Friday, March 30, 2007

Technology and Shifting Hats

Coffee (microwaved from yesterday) in the Chicago skyline mug, "So Long, So Wrong" by Alison Krauss and the Union Station on iTunes. Computer technology has progressed amazingly in the past 20 years and I still want more. When I got home from the BMAC I amused myself by looking at another artist's catalog on the web and creating my own version in Word by dragging and dropping the images from the web straight into Word. We take that kind of functionality for granted. Ho hum. Click here, move there, don't even think about what has to be going on in the software underneath so that the two programs (Word and the web browser) can pass enough information to make a seamless hand-off. Heck, just thinking about it might make most people's eyes cross and brains hurt, but I want more.

I was going to write what more I wanted, but in the middle of writing this post I took a phone call and finished with a senior moment: I have no idea where I was going with the whole need for more tech rant. Ah well, guess I better move to glass.

No, I know! I want to be able to easily link a snippet of the song of the morning to its title at the beginning of the post! I have done it before, but it was a real pain, I don't remember how I did it, and I don't know how well the snippet played--I work on a Mac these days and I have to use iTunes to preview music. The soaring lifts of AK's voice on "So Long, So Wrong" are worth sharing. But I can't 'just do it'. So now I get on to glass and you'll have to experience Alison Krauss' voice somewhere else.

One of my many hats as a single business owner/artist is to photograph my work for daily, small-scale updating (on a webpage, for a catalog, etc.). Today I futz around with lighting set-ups, backgrounds and table heights. And I may need to learn how to cut Formica. Dave bought me a nice sheet of black Formica to use as a seamless background for my work, but eight feet is too much to wrangle onto my table set-up. Maybe I need to put it back further away from the work. I am beginning to wish I worked smaller. I envy the Hulets and their obviously marvelous set-up for their teeny-tiny chocolates. Extreme efficiency exemplified. I will spend the afternoon trying to get my own version up and working. What's left of the morning will be spent purchasing a crate. No glass will be harmed today.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Anxiety and Pollen?

Good (late) morning! Coffee in the Washington DC skyline mug, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" performed by Diana Ross and the Supremes on iTunes. It's almost 11:00, I sit down to write (thus commencing my work day) and I am hit by an anxiety attack. What's THAT all about? There is nothing anxiety-producing going on in life right now, and yet I am having frequent, severe anxiety attacks. It's to the point that I remark on days when I don't have one. I woke up at 5:00 am the day before yesterday practically hyperventilating from anxiety, and at noon another bout rippled through my system as I was driving to Weight Watchers. I'm getting a bit concerned about both the frequency and the severity of the attacks and am wondering if I might oughta do something about them. A friend just mused through instant messenger that they might be caused by the pollen, some weird kind of allergic reaction. Given the solid blanket of yellow covering everything here right now, that's not as far-fetched as it sounds. Why not fight or flight in addition to sneezing, watery eyes, etc.?

And it is over and I am back to "normal" again. Normal this week is wonderfully languid. Three weeks from tomorrow I have to have everything ready for UPS Freight to pick up and ship to Vegas for the ACRE show. I don't even have a crate or know the weight of what I need to send yet--much less work done. But three weeks is a long time and I don't have anything else scheduled to be delivered between now and then. "Hallelujah" covered by Jeff Buckley begins on iTunes and I think, "How appropriate!".

So off to find a crate, ship a mysterious overnight package to California (Bill, finally!) and do something in the studio--maybe set-up the new tripod that came from Amazon yesterday.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Paperwork, Paperwork

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "Blue Trail of Sorrow" sliding into "Stay", both performed by Alison Krauss and the Union Station on iTunes. A day (really, truly this time) of bookkeeping and management begins. Yesterday was not spent on glass or business except for the one firing I had to get in. I did, however, have a conversation with my publisher and all of my concerns were addressed and fears were allayed. I am now much relieved and moving on to the next project.

