sections, the Introduction, Acknowledgements and Dedication to write.

Got a call yesterday from a client in Wisconsin who bought dinnerware last year, wants to add a couple more pieces to the set, and also would like two bathroom sinks. I think I would like to do them in the same style as Scrumptious Pink but in pale green (opal and cathedral), amber, a bit of sienna, French vanilla, a hint of salmon/coral transparent and opal, and clear. Thinking about having molds made for my melts so I can really shape them. Sending off the specs to a friend today to see if he can do them.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Scrumptious Pink 2

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Angeline" by James McMurtry on iTunes, 1731 words written yesterday and I think it was some of my best. I have finally (in the home stretch) loosened up and relaxed into humorous writing. Speaking of humorous... J picked her own clothes and shoes (as usual) this morning.

Today's haut couture includes a sleeveless dress with a stiff pink organza skirt and a stretch black velvet top and bolero jacket. She teamed it with the pink cowboy boots. THIS is truly scrumptious pink! (And I LOVE Target--nothing she is wearing was even $20 and both dress and boots are very well-made.)

What does this have to do with Glass Incarnate? This is the start of my day everyday: get her up, get her through her ablutions and dressed, hand her breakfast (for the car) and put two gummy bear vitamins in her mouth. Then send her out the door with her Dad and off to work! I was tickling her this morning to get her moving (I am a mean mother--I get it from MY mother.) and when I said I loved her belly button she covered it and said, "You can love my bellybutton, but you can't touch my bellybutton." in just the intonation Janeane Garofalo used in The Truth About Cats and Dogs when she said "You can love your pets, just don't LOVE your pets...)

Today I have a potential helper-in-the-studio dropping by to meet me. She is the wife of a business associate/friend and I hope it works out. I have another gazillion circles to grind, wash and dry and I am NOT looking forward to it! I am also going to finish the kilnforming section of the book on target for pages and more or less on schedule (I had it scheduled for today, the publisher had it scheduled for last Thursday). And I need to unload the car (all the projects from the trip to the publisher are still in it) and photograph all the done projects so my new editor can see what the heck I'm talking about in the project instructions.

Kiln loads are another slump in the big and should include something in each of the other two--book project and box in a perfect world... or maybe I'll do a fuse in the big one. I have three fuses to do this week to get out the last orders from the July Buyer's Market which are scheduled to ship a week from tomorrow. And I really do need to get going on project re-dos and pieces for the upcoming glass show at Taylor Kinzel in November. Now I'm getting anxious. Blogging usually relieves anxiety. Putting everything down here lets me see that it really is manageable. But this morning it's like I was too complacent and putting it all out shows me how FRACKING BEHIND I AM. And speaking of fracking, the satellite dish went out Friday night RIGHT BEFORE Dr. Who and Battlestar Galactica. The ONLY two shows we had to watch all week (the World Series has preempted House, Standoff and Bones.... Damn Fox) and nope, DENIED! Service call this morning.

So enough writing here. Off to the studio to reconnoiter and get some loads in, and then finish the kilnforming chapter.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Scrumptious Pink

I am going to go get coffee before starting this--brb. Well that took longer than expected! I got coffee (in the Atlanta skyine mug), had breakfast with my happy family (mini donuts, yum), and put in two kiln loads. Now to finish this post and then shower and write the rest of the day.

At right is the new project for the book which will replace the previous screen melt piece. Isn't it scrummy? (Short for scrumptious, not an extra letter for crummy...) I put in little pics today because I don't have much to say and have three photos to squeeze in. At left is the detail from the same piece, which I think I will call "Scrumptious Pink".

Finally, the last pic is a shot of the load I did in the big kiln yesterday and took out this morning. This morning I took all these pieces out, reloaded others in to slump, washed half of these and did a fuse load of eight in the medium kiln. (I can see Jodi wanting to take a nap already ;-). And firing really is the littlest task of the day. Now for Cleanliness, which is next to Godliness, and quite fitting for a Sunday!

Bill posted in a comment earlier today that he was surprised I planned to write 1600 words on Thursday. It seemed quite logical to me. I have 6400 words slotted for this section. They made me do a page (and so by extension a word) count for every part of the book. So since I have 16 pages due and (at that time) had four days to complete it, I scheduled 1600 words for that day. Now I have under one day to finish that section, and 3354 words written (about 3000 left to write today). I am not scared by this number. But I AM scared: I have written about 1/3 of the materials and used over half the words. I am heading for trouble.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Got an Editor!

No coffee yet--though I heard the coffee maker chime, music is from Dave's birthday present from Stuart & Andrea--"Animusic" a computer animation video album on dvd, and the current page count in kilnforming is six out of a planned 16. There are coincidentally 16 subtopics and I am on number six. Slumped yesterday instead of fused. I am so tired of Bullseye opal glasses! If I use thinfire I get hazing on the bottom--even with venting. The kilnwash I tried a couple of days ago stuck and I had to use diamond hand pads to clean it off--and even that was only marginally successful. Yesterday did have one rainbow: I slumped the first screen melt oval and it is gorgeous! I took a picture, but it may be too dark to really get a good feel for it.

