Monday, April 30, 2007

Viva Las Vegas!

Second post of the day, but couldn't resist. Forgot to mention earlier that the night before I got on the road I managed to get a Flickr page done for all the new pieces on stands. They're not on my website because I can't figure out how to make a new page using the heinous EZNettools software interface (why the hell can't I just ftp pages there like I can to every other [civilized] hosting company?). I will, however, put a link to them up on my homepage prochainement. That means soon. My good intention to speak nothing but English to Sophie has thus far fallen by the wayside and I find myself thinking more and more--and blogging a bit--in French. That will have to stop.

Now off to read through my book before heading to the Convention Center to unload and begin set-up.

I Been From Tuscon to Tucumcarie...

Coffee in a little white styrofoam cup, "Willin' " by Lowell T. George, covered by Steve Earle, on iTunes. No random choice that--drove through Tucumcarie yesterday and Dave emailed me the song to listen to this morning (he had just ripped the cd). Lyrics here for those unfamiliar with the appropriateness of the song, and a snippet of song on top of the "Songs iLike" part of the iLike sidebar on the right. My contribution to the iTunes library for the trip was "Amarillo By Morning" by George Strait. It wasn't morning, but it was Amarillo yesterday.

Gallup, New Mexico. It's been a journey. Didn't get out the door till 3:30 pm on Saturday. No typo there: PM. And still drove 500 miles. Took Dave helping load the van and utzing me out the door (in a loving, caring way, of course) to get out that early. Stayed in some motel in Arkansas (I think) with cardboard walls and avid tv viewers. Slept little. Woke terse.

The highlight of Day 1 was finding myself on a major highway not in the gps. It kept telling me to turn and I finally had to get off to buy a road atlas--only to find I HAD packed the road atlas as soon as I got back in the car. Oh well. Now Sophie and I can each look at one as I drive. In spite of the late start and going in circles for the dingy gps a couple of times, we did 500 miles.

Day 2. After little sleep, hit the road at 6:00 am. Drove over 1100 miles to Gallup. It was a pretty easy drive with only one half-hour patch of 10 mph due to road construction. Ate at Denny's and stayed at La Quinta. Didn't turn on the AC so the room got a bit warm, but slept pretty soundly. Sophie wondered if we would hear a train in the middle of the night as one of the main east-west US tracks parallels I-40 and is right in front of our motel and sure enough at 2:30 I woke to the whistle at 2:30. But that was okay; sitting bolt upright at 5:27 because I remembered I forgot to lock the car the night before was a bit more of a shock. Threw on clothes, ran down the elevator (an oxymoron--it was slow as dirt) and checked it. It's fine and now locked.

It's now 6:09 am and past time we were on the road. No time to re-read and edit. Post and run day.

Vegas here we come (you can guess tomorrow's song, now I just need to download it...)

Friday, April 27, 2007

Lasers Et My Book!

Coffee in the San Francisco mug, "In Without Knockin' " by Mission Mountain Wood Band on iTunes. The life of the author continues! This morning at 7:30 UPS delivered the black and white laser prints of my book. Now I have a week to review them for the penultimate edit (the ultimate edit comes with the color lasers). First thing I noticed is that the dedication is missing--gonna have to fix that. And I have to send in the artist statement now that it has been winnowed down to 200 words (thank you Bryon!). This edit is for corrections of errors only, but I am going to beg for a photo to be swapped out: There are three pictures of my work in the introduction, and not one of them is a box. I understood a box would be included and since that's the award-winning work (and my best), it would be nice to have it in.

But the book will have to wait. Today two gallery orders ship, one gets hand-delivered, everything gets photographed in the new photo area, and I send pictures to the Milwaukee Museum of Art so they can order early next week. They have an impressionism exhibit this summer and would like to have my work in time for it. I also need to drill the hard walls for my booth and begin the packing process. Oh yes, and I have to collect my new intern (who is also my god daughter Sophie) from the airport this afternoon. She is arriving from Paris and the first thing we are going to do to get ready for the Vegas show is get pedicures. Yum. Great way to end a week and begin a journey.

Now I need to get showered and dressed so I am ready when Dee gets here with her stuff. She is another local artist doing ACRE. We were going to share shipping to the show, but since I am driving I am just going to carry it all in the van. She's a jeweler so she doesn't need much room.

Next post: On the Road!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

And I'm Out the Door Again

Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug (abandoned forlornly somewhere upstairs as I ran around the house getting ready like a madwoman this morning). "Wednesday Morning, 3 AM" by Simon and Garfunkel on iTunes. It was actually Thursday morning 3 Am when I woke to the pitter patter of little feet headed our way down the hall. Someone had a bad dream. Then it was Thursday morning 5:07 Am when I finally gave up trying to sleep sandwiched between two restless bodies and put her, snoring gently, back in her own bed. The following 2.5 hours of sleep were crucial to the success of my day.

Now I type furiously before heading out the door... again. I spent all day yesterday in the car driving hither and yon (hence the lack of post) and today is shaping up to be almost as bad. On the plus side, I have hard walls and new lower shelves for my pedestals. I have enough crossbars to support the walls, the lights and the hanging panels. I got pvc pipe and potting soil, and took 1/2 a personal day to schlep J to a photo shoot for her new modeling gig. Hah. I am the mother of the Talent.

Personal days. Most people who work in the corporate world take them for granted. Well I am in the corporate world (my studio is incorporated) and I think they are a pain in the ass. All a personal day means is that I have to work extra some other time to make up for it.