The next project is a very annoying one that I am dragging my feet on. A couple of years ago I had a gallery go out of business. Towards the end they gave me a bad check for one month's worth of sales (it was a local gallery and I had work there on consignment). I went back to get another check and ended up pulling the rest of my work on a gut feeling. Good thing as when I went back the next week (the owner wasn't in on the previous visit) the gallery was closed forever and all the work in it was gone--some of it (like mine) there on consignment and not paid for. I never did find the gallery owner, he went to ground with practiced ease and I never got paid the $800+ he owed me for two months worth of sales. Sean Thomas of Hodge Podge, wherever you are, what comes around goes around. And you had better not come around here or we will have a go around.

Now I have a gallery that ordered from me at last summer's Buyer's Market Show for delivery the first of November. I shipped on time and they were happy with the work. I gave them Net 30 terms so they should have paid me by the first of December. I have now called, written and faxed requesting payment and still... nothing. So my new project for the day is to research collection/credit reporting options for bad debtors.

I mentioned the other day that I moved the pond from the back deck to the front porch. The fountain is also inside right now waiting for the painter to come and stain the deck... that's truly a story for Stranded in the South. Everyone has a contractor story. I am working up to a doozy. Anyway, one of the squirrels who is accustomed to drinking out of the pond or fountain just wandered around the deck and then came to back door, put his paws on it and glared through it accusingly at me. I'm going to tell him it's the painter's fault and sick him on him.

Enough nattering. Time to cross things off the list!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Ignore the Springtime and Ramp to ACRE!

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "Bright Sunny South" performed by Alison Krauss and the Union Station on iTunes. It's another bluegrass day. I took the day off yesterday. First full non-weekend day I have taken off outside of vacation for almost a year. Wow. It felt really good--almost good enough to do it again today. Sadly the schedule (a harsh taskmistress) will not permit. Yesterday I worked for one more day in the yard and waited patiently to hear back from the publisher about my concerns with renaming the birdbath and reshooting the fountain. Maybe they took the day off too, as I heard nothing.

Today I deposit money, nag for money, courier letters to France for my intern, and putter on the web. I will fire one load (that includes a redo of a piece I am sending to California that must be there by Friday--needless to say I will be overnighting it Thursday), but it's mostly about business today and not glass. On an business marketing note--thanks to everyone who has taken the poll on the stands so far. I really appreciate the data. There are a lot more of you out there lurking every day, come out and take the poll!

Today or tomorrow I need to figure out the approximate weight of my display and work for the ACRE show in Vegas. UPS called yesterday to set up my shipping time and tell me the costs and the number they gave me from my off-the-top-of-my-head guess on the weight was hugely
scary. Consider-canceling-the-airline-tickets-and-driving scary.

I close with a teaser photo of yesterday's work--I moved the small pond with the four big goldfish from the back deck to the screened-in front porch. The rest of the pics are gong up on Stranded in the South.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Odds 'N' Sods

Coffee just brewed, I'll get some soon. "I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow" by Alison Krauss and the Union Station on iTunes, the thud of the spouse's feet on the treadmill upstairs as accompaniment. The lead male vocalist for the Union Station, Dan Tyminski, is the uncredited singer of the same song in the Cohen Brothers movie "O Brother Where Art Thou". On the soundtrack the song was credited to the Soggy Bottom Boys and I always thought that meant George Clooney et al., but no. Good news as I really like the sound and wanted more.

Today will be full of odds and sods, more catch-up. I spent the weekend gardening and communing with my family--did too little of that over the past year. Yes, Bill, I took pictures, and someday they will end up on Stranded in the South--maybe even before I accidentally delete them. Now it's time to roust a Sprout and get her off to school. Then I do battle with my page--got to get it published TODAY!

Don't forget to take the stand poll--need all the free marketing input I can get.

Friday, March 23, 2007

New Stands! (And a Poll)

(Two posts for one today--see the post below this one for the continuing saga of an almost-author.)