Today, more writing, a fuse load in the big kiln and a project redo in the medium kiln. Also need to redo the fiber blanket mold for the raked candle sconce. Sometime this weekend I need to take pictures of all the projects and send them to my NEW EDITOR! Yep, that's right, I finally got my line editor assigned and actually talked to her. I was very happy at the end of our conversation and think we are going to get along just fine. Talking to her I very much got the feeling of "equals". I didn't feel like just another disposable author, lower than the lowliest administrative assistant or a gopher whose time is worth less than everyone else's. This is a nice change.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Burning Down the House

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, “A Storm is Coming” from the Lord of the Rings on iTunes, 100 or so words written yesterday--far short of the scheduled 1600. And yet it was still a good and productive day and I am satisfied with the output.

I didn’t get a pedicure because the laptop battery was dead and I wasn't going to sit there without being able to write. And it’s just as well I didn't as it took most of the day to get the fuse load in (I hate, hate, hate the little Pop Art pieces!) and the Art Institute order signed, packed and shipped. Today I invoice! I also narrowly missed burning down the house last night. *sigh* I have got to get a multi-hour timer that I can wear around, and I have to do it today.

Yesterday I left the kiln lid open an inch until the kiln was at 1200 degrees (and had been there on full power for some time). I have to vent the kiln because of the reaction between the binder in the thinfire and the Bullseye opal glass and I forgot that it was vented until 9:45 pm last night--I should have closed the lid at 5:30. The kiln is in the garage and the garage door was closed so it was getting mighty warm in there before I closed the kiln. Got another load like that to do today and I will set the timer on the stove and work in the breakfast room till it goes off.

Now off to write. Pics later.

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, "Cloudy This Morning" by George Winston on iTunes, 1771 words (about 4 pages out of a planned 16) written in the kilnforming section of the book. I'm late posting this morning, but I already have a kiln load in so nyah, nyah. Yesterday when I looked at the oval melt I did the day before I decided it was way to dark for the book--the coral almost all reacted with the French vanilla so it is pretty black. So instead of doing the bubble-fix fuse on it yesterday, I did another melt. It is *gorgeous* and lighter colored (coral tint, clear, a bit of coral opal, a bit of coral, apricot opal, and a smidge of French vanilla for black lines and interest). I ground the edges and both ovals are now in Kiln #2 for a bubble fix.

Today is an errand day--Thursday usually is--with a leg wax for me and gymnastics for the J. I may even squeeze in a pedicure (isn't my life tough?). I can justify the pedicure as I will take my laptop to it (and to gymnastics) and sit and write the whole time--no loss of writing time and I will be able to write at least another four pages. Besides writing I need to ship a load to the Art Institute and put in another large fuse load of Pop Art pieces in the big kiln. I also need to start putting together another order for Bullseye and one for Ed Hoy's (my other wholesale supplier in Chicago). I am about out of thinfire and fiber paper, and thanks to the additional orders from the Art Institute I am also low on some of my frit colors. Finally, I need to buy enough stands for the 2-D panel pieces for the show I have at Taylor Kinzel in November and the One of a Kind Show in Chicago.

News from the publisher on the whole where-are-we-going-to-photograph-the-projects issue is pretty good. They are letting it drop until there is an art director assigned to my book. I am not sure why they felt they had to get my projects up there asap if there isn't even an art director assigned to work on them yet, but so be it. Other news from them is not so good. Ever since the beginning of this project the editor has been giving me guidelines for number of words and photos per page. I have been following them. In fact, in the beginning I even needed to pad my estimates so that I could show enough words to fill the book.

Yesterday I got a n updated copy of the page count spreadsheet they initially gave me to work from. It has a new column called 'rounded page count' (in addition to the 'raw page count' already there). The raw page count says the book is estimated at a total page count of 124.75 pages. I am shooting for 144 so so far, so good. However the rounded page count shows me at 156.5 pages--or already 12 pages over. I would think they have been doing this long enough that the page-planning documents they provide their authors to track their work would have better than a 25% margin of error... but maybe I would be mistaken. Not sure what they would like me to do about it now so I am going to just keep on writing.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A New Technique... Again!

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, “Nighttime in the Switching Yard” by Warren Zevon sliding into “Wild Man” by the J. Geils Band on iTunes (Blogger is sloooow loading this morning!), nothing written yesterday except a letter to the editor. I was right that my saying “no” was not enough to deter them from pushing me to get all my projects back to them for photography. The reply to my email stating the projects could not be shipped and I do not have the time in my schedule to make another trip up to them was met with a genteel invoking of the “C” word. Contract, doncha know. I know. I know the word intimately as I negotiated it for several months.

I delicately replied that, no, it didn't state in my contract that I had to deliver anything to them other than the manuscript, and I offered a couple of other options including putting their art director up here for a day or so. It's never a good sign when the "C" word is invoked. It doesn't necessarily mean everything has gone to hell in a hand basket, but it says you are on that road and it has a slippery slope (any more metaphor thingies I can mangle?). I am expecting a phone call today since the email didn't elicit the desired response.