I didn't post Thursday because I went to South Carolina for the day to meet with Bill and Elaine Snell of Elliott Metal Works. They designed some stands for me to use with my glass panels and had the first set of prototypes ready yesterday. Wow. Can I just say WOW?.

Shown here are the first-run prototypes which are already being tweaked to show a more intimate relationship between the glass and the metal (the metal on some of them will come up higher on the sides, embracing and cradling the glass more). I am very excited about debuting them at the American Craft Retailers Expo in Vegas in May.

Now I would love some feedback on which styles you like best. Vote early and often (just kidding!). Incentive? Next Saturday I will do a random drawing for someone to win their favorite stand and glass panel. No kidding.

One entry per person.
All entries must contain serious critique of the stands--both positives and negatives of each style (what you like, what you don't like, what would make it more attractive, as applicable)
All entries must contain a 1-10 ranking of each stand (one is awful, 10 is stupendous)
All entries must contain a comparative ranking all the stands (1 is the favorite, six is the least favorite).

The glass is shown with the stands to give an idea of the size of the pieces in relation to each other, the weight and balance of the glass with the metal, etc. I am not looking for a critique of the glass at this time. The stands are meant to go with all of my color series, but if you feel strongly about which stands go best with which glass, by all means let me know. Lastly, I took all the pictures in front of a light wood wall so the colors in the glass were a bit affected (i.e., this isn't the best photography; don't downgrade the work on it). Thanks for your input!

Japanese Wave or Chinese Dragon

Blades of Grass

Geometric Solid


Flame and Wave

Lines in the Sand

Coffee is long gone, music is the clacking of the keys as I agitatedly type. Though I would like to be looking forward to new projects and challenges, I am stuck in the rut of The Book. I have shrugged off a lot of little annoyances and realigned my expectations again and again over the past year, but we have reached my line in the sand.

One of the projects in the book is a birdbath. It was not shot as a birdbath but on a white tile floor with white artificial pears in it. The editor wants me to rename it as a "Standing Server". Not going to happen. I think a project list containing a birdbath is much more likely to be attractive to a reader than a project list with a serving bowl in it. Additionally I designed it for outdoor use and purchased a wrought iron birdbath stand for it. If they want to use the picture with the pears in it and say something like "In the winter this lovely birdbath makes a great standing bowl indoors", I am fine with that, but I am not renaming the project.

The final project in the book is a fountain, shown above right (shot by my photographer). The little glass leaves at the top conceal the opening where the water comes out, provide a high point to the piece, and control the water flow. The shot done by the publisher has the little leaves scattered along the outer edges of the two plates. When I said it needs to be reshot I was basically told it wouldn't be. So this morning I had to go to the additional annoyance of writing my lawyer (specialty: intellectual property rights--he reviewed the initial contract) for assistance. He provided me with a a nice edit of the email I had prepared but not yet sent to my editor and included references to "misrepresentation of the Work" and inability "to allow their publication in that form". I love him. Just having someone professional to go to who can take the emotion out of a situation and reduce it to the basic facts is such a relief! He calmly, without heat, laid out my position and stands ready in the wings to pick up any actual legal conversations that might follow. Lines in the sand.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Not a Good Day

No coffee, no music. Heading to the dentist soon and getting a quick post out before I go. Two days ago I got email copies of the beauty shots (the finished project photography) for my book. I was not there for the shoot--I was not even told when it would be. I was not consulted on, well, anything. I guess this is standard in the publishing industry. I suppose it's also standard for authors to cry when they see what someone else has blithely done to a year's worth of their work. Some pieces were shot flat wrong (pieces upside down, incorrect assembly of the work, etc.) and some poorly thought out. Who hangs wind chimes inside the house? And why would you put a birdbath, again indoors, on the floor with no water in it? Two outdoor projects both shot indoors.