In the meantime... Success! I tried a shaped screen melt and it worked perfectly! I had to charge the kiln once (add more scrap glass to the piece when it is at process temps) and extend the soak a bit, but I should be able to tell the gentle reader how to do it without a charge by the final weight of the piece. I guessed on the initial fill from the weight of another piece that shape, but I knew it was apples and oranges and I might run short a bit because melts are always a bit thicker than regular two-thickness fuses and will weighout higher

Today has a slump load scheduled in the big kiln and a surface fix of the melt in the medium kiln. Tomorrow I will slump it and I'll post a picture on Friday. Today is also a writing day. Today I begin for real the monumental task of writing the kilnforming section of the basics. Shelf Prep R Us. Even now I am already in the sky chair on the front porch, but I may have to move inside. Even though it is the perfect temperature out here to sit, it has rained without drying out for the past three days and it smells a bit like the boat house at the lake... Eeuw. Canvas must.

To the Keyboard and Beyond!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A Little Blood in Every Piece (and on the Keyboard Too)

Coffee in the Los Angeles skyline mug, "Corpus Christi Carol" by Jeff Buckley on iTunes, nothing new written. So yesterday, lots of blood. I hate the Pop Art pieces. It is inevitable if you have to individually wash, rinse and dry 240 newly cut rectangles of glass that you will cut yourself. Multiple times. The last time was deep enough for stitches, but placed so that I could just close the flap back up and bandage it tightly together and it will heal fine. Didn't even have to use any butterflies. (Is it "butterflys" when referring to the closures?). This morning I opened up one of the cuts while taking out the studio trash hence the blood on the keyboard. Luckily it's on my thumb so as long as I blot it before it drips...

I am striving for sanguine today. You might think it funny after yesterday, but a little cheerful optimism wouldn't go amiss right now. I ended the day yesterday with a note from the editor. (As opposed to "my" editor with whom I have as yet had no dealings. I am not really sure she exists as she blew me off entirely last Friday when I was at the publisher's. Apparently she didn't even come in to work that day.) She wanted to know when the projects will be all done so they can do the beauty shots for the book up there at the publisher's... (beauty shots are the full page pictures of each project). Hello? We have had this conversation already. 1) I can't travel anymore this year. I am booked *solid* through December 12 already and I expect some stuff to still come in. 2) I can't ship the projects, some of them are just too fragile and even for those that I wouldn't normally expect to break, the cost would be too high if they did. 3) This is my book and I want to be there for the photography providing input as appropriate.

So I wrote back points 1 and 2 along with "we can just do them here with the rest of the photography". As far as Dave is concerned that's it, it's over and done now, that's the way it will be. I am not so... sanguine. I have a feeling it's just beginning and I am going to get bullied into another herculean effort, which will really piss off my husband who is the support behind all effort at this point. Borrowing trouble? Maybe.

In the meantime, I need to do a screen melt today and fuse (really, really) the last Art Institute and first back-up Uncommon Goods load I have not done for the past two days. I think part of the reason I have been dragging on doing this fuse is that it is speculative (and I am having deja vu... have I written that already?). I am making 20 platter and plates sets in case UG orders them against their second PO. There is no assurance that they will need them and that I won't get stuck with them. I know, someone will eventually want them and it will be nice to have them already done, but you don't spend the margin at the edges of life force on maybe.

And it's about time for some of the money for all this effort to come rolling in. The first Net 30 payment is due Friday with three more due by Monday, 14 in all due by November 9. Now I feel more sanguine. The thought of money coming in always makes me cheerful.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Sweet T-16

Coffee in the Washington DC mug, no music, nothing new written. I ended up taking Saturday completely off. I blogged, I napped, I lazed, I read to my child, I cuddled with my spouse. Some days you just need to recharge. So that left yesterday pretty full, work not going away and all. Yesterday I washed and sorted all the circles by size and stowed them. Then I cut 212 rectangles for the Pop Art platters and plates, and unpacked a case of glass from Bullseye (the rest of my order from last month). I was quite dismayed to find I made a mistake on the order and got two sheets of cobalt blue instead of two sheets of sky blue. Oops. I still have two sheets so I can do 40 more Pop Art sets with stock on hand if I have to.

Today I have Ikebana at 9:30 and then I get to finish cutting rectangles (21 to go) and wash and dry them all. Today's big kiln load is the last five platters for the Art Institute and as many opal Pop Arts as I can get in. I am tired of having to deal with the haze from the Thinfire on the opals--even venting to 1000 degrees doesn't eliminate it entirely--so I am going to fuse all the Pop Art pieces on kiln-washed mullite shelves. We'll see how this goes.