But the big problem for me is that all the projects were shot on a white-on-white background with all white props. You might think this would emphasize the color in the glass and make the projects themselves pop. My editor thinks they're stunning and elegant. To me they just look flat, sterile and unappealing.

The book on mosaics that the publisher put out a couple of years ago has such lush, vibrant photography that every time I open it I get energized and enthused. I am going to be lucky if all the people do who pick up my book is go to sleep. I might as well work in beige. Do I look like a beige person to you?!?

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Caloo Calay!

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "Someday Never Comes" by Creedence Clearwater Revival (just for you, Bill) on iTunes. Oh it's good to back in the comfy brown recliner with a laptop in my lap and coffee by my side. It's been a few days. While I wasn't posting, I was off cleaning up the last details on the book, shipping the last orders from the BMAC which were scheduled to go out as soon after the show as possible (the rest of the orders are nicely spaced with scheduled dates between now and September), and doing general clean-off-the-slate activities. Oh yes, and I was recovering as many of my pictures as I could from the Pictures folder I inadvertently deleted last week. *sigh*

But the list of things I got through is not what's important this morning. Nope. the most notable thing to come out of the last four days is that for everything I got done on the list I didn't add two more things. I didn't even add one more--my to-do list is actually shrinking! It won't last, but I'm luxuriating in it while it does.

Another Creedence song just came on iTunes: "Lookin' Out My Backdoor". That's what I'm going to be doing. The pauciflora and the weeping cherry are in bloom back there. The redbuds, spring magnolias, bradford pears and even the dogwoods are gloriously shedding blossoms and pollen all over the city. Even my little flying dragon in the front is bursting with shy, yellow-white flowers. The camellias bow out on either side of the front steps, and soon my shady little witch hazel will cut loose in abundant yellow-orange. I love spring. It happens so early and exuberantly in the south.

But back to glass. Now that the book has been put to bed, I am moving forward on another project I was considering last January and had to put on hold for the book: The Siyeh Home line. These are the clear architectural glass slumped pieces I have been playing around with for, oh, 20 years now. The name is from a friend I met with yesterday who is going to create a marketing survey for me to test the glass patterns and piece styles I should initially produce in the line. I still haven't decided whether to exclusively retail them or to do retail and wholesale, but I need to do something more than I am. I have an intern coming at the end of next month and I need to have something for her to do!

As I finish up the details of Projects Past (I so love that the book is now in this category--I am just going to revel in that reality for awhile) I also look ahead to finally setting up a photography area in the studio. Dave got me some halogen work lights at Home Depot and a piece of black Formica to use as my seamless background. Now I just need some clamps and a tripod, and voila!


I started this post some time ago and got sidetracked ordering packing supplies (peanuts, boxes, tape, etc.) from a new vendor and putting in a claim with UPS for one of the big panels I just shipped to a client in Chicago. I was so happy with my packing of the three 16X32X1/4 inch pieces and they managed to stab completely through the box and all the packaging and chip a big piece off one of them. Those wily guys in brown; can't put anything past them! Now off to fire pieces for the new stands I am having done and a replacement for the panel to ship.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Two Muffins and Data Loss

No coffee, no music (though if I were listening to something it would be "Hell No, I Ain't Happy", by the Drive By Truckers) no light-up keyboard. Let's start with the bad. Last night as I went to send images of my work to the publisher for inclusion in the book, and I found I had accidentally deleted my entire library of pictures for the past year. Jessie, family, vacation and Siyeh Studio all moved to the trash and then deleted. So this morning I post from the desktop computer in the office. I wait to hear from a data recovery service I left a message for. My plate is already full as full can be today, and now I have to add a trek to the data recovery place and trying to work from the desktop. Sigh. There is no point talking about work today because it is grim, grim, grim. On to better topics.