I would like to do loads in the medium and small kilns too. I *should* be redoing a project every day to get them done. For the most part the changes are small, but the pieces have to be redone entirely anyway.
  • They want the necklace in amber irid instead of teal irid.
  • The blue lace bowl (which was originally proposed as a ceiling fixture or a a lamp but done as a bowl because they wanted it smaller) is being redone as a ceiling fixture (and, of course, larger...).
  • The raked candle sconce mask is going to be a long horizontal wave piece instead of a tall half-circle--and no face (not a mask). Got to remake the fiberblanket mold for this one too so had better get on it--it takes a long time to dry.
  • The harlequin black and black irid candle trays on lava cloth are going to be coral cathedral and either clear, black or amber and black streamer in clear.
  • The paperweight will be a dragonfly instead of sea creatures and will have clear irid or dichro in it.
  • And finally, the S-curve screen melt will be an oval screen melt. I want to do as little cutting as possible on the melted piece so I am going to try to come up with a creative way of damming the glass into an oval as it melts.
And then there is the remaining writing... I still have the kilnforming, finishing and troubleshooting sections to do as well as the complete re-write of the screen melt project and the updating of the other changed projects. But today is not a writing day. Tomorrow will be for writing (and slumping). Wednesday will be for fusing, shipping and writing. Thursday I will have to drive up to ULine and get a large order of shipping supplies... and fuse. Friday, Saturday and Sunday: writing and fusing. The week looms. I will be glad when the book and the catalog (repetitive) orders are done.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I'm Baaack!

I am an addict. Given the choice of staying warm and cozy in bed and maybe reading a bit while D and J go to the grocery store for breakfast fixings (the house is 64 degrees this morning) or getting up and blogging, I chose blogging. No coffee yet, no music, nothing new written. Yet let it not be said there has been no progress--we have moved into a new phase of the book. It is a phase in which it finally feels solid and really happening. I have had my project review, they have seen the pieces and they are not cancelling the book. Was it a possibility? No. But between having now met them face to face, having them accept my work and having all the projects and half the basics text written (except the project that now has to be re-written--see below), it feels much more real to me than it did on, say, Wednesday.

I preface this next section with "It went well from my perspective". That may seem a surprising statement as I have been asked to redo almost 30% of the projects for one reason or another. But the suggestions were reasonable and they will make a better book. There is only one change which makes me vaguely uncomfortable: They want me to redo the S-Curve I did for the screen melt project (upper left) into an oval platter (same shape as the sea serpent at right). I am uncomfortable with this request as the combination of technique and shape are evocative of Steve Immerman's work. But I will strive for something different. And Steve is known for his beautiful coldworking which I will not be doing as I can't count on the readers having access to the equipment.

So what now? Well, there is a post for Stranded in the South coming up on roadtrips, small towns, and freeways in the south (I am going to treat myself on this beautiful fall day). It is a studio day, of course. Every day between now and Thanksgiving is a studio day. I need to wash and dry all the circles and sort them by size (I know I have been saying that for days, but today I really have to do it). I will also redo one of the book projects, put in a fuse load for the Art Institute and Uncommon Goods, and maybe, just maybe, I will put another box in the little kiln.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Better Late Than Never

By the time Blogger finally comes up this morning the coffee in the New York skyline mug and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen covered by Rufus Wainwright will have slid into “Lay Me Down” by Crosby and Nash. To Get One With It I am blogging in Word to post when I Blogger is available again. I hate it when tech fails. Final morning update: THE LAST TWO PROJECTS FOR THE BOOK WERE WRITTEN LAST NIGHT. And in stunning symbiosis the last project for the book will be finished this morning (the tack fuse on the redo of the pendant project). Psych.

Yesterday was a long one. I fired five loads in three kilns. The Art Institute ordered 20 more pieces (15 of which were fused at 9:20 last night). The checkerboard and checkers are *perfect*. No devit, no hazing, just perfect. Too bad they are such a boring pain to make--they are cool and would make nice gifts (make a little box to store the checkers in…). I also got the last of the circles ground. Today I have to wash and sort all 10,000 of them. Yeee, yeee, yeee.

The main task of the day today is packing all the projects up to take to the publisher’s in North Carolina tomorrow. I have to leave at 4 am to get there by 8:30 am. Yeee, yeee, yeee. On the plus side I will be home by dinner and it is Fun Friday at the Y for J so D and I will have a quiet pizza and champagne dinner at home and watch some more Firefly (we are re-watching the whole series… it’s a comfort thing). The champagne will either be to celebrate the day or to drown my tears. Odds are even on which right now.

So what else is happening in the studio today… well, going to finally ship the order to the new gallery in PA (had a chip on the bottom I had to grind and firepolish out in one of the pieces yesterday--found it as I was signing to ship), got to cut 20 PopArt platter and plate sets to fire and hold in reserve against the PO for the catalog in NYC. The PO is for 42 sets, but there is no way I am going to make that many without a concrete order--20 is more than enough! Then the last five pieces for the Art Institute and the first of the PopArt sets go in to fuse. Then the prep for slumping tomorrow on the Art Institute pieces that come out today--Just because I have to drive for nine hours tomorrow and hang out for few hours while people evaluate my work (I’ll have my laptop and be writing) doesn’t mean I don’t have to fire a full kiln load. And last and biggest on tap for the day: going to send out the last five projects and the Work Area set-up and Safety sections of the book. Don’t Run With Scissors!

So far this morning while waiting for Blogger to be back I have broken one of the little leaves for the fountain and lost one of the silver loops for the necklace. NOT an auspicious beginning to the day. Got to find the glue and make another loop.

Ended up casting two more leaves instead of gluing. And two kiln loads are already in. Whoo hoo!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Alone at Last

Coffee in the Alaska skyline mug, "Let It Be" by the Beatles on iTunes (and isn't THAT an irony), there were words being written in the screen melt project right up to the moment when I switched to the blog. I will get caught up today for sure. Yesterday's experiment with mica was wildly successful and I discovered a new technique in the process that I am looking forward to exploring more.

Just took a break to get J and D off to school and work and check the kilns. The checkers fired perfectly, the board is still too hot to look at. The last slump load for the new gallery in PA is done and will ship today. I just put three small castings in the little kiln and all I have left to do on the projects (if the checkerboard turned out) is redo the necklace, flip and firepolish the checkerboard, glue the mirror and hangers to the mirror frame, and put the hands back on the clock. Everything but the firings can be done tomorrow. I hope I don't have to redo the checkerboard. The only reason I would is a haze from the thinfire on the front (I fired it face down to keep sharp lines between the squares).

Today, after I finish all outstanding writing (and it is outstanding, if I do say so myself) I have to finish grinding the circles, wash and them all and sort them by size. Then it is time to begin fusing the back-up PopArt platter and plates sets for the catalog in New York. I had originally planned to start Monday, but it wasn't urgent so I let it slide in favor of supervising yard clean-up. I know a landscaper with a very good crew and she really likes my work so we are doing a trade. For my part, I now have over 40 bags of yard refuse on the curb waiting to be picked up and composted by the county (I don't compost anything with weed seeds in it as my pile isn't big enough to get hot enough to kill them), the beds are almost all mulched (13 cu yds wasn't enough... we have a big yard), and the lawn is trimmed back from the beds and mowed. *sigh* Life is good, even if it wasn't all about glass this week.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Since Yesterday...

No coffee yet (where are the damn beans?!? she demands querulously), no music either, nothing written yesterday but more about the detailed photography shot list--and more to do on it today. The table did fail (HUGE bubble on the surface) and I am taking that project out of the book: If I can't get reliable, predictable results with copper inlay, then neither will a beginner. The bubbles are just too random a factor.

The gold and silver leaf dish also failed. I could have saved myself some work there by just checking the warmglass archives first, but I had to do it on my own. Much of the leaf vaporized (which I knew could be a problem on the surface, but this was sandwiched) and what was left was too faint to be interesting in the clear glass--except for the black and brown gloppy-looking mess in the middle where air sealed in and oxidized the silver.

Now it's 7:30 am and I already have the first two of four kiln loads in. The first is a replacement project (another one) with gold and silver mica, light blue irid and clear irid glasses. If it turns out well it will be the perfect project because it teaches use of contact resist, demonstrates a painting technique (pouncing) and incorporates micas. Fingers are crossed. The other load is the first of two slump loads to get the last gallery order of the week out.

Yesterday was shipping hell here. If I could hire someone just to do my shipping I would. I ran out of peanuts halfway through the Art Institute order and had to run out to the UPS store and pay double the usual rate. Then there was a snafu with the UPS driver picking up the packages because I had two different pick-up times scheduled so I had to call customer service and get him back out at 6:30 to get the last shipment. It was stressful and hairy, and I was sweaty and exhausted at the end. I shipped 260 lbs of glass out yesterday in six boxes. And I had to process a claim for breakage on one of the samples that went to the Art Institute last week.

Whoopsie Daisies! It is 7:49. I am already late on my schedule. Got to get the Sprout up and ready for school.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Let the Week Begin

Coffee in the Los Angeles skyline mug, no music, one project written yesterday. I am so hosed. My project meeting at the publisher's is this Friday. I tried the table again yesterday and this morning when I opened the kiln to put in the fiber blanket for insulation there is a big bubble on the top. Time for plan B. There is no plan B. And the medium kiln is tied up until tomorrow morning with the rest of the table firing (it is 1" thick and going to take a loooong time to cool down). I just don't know if I'm up for/have time for trying a fourth table. Darn the table base company anyway: such a deep recess requiring a thick table top is just a pain. There is no way I can do another thick tabletop by Friday... but maybe I can do a thinner top and use vinyl bumpers (lots, and lots, and lots of them!) to raise the table level 1/2".

I also still have the checkerboard (and pieces) to do, the necklace to re-do smaller, the paperweights to re-cast in lighter colors, and the mirror frame to glue to the mirror and hang. Oh I just had an idea. If the tabletop falls through (again) maybe I can do a gold and silver leaf holiday candy bowl. A simple project, pretty, flashy even. Lord knows this book needs a bit more flash.