This should probably be on Stranded in the South rather than here, but it lightens my mood and improves my morale for the day. Last night lying in bed, in those boneless few seconds right before sleep carried me away, my husband said, " So there are two muffins in an oven. The first muffin says, "Hey, it's getting warm in here." The second muffin says, "Holy shit, a talking muffin!" " I like to fell out of bed laughing (this is a southern phrase I am trying out since I live in the south. It's right up there with 'fixin' to'--another southernism I am working into my vocabulary). I told Dave that that was one of the funniest things I had ever heard. At which point he told me that many people don't really find this joke funny. I was frankly amazed.

Admittedly Dave told the joke when I was the most wide-open and receptive. In that seconds-before-sleep time I had already let go of the day's thoughts and not yet begun to dream. I was poised. When he told the joke, because my brain wasn't cluttered with other things, I immediately transformed it into a rich, complex parody of the human condition: We all go along cocooned in our own personal realities and belief systems and are startled when faced with other people's realities which aren't our own. It wasn't just funny, it was hysterically funny to me.

It's good to have a bright spot today.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Renaissance Woman: Rompre l'os et sucer la substantifique moelle

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "Too Long in the Wasteland" by James McMurtry on iTunes. This morning nicely follows the rhythm laid out in Stranded in the South. As I quickly posted there last night I noticed how long it's been since I had anything non-work oriented to say and I still haven't rhapsodized about the Best Vacation We Have Ever Had. My excuse for slacking is best summed up by the current song on iTunes: "I've Been Working" covered by Bob Seger and the Silver Bullet Band.

I remember writing something a few days ago about organizing my work day so that I am doing one thing per day. For example, one day to prepare the firings for the week and putter in the studio, one day for paperwork, web work, book stuff, one day for shipping, invoicing, etc. Today won't be a day like those days.

Today is about being a Renaissance woman. As Rabelais put it so eloquently, I will "break the bone and suck out the substantive marrow of life".

Today I run to a supplier to pick up a drilled panel, I pack and ship two orders, I juggle work and personal time with delivery of large piece of furniture for the home--including rearranging the office to accommodate it. I prepare and fuse this week's orders. I write to the galleries whose orders have been delayed with apologies. I mix more personal STUFF in the day by going to the drugstore and buying a whole bunch of STUFF to use up the rest of last year's medical Flex money before we lose it forever. I write the intro for the book, do a final review of the gallery shots, choose and send pics of my own work for inclusion. I email invoices, and I call a landscaper friend to schedule her crew for a little yard clean-up and help with spring planting and a pond installation...

Bill will sneer, but I have GOT to organize this mess into a schedule or I don't stand a chance in a very warm place of getting it all done! And now I am already 20 minutes late for work. Guess I'll skip the teeth and hair brushing today.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Blogging: Sharing or Marketing?

Coffee in the Los Angeles skyline mug in honor of Dr. Bill who helped me thrash out a business expansion question this morning, "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" by the Allman Brothers on iTunes. Thanks to Guitar Hero 2 I own my first Allman brothers album. Next thing you know I'll be listening to Creedence Clearwater Revival...

Yesterday followed the seven previous days into a jam-packed, hi-adrenaline frenzy that went until 5:15 when the last shipment went out. ("Whipping Post", also by the Allman Brothers, is now on iTunes. How appropriate!) Today will be a little more calm, and I hope less packed, but there will still be no sky-chair time.

Far more interesting than my wacky schedule today is the topic of blogging. Yesterday I spent a bit of time over lunch reading the blog of someone else in my industry. This person is a business owner and writes about glass from that perspective. My reaction to the blog was not positive, which surprised me because I was looking forward to reading it. I felt that its tone was distastefully petty and whiny--not at all the way I wanted to think about either the writer or the company. And yet I am pretty free with my own whining here, so why did it bother me on the other blog?

After a night of stewing I think I understand what my problem is: The blog in question is prominently linked to the company as much--if not more than--to the person who writes it. And there is a BIG difference between a personal blog and a company blog.