On the gallery-order front, as I was unable to squeeze in the slumping of the pieces for the new gallery over the weekend I will be unable to ship it today. And with the current firing configuration, I am not sure when I can get it done. Just one more damn thing to have to work in. On the plus side, the orders for the Art Institute, the catalog in New York and the Chicago gallery are all done. I just need to sign all the pieces (about 130 of them), package them up, enter all the shipping info online for UPS and have them picked up today. Just.

But now it's time to get dressed, have another cup of coffee, and get ready for the onslaught of the yard clean-up crew. Our backyard went to hell in the proverbial handbasket over the summer with my schedule and I finally Did Something About It. Today the grass will be cut and the lawn area will be cut back, the beds will be weeded and mulched, the bamboo will be tied up, and things will be tidied. I can't wait.

Sunday, October 08, 2006


No coffee yet (though yesterday it was in the Austin skyline mug continuing my trek west), "Fear" by Sarah McLachlan on iTunes (following her "Into the Fire"... are they trying to tell me something?), finished the Safety and Work Area Set-up sections of the book yesterday and worked on the fountain section till a friend came over bringing our child back from a play date. It is Sunday morning. There is a full moon perched on the pecan tree out back in the indigo sky of very early morning. Nothing is stirring except me and the moth outside the window drawn by the light of the laptop screen. I feel a kinship with her. We're both beating our heads against something this morning. Sunday mornings are meant to be spent snuggling with a warm, cozy spouse, not writing into the void before writing more projects. But such is life with 24 days left until the book is due.

Firings have been a mixed bag over the past few days. One of the pieces for the new gallery cracked yesterday. I either took it out of the kiln too hot (doubtful, but maybe) or (more likely) I can't slump pieces that large in the small side-firing kiln. The mold almost touched the sides and even with the top elements adding surface heat I am just not confident that the piece fired evenly. Unfortunately the bigger kilns are all full for the next few days and I am not sure how I am going to work the new pieces in. *sigh* I'll think about it when I am more awake.

Time has passed since I started writing this post. I spent it making a new playlist and buying a bunch of music on iTunes. Now I listen to the playlist (titled "melancholy") and I write. But now the sun and the spouse are up (so where's my coffee?!?) so I am going to start REAL writing.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Still Surfing the Schedule (More or Less)

Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, no music, one paragraph written yesterday. It's almost like I am on a fall roadtrip as I move westward with my skyline mugs. I can almost feel the crisp air and see the brilliant fall colors of Chicago from my chair in Atlanta. A chair, I might add, I do not plan to leave anytime soon unless it is to get dressed and move to a Sky chair on the front porch. Today is SUCH a writing day! I have started the work-area set-up and safety sections of the book (don't run with scissors! See? I'm a natural) and I am going to move on to the fountain and the table this afternoon.

I have run into a bit of difficulty on the firings. Not only did I way over estimate what I could fuse the other night, but I also overestimated what I could slump in any given load. So now instead of firing a book project in the medium kiln today or tomorrow morning, I have to slump gallery work. Maybe I should be really brave and daring and do the table in the little kiln. A 1-inch (2.5 cm) thick piece in a little 14-inch (35.6 cm) kiln. That'll be a treat. Hey I spontaneously converted! I don't think I'll ever be able to write a measurement in non-metric/non-Celsius without at least putting () behind it to hold the conversion.

And I am late, late, late again today. Dave thought it was 6:00 am at 2:00 and started snuggling prior to getting up. J came in at 2:15. At 2:30 she started coughing and, afraid she might throw up, we all trooped into the bathroom. False alarm and we all went back to (our) bed to doze fitfully, waking every time J coughed and preparing to dash to the bathroom again. Dave finally got up about 3:00 and went downstairs. J "wanted to be with Daddy" and followed him down at 3:05. I heard J finally throw up from coughing and phlegm at about 3:20, and then I fell back to sleep and left the rest of the family to sort themselves out without me. Dave came up to take a bath at 7:00 and told me J had laid down on the couch and fallen asleep next to him and he had eventually tucked her back in bed. After all the ups and downs of the night, I blearily rose at 7:45 and got J moving and ready for school. Now I write. I write here, I write in my metadocument on photography, and maybe, just maybe, I will actually Write In The Book!

Thursday, October 05, 2006


Coffee in the Atlanta skyline mug as my virtual journey west continues. Forbidden Forest by George Winston on iTunes, no writing yesterday. No studio work at all till 5:00 pm. So what, you might ask did I do all day? Who knows. I was on the computer all day--except for the 2-1/2 hours I took to take Jessie to the dentist for the first time (she did great and wants to be a dentist for Halloween now--she gets off on the rubber gloves. Don't go there.).

Oh yeah, I also finally figured out how many circles of what sizes I need to have for the 60 PopArt platter and plate sets I have committed to being able to provide (spreadsheets rule). I will make up 40, ship 20 of those, and have the materials on hand top make another 20 if asked. I hate purchase orders with a "hold for confirmation". And I ordered the circles. Another $1,000+. Not an expense I was planning, and one I have to take on against the eventuality of an order rather than against scheduled income. In a way I can see where knowing exactly how many of what size circles I have and having them sorted and stored by size will enable me to manage my inventory and plan my designs better (and manage my production costs). But business growing pains are still pains.