Blogging today encompasses everything from virtually sharing one's life, feelings and experiences through the web to producing free, frequent, marketing materials for industry. Lots of businesses (including universities) have people officially designated to write blogs for them. These blogs are intended to more fully communicate to the outside world the spirit of the institution and the daily experience of being there. These blogs are marketing tools. The subjects in them are no less real, but I don't expect business blogs to be written in the same style as personal blogs are. Some of the differences I take for granted include stressing the positive and rising above petty back-stabbing--even in response to another's attack--in business blogs. I don't expect to find squabbles and dirty laundry aired in them, and it makes me uncomfortable when I do.

So what about Glass Incarnate? It's a personal blog. Yes, it's about my daily, personal experiences as someone who owns a glass business, but it isn't a marketing tool for Siyeh Studio: I do link to there from here so readers can find out more about my work, but I don't link to here from my Siyeh Studio website. This blog isn't intended for my clients or suppliers. It's about me, not about my business. What's written here is not politically correct enough for a company website. There are days I need to reach out through the net with a virtual scream, but I would find it completely unprofessional to do so in a venue linked to and promoted by my business.

And there are two more good reasons an institution's blog needs to be squeaky clean: Too many people forget just how public email, group bulletin boards, discussion groups and blogs are. They also ignore how much more the written word is subject to misinterpretation than is the spoken word due to the loss of the additional information carried in tone of voice and body language. Phones introduced new challenges into communication that were exacerbated by email and text messaging. Now with the public longevity of blogs and the like... It's too easy to bitch and moan when the high road would indicate saying something nice or keeping one's mouth shut. Writing something negative is an easy, ubiquitous mistake for an individual, but it is really inexcusable for a company.

Now at the end of this post I find myself as guilty as the writer of the other one: I may cloak my criticism in the lofty justification of differentiation, but right now I am just as culpable of publicly criticizing someone in a written venue instead of just keeping my pen shut.

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Worst is Over

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Song For a Deckhand's Daughter" by James McMurtry on iTunes. I love the unintentional symmetry (JmcM lives in Austin.) The last seven days were the longest, hardest, most constantly stress- and adrenaline-filled of any that I can remember. Ever. But I am now caught up.

I sent the final copy edits of the book through the ether to my copy editor who incorporated my changes into her version and handed the final (final! final! final!) off to the proof reader. I ship four gallery orders today and one tomorrow when the last piece comes back from being drilled. I crate and ship (if I get paid) a client's order today and ship an order to another artist who incorporates my glass into his metal work. Finally I overnight the last two projects to the publisher in final form for the beauty shots. Yesterday I met with my accountant and got all the business financial papers done and accounts (personal and business) balanced for the first time in almost a year. Yep. Another year where I made so little that we get a refund. The bad news / good news scenario.

Today I would love to do nothing more than go back to bed and sleep for a couple of hours. Then I would get up, pull on something comfy and pad downstairs to the sky chair on the front porch where I would curl up and read a trashy book or two until it was time to go get Jessie from school. It's spring here in Atlanta, and it's supposed to be 74 degrees today. The yellow dogwood is blooming in my front yard. The Japanese magnolias show shy flowers peeking around bare branches, and the star magnolias wave their blowsy blossoms in the light breeze like bloomers at a sailor. It is the best time of year in the south. In another week or so the weeping cherries will be in full show and my heart will almost burst from the beauty.

Now back to earth. I can neither go back to bed nor take the day off, but if I get my firing schedule for the week done, apologetic letters out to everyone for the late shipments, orders shipped and tracking numbers sent, and pieces delivered to be drilled, I *might* be able to squeeze in an hour (two?) in the sky chair late this afternoon. And it doesn't get better than that!

Friday, March 09, 2007

I Did Friday Night On Thursday

No coffee, no music. Groan. Too much cutting loose and celebrating last night. Carol will be here in the next hour for a full day in the studio and I feel... awful. Note to self: Weight Watcher's decreases one's tolerance to spirits. One of Mike's concoctions on an empty stomach is not a good idea. Two... 'nough said. It's gonna be a bumpy ride today.

I wasn't planning to fire this weekend, but editing the book really put me behind and I lost two full days of kiln time that I now need to make up. Orders that should have shipped today will ship Monday--along with a couple of orders that should have shipped 2/24. Ack, ack ack!

And that's enough to post. Scintillating is beyond me today. Heck, coping may be beyond me. And I have this little niggling feeling that I am forgetting something important that I have to do today, Or Else. It would probably help if I could remember what the Or Else is. Ah well, back to sleep till Carol gets here.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Another Contest!

No coffee yet, "Woods" by George Winston on iTunes. It seems hardly right to have another contest when Andrea still has not collected her prize from the last one, but my brain is fried and I have a deadline of TODAY. So here's the challenge: Each of the projects in the book has one or more tips associated with it. The tips are going into a sidebar on the project page. I just used the heading "Tips" for my sidebar, but the publisher wants something jazzier. They suggested "Hot Tips". Cindy Jenkins' book on glass bead making (same publisher) also uses the term "hot tips", as does Gil Reynolds in his video on kiln forming. I think not. Warm Tips (for "warm" or kiln-formed glass) is already used by Brad Walker on (not going there, no way, no how). So I need a name that is a good soundbite for the project sidebar tips. Winner gets... oh, something good before Mother's Day. I need it NOW so get thinking.

It's O'Dark Thirty and I am up working on the book, again. Weren't these days supposed to be over? (Remember done, done, done!?). Editing is taking longer than I thought it would, again, and I have bumped fusing and shipping back yet another day. I am now past due on the ship dates for five orders with two more due to go out next week.

It's also time to start preparing for the ACRE show in Vegas the first of May--hotel room, airline tickets, shipping plan and shipping cartons. Time is compressing again and I go blithely on committing to more and more projects and deadlines. I think it's congenital.

I close with the artist photo I got from the photographer yesterday for the book jacket. Clearly my little I-don't-like-any-of-the-portraits meltdown yesterday was undeserved. I love professional airbrushing.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Lithium, Anyone?

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "Losing My Religion" by R.E.M. on iTunes. I am losing any vestiges of objectivity I might have had. In this one shining moment of clarity I truly believe they are not out to get me; I am just paranoid. I don't even have any excuse or reason for feeling like this. The answer is probably lithium, but I'm not going to go there.

So far in the past 12 hours I have had little breakdowns about the edits by the senior editor to the book, the title given to book (without even running it by me), the portraits of me I had taken by a photographer for the book jacket, and my booth placement at the ACRE show. The copy editor had to hold my hand and pass Kleenex through the phone (metaphorically, of course) to get me through my upset over the edits; she and my husband both reassured me that the title is perfect (The Beginner's Guide to Kiln-formed Glass); I think I look like Ann Richards in two of the portraits--it's the neck darling--and fat in the rest, Dave thinks they are all beautiful; and I was sure the ACRE people had moved me yet further down my row since the BMAC and Jeff was no longer next to me, and it turns out we are exactly where we were.

Now at halfway through the first cup of coffee, lucidity and clarity no longer optional for the day, I take a deep breath and prepare to read the rest of the book with an OPEN MIND. Not so open that everything inside leaks out, but an open mind and some semblance of balance will go a long way to keeping me out of a straight jacket today. My greatest regret is that my husband was in an incredibly relaxed, happy mood this morning and my little neuroses just shredded it.

Breathe. (Make a little) "Birdhouse In Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants is on iTunes as I close his post. I choose to take it as an omen.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

How Did My Inbox Get So Full?

Coffee was a Jupiter extra large with an extra shot of espresso, but it is long gone. No music. From feeling relaxed and laid back, I am back to stressed and rushed in a day. How did that happen? I started the morning by updating my to do list and I was shocked (and appalled) at its length and timeline. I need a clone. And I am supposed to be slowing down a bit this year!