Today started really late as I completely lost it and scheduled way more than could possibly fit in the big kiln last night for the fuse load. And the schedule is such that I couldn't just save some and do it today--the kilns are already scheduled for a slump load (the big kiln) and a book project (the medium kiln). I did have the little kiln unscheduled and I do have to use it to fuse the one piece I couldn't fit in last night. So how did I mess up so badly? I tempted the fates, that's how.

The day before yesterday I looked at my schedule and thought I was so far ahead I had room to put in a couple of pieces for the November Taylor Kinzel glass show or the One of a Kind Show in Chicago in December. Might as well start squirreling them away now, went my reasoning. Then yesterday morning I pulled an order from a new gallery in PA off the fax. It was a little start-up order and I thought I could just squeeze it in with the last of the PopArt platters and plates for the catalog and the order for the gallery in Chicago. About 9:00 (I took a dinner/family break form 6:15-7:30) I looked in the kiln and, holy sh*t, it was almost full! And I had already made another unscheduled "extra" piece! So I finished filling the big kiln, then I filled the medium kiln, then I filled the little kiln and fired them all up. It was 10:30. I went down and shut the kiln lid on the big kiln at 11:45 (it actually started firing at 10:00 and was--I hope--at a high enough temp to have burned off the organic binders in the shelf paper so the PopArts don't get a milky haze on the bottom.

When I woke this morning I was singing the chorus of the Monty Python Spam song, only instead of spam, spam, spam, spam I sang beans, beans, beans, beans as what woke me up was the sound of Dave grinding the coffee beans at 7:30. Honest, I woke up and the words were already coming out of my mouth before I was even awake. It's desperate times here. I didn't even start this post till everyone had left for school and work. And now I am dragging.

Fortunately, it is a light day in the studio--a slump load in the big kiln and the table project to fuse the medium kiln. The rest of the day is really, truly BOOK. T-27. Twenty-seven days till the book is due at the publisher. Yee Haw.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

T-28... and counting.

Coffee in the Washington DC skyline mug, no music, five projects completed and sent in yesterday, T-28 and counting. I am late, late, late this morning! I didn't sit down to write till 7:41 which means four minutes to blog unless I take my laptop up and write as I keep Jessie company (and exhort her to Hurry UP!) through her morning ablutions. I can hear her up there now whining to Dave that she's still TIRED and can she stay in bed for five more minutes. She's only FOUR for heaven's sake! Why is she a teenager now?

The schedule is taking its toll. Of course part of that could be that I am also having the last painting in the house done this week and have to supervise the painter on top of everything else. The color is cantaloupe slice (shown at right). On my screen it looks a little softer and more muted than it really is (a good reason not to pick paint over the internet--I didn't pick it that way, but it is a good reason nonetheless).

I have five projects to write up this week and the work-area set-up and safety sections. The five projects are not even all decided yet. That's a problem. This week besides writing and gallery orders I need to do another orchid melt to pick the new colors, another screen melt to check the set-up using mullite supports instead of my metal stand, I need to finish designing and do the table, re-design and re-do the necklace, make the checkerboard and checkers (ugh, more circles to cut), and try to design and paint a garden stake. That is project 21 right now (I figured it would be a good thing to have an extra in case they hate one of the others at the project review next week).

It's a bit freaky that there are still projects for the book I haven't done yet or am still tweaking around for the third or fourth time. I really thought they would be done and tucked away the first of September.

Some time in all of this madness I want to do an entire load of boxes in the big kiln. I will have to cut a lot more dams and they will take up the kiln for the better part of a week, but it would be nice to have them for the Taylor Kinzel winter glass show and the One of a Kind Show. (Am I high, you ask... and well you might!).

But enough for today. It is already 8:52 and I should be working. Tomorrow, T-27.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Day 2 of the New Regime

Coffee in the Montreal skyline mug. I'm still moving westward across the skylines this week but I had to detour a bit (okay, okay, I'm geographically-challenged). Grace by Jeff Buckley on iTunes. Almost have the next five projects written up. Will definitely finish them this morning and get them sent in (they were due last Thursday...). I managed to follow my schedule yesterday at least in the broad brushstrokes, but things are beginning to crack at the seams. When I went to ship the order I had to go out yesterday I was missing a piece: I had accidentally sent it to another gallery last Friday. So I quickly fired it in the medium kiln, called the gallery and let them know I would be shipping today.

I didn't do a firing during the day as almost all the studio time was re-assigned to getting paint (the last large area still in the original beige paint will be painted today. Had to hire it out as it includes the wall next to the stairs and D won't let me up on scaffolding... killjoy) , making a bank deposit and picking up the mirror project and a cosmos hanging panel from Dixie Glasshoppers. But that was okay (I thought) as when I went over my firing schedule for the week it looked like I was so far ahead I had gained a day. What I needed to do was keep scrolling down. Last night at 9:45 when I was updating my schedules I saw that I wouldn't be able to ship the final big order to the Art Institute next Monday without firing today. Fortunately a slump load would do so I quickly (again) prepped and popped in a full slump load.

Yesterday I did get one housekeeping task that has been nagging at me done. I mentioned earlier that I am doing the PopArt platter and plate sets for a catalog this fall and they want all the pieces to match. So last night I counted all the circles I use for each one (eight sizes from 3/8" to 1-1/8" in six colors for six pieces...) I am putting it all in a spreadsheet this morning to make sure I have enough of each of the color/size combinations on hand. I still have to grind four of the colors and wash all eight colors from the last group of circles. Then I have to sort out all my old circles by size and put them in with the new circles. Boy do I wish I had help right now. This is the kind of project that is going to suck my time right out my ears and could be done by a trained monkey. Not that I would call my help a monkey.

Okay, 7:45. Blog time is up for the day. Got to roust a Sprout and get ready for a painter.

Monday, October 02, 2006

New Regime

Coffee in the New York skyline mug (I am going to work my way west this week), "Hallelujah" by Leonard Cohen covered by Jeff Buckley on iTunes, some words written since the last post but not enough. I am behind. There is no getting around it. I can manage the physical requirements of firings and prep work no matter how tired I am--though cutting glass takes on a whole new dimension when you are exhausted. Fortunately the adrenaline rush after the first cut usually wakes me up and keeps anything too serious from happening. But I can't write technical non-fiction when I am crushed by fatigue. Yup, crushed.

So today a new regime begins. It is a sad fact of life that there are only so many hours in a day. And it is a happy fact of life that some of those hours need to be shared with loved ones. It is just a fact that I can do some things better at some times of the day than I can at others. So starting today I am optimizing for time and task, and I am further restricting everything that doesn't move me closer to having the book and all my firings done on schedule. What does that mean? Well, no Stranded in the South until November 1 unless I get WAY far ahead again. 15 minutes per morning to blog here (four to go). Here is the schedule I am going for this week:

6:00 am write
7:30 post
7:45 get J and ready for school
8:15 shower and dress
8:30 write (while eating a toasted dry bagel)
potty breaks as needed
12:30 lunch break
1:00 studio
6:00 dinner and family time
7:30 studio
9:00 hang with spouse
10:30 sleep

Dave has appropriated two of my activities for the time being--picking J up from school and bathing her and putting her to bed. I will not (I hope) have to work every night in the studio so I should be able to reclaim some nights.

Okay, time's up. On to the next thing.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

One Month and Counting

No coffee yet, but it is brewing. No music and nothing written yesterday at all--not even meta-writing. At right and below left, the best piece I have ever made. It is called the Coptic Blue Eye Box. It is 5" X 4.5" X 3" and the glass is about 3/8" thick. This piece is special because, like the Carnivale box, it is a "from the ashes" piece. Someday I will have a show of pieces that were all made from the failures of other pieces--from the ashes. The glass in this box was the original pass at the raked wall sconce project for the book. But the glass was too opaque--it is French Vanilla and Egyptian Blue opal--and it had two air bubbles from the rake firing. One of the bubbles burst and left a hole, the other made the "eye" formation shown on the lid of the box. After I achieved success with the box firing schedule, I decided to use this piece of raked glass for another box for D for his birthday.

What you cannot get from the photos is just how silky smooth the glass is. I polished it on the lap grinder to a fine matte finish. And though it looks like the sides are separate pieces of glass, they aren't anymore. When I fused the box, I took it to 1500 degrees for a long soak and now the entire box (except for the lid) is one smooth, seamless piece of glass. Can you tell how infatuated I am with this piece? I could stroke and pet it all day. Of course it is no longer mine and I don't have all day to moon over a box, but if it were and if I did... As it is I am just going to have to make time to make more boxes. Maybe in time for the Taylor Kinzel glass show in November but maybe not until the One of a Kind Show in Chicago. My friend Andrea who is a torchglass artist is going to collaborate with me on handles for the boxes. More on that project as it progresses!

Yesterday morning I put together my entry for the Corning Museum of Glass's New Glass Review and got it to the post office to be postmarked by 10/1 (what sense does it make to have "postmarked by 10/1" on the entry requirements when the post office is closed on 10/1 so you can't get anything postmarked that day?). The rest of the day was (almost) all birthday all the time (chronicled in Stranded in the South). I did go from cooking potatoes to cooking glass when I put 15 ocean platters for the Art Institute in the kiln to fuse.

Now for today. Back to earth with a thump. There is exactly one month till the manuscript for the book is due. I am halfway through. I am freaked out. The first half of the book took a month and a half to write and my firing schedule was not as intense. Ah well, all I can do is STOP DITZING AROUND ON BLOGGER AND GET TO IT! Five projects the "decks" for all the projects written so far to write today, and the complete shot and illo list to finish. Also must fire another fuse load for the Art Institute.

It's been a slice. Off to work.