Though I sad I am done with the book that was really wishful thinking as I still have to read the final edits from the senior editor by tomorrow... and I haven't even started yet. I am dragging my feet as already the notes from the copy editor on the changes that were made have my back up. *sigh* This afternoon I really have to grit my teeth and read the whole book again.

The in-the-studio work needs to start back up today too. I have an order scheduled to ship today, and I need to fuse a load in preparation for the three orders I have scheduled to go out this week. I had better get making! And speaking of orders, yesterday at the end of the day I got my first order from the Museum of Fine Art in Boston (thankfully not due till mid-April). I Talked to their buyer at the BMAC a couple of weeks ago and gave her a recommended piece list. She was in a rush so she took it to review and finally got back to me yesterday. I love museum shops! The Art Institute in Chicago is going great guns with my work, I continue my work for the Jewish Museum of New York and am now designing for them too, and now the MFAB!

Besides the above tasks, somehow I need to fold in creating a photography area so I can shoot all my work as soon as I make it. I need a picture of every size piece in every series and color for an online catalog--both for my website and for I have an intern starting the first of May for two months. I wish she were starting now so I could assign photography and organization to her. But I need to have the catalogs and pictures done before May.

Marketing also owns a piece of my soul in terms of where I need to put my immediate efforts. The website and my own website need at least a couple of dedicated weeks of design work asap. But asap after the book goes to finishing the financial papers for last year for the accountant so she can file the business taxes next week.

Maybe it's time to try dedicated days for activities. I need two firing prep days per week to prepare for 5-10 firings. I could do one day for studio organization (unpacking glass, setting up the vitrigraph kiln, setting up the photography area, cleaning the shipping area and putting away the new boxes, cleaning the garage--I mean 'studio annex', etc.). One day would do for webpages. And one floating day could be for paperwork or whatever needs it. I think I'll give this schedule a shot next week.

Monday, March 05, 2007

done, Done, DONE!

Coffee in the Atlanta skyline mug, "Elephant Love Medley" from the Moulin Rouge soundtrack on iTunes. D'ja miss me? I spent last week on a boat, uh, 'ship', floaty thingie in the Caribbean. Details coming up on Stranded in the South. Now I am back in the studio, Rested and Relaxed with the worst behind me. The book is all over but the shouting, the BMAC is done, and I live!

The Saturday we left for vacation I was still frantically copy editing at the Tampa airport while waiting for the bus to take us to the ship. Then I was copy editing on the bus. Then I was copy editing on the ship and getting the wireless internet connection set-up so I could send my edits. Then I was... done. It was a strange, unsettling experience to go from months of full throttle to a dead stop. But I got over it--the little rum drinks they kept bringing around helped. Oh yes, and I can continue to soak up the sun as I do not have basal cell carcinoma! My growth was benign.

Tomorrow I will get the final version of the manuscript which has now been edited by the senior editor. I get to review it, but I have already been warned that I do not get to make any changes to what she has written unless she has changed the sense of the content so that it is wrong. Apparently her word is law, and the way she wants it to read goes. Whatever. I am so done with this project! This afternoon a photographer is doing my portrait for the book jacket, and I still have a couple of odds and sods to send the art department before they begin the assembly of all the materials into the final product, but, did I say done?, it's done, done, done!!!

This week it's time to wrap up the taxes. But I do not dread this task. No, this week and all the weeks stretching ahead are not over-stuffed. I have FINALLY come out On The Other Side and am settling nicely back into the work of a studio glass artist. Got some shows to plan, new work to design and price, web pages and start-up to do, orders to fill from the BMAC, a mailing to put out to drum up more orders--just the regular day-to-day--and I couldn't be happier! I am also finally looking forward to the book coming out, and I FINALLY feel it will be a good one that I am proud to have my name on. Of course that is before I see what the senior editor has done to it.

Now off to the regular Monday ikebana, followed by catching up on a week's communications and then to be shot (with a camera).