Find a happy place, find a happy place, find a happy place... oh yeah! Looks like I am going to pick up another museum store--Milwaukee Museum of Art. that makes three major city art museums carrying my work. Sure, I'm not in their permanent collections (ROFLOL at the thought), but it's a start. Just makes it that much more imperative to get the work photographed and in a catalog. Pics tomorrow. The rework of the Trout series is stunning, the new stands are too.

Now to relate a tale of woe. I posted the other day about screwing up the firing schedule and not doing the pieces I needed for the new stands. Well, I did worse. I have two gallery orders going out tomorrow and when I inventoried the pieces the other night to make sure I had them all, I discovered that I had made all the pieces from BOTH galleries' orders from the 2006 BMAC, not the 2007 BMAC.... I had all the wrong work. Was in the studio till 11:30 the night before last frantically trying to clean up after that one. But I think I caught everything and made all the pieces I need. Good thing I had a day of slack in the schedule because now I will be firing right up until I leave--there'll be 150 degree pieces being loaded into the car Saturday morning for sure.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pacifica in Nouveau

Here's the first pass at a pic with the new photo set-up. I couldn't wait.

How Long Have I Been Doing Shows?

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "Choctaw Hayride" by Alison Krauss and Union Station on iTunes. If you don't know the song, it's a good one. Lightning-fast pace for the morning. Fitting. So how long have I been doing shows? It's a rhetorical question, but the answer is "too long to be making blunders like this one". What did I do? Well yesterday afternoon--four and a half days before I leave for Vegas--I discovered that the list of pieces I have been making for the show does not include pieces for the new metal stands that I unpacked yesterday. Which is to say I was 11 large pieces short yesterday afternoon with pretty full firing schedule between then and Saturday. As Bugs would say, "What a maroon!".

I re-did the list for the pieces in stands and got the load in the kiln by 10:30 last night. Now I look forward to three more late nights in the studio because it takes 20-22 hours for a firing in Big Bertha so today's load won't go in till late, nor tomorrow's. Thursday is the final slump load and that takes less time so I should be able to get everything out and shipped Friday.

In the interests of seeing what else I might have screwed up, after I finish posting I am going to go down and inventory all the pieces I have done the past couple of weeks. I need to make sure I have everything I am supposed to ship for two gallery orders this week. I also have a local consignment delivery (Sabra) to do today, and a door closing and a door opening: Becky Sizemore has closed Creative Spirit in Decatur for good, and my work has been picked up by Alexia, a gallery a couple of doors down. So I pick up from one and deliver to the other. Though there isn't much to pick up from Becky's--she had a sale last week and much of my work went. Alexia may have to wait till I get back from Vegas.

I was going to finish today with a pic of one of the new stand pieces--a 12X14 Pacifica rectangular piece in a Nouveau stand. If I had been able to, you would have noticed the clean lines and lack of weld on the front. However, since I am still DITZING around with my photography set-up, you won't see any pics till tomorrow... if I'm lucky.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Monday, Monday

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Don't Cross the River" by America on iTunes. The morning started with a steaming mug of coffee delivered to the side of the bed by elves (well, by Dave anyway). I awoke to the gentle tickle of roasted beans wafting seductively into my nostrils. I managed to drag myself into a semi-sitting position--just enough so that gravity would work its magic on the coffee in my mouth and direct it to the next step on its journey--and consumed half of the elixir over the course of several minutes before opening my eyes. The first thing said eyes blearily focused on was the inscription on the inside of the Austin mug, and Starbuck's made a mistake: They put "The Capitol of the Lone Star State", but what it should read is "Live Music Capitol of the World". Now that we have that straight...

It's Monday, gentle folk. The final countdown to Vegas has begun and I become aware of the enormity of the undertaking I face. What was I thinking? 1972 miles. 1972 miles. Someone must have put something in my kool-aid for me to contemplate driving, and I'm beginning to think they also spiked my coffee when I decided to do this show at all. Oy. I am still futzing around trying to figure out what to take (I reworked two older Morceaux de Verre series on Saturday and am thinking of making more of both of them to have a pedestal each). Why can't I just do glass chocolates? Oh what freedom there must be in only needing one piece--as opposed to four--and being able to quick photograph it and slap it up.

Photography. Another hot topic. There are now SEVERAL galleries waiting for my mythical catalog. It was easier to write a book than it has been to put together a catalog. At least I have the seamless white background to take pictures on now. And the halogen lamps Dave found for me are assembled. Now to black out the back room window, figure out how to do the white balance on the camera (there is a great article in the April Crafts Report on how to take digital photos of your work), and get photoing.

(time passes...)

So I spent the last hour re-reading my camera manual and re-doing my price list. Again. My glass costs went up 5% this year and shipping went up too so I finally settled on upping everything 7%. Oy! It's hard enough figuring out how to price your work the first time around. The constant tweaking and updating to stay current with the market AND on top of escalating costs is both time-consuming and annoying.

Fortunately I also spent a bit of time this morning grumbling to Bill Elliott of Elliott Metal Works about the necessity of producing a catalog and he offered up that they do theirs on a cd... What a brilliant idea! No trees will be killed to make the gi-normous catalog of all my current work and updating it will be a snap! He even told me the name of the software package he uses to put it together (Vallen Jpegger). I looked for a Mac catalog building application and didn't find one, but I also stumbled upon Vevo! Catalog Builder and am giving it a spin right now.

Well, I was giving it a spin but I just looked at the clock and it is almost 1:45 pm! The day is flying and I have to take all my panels in to get them drilled so I will have them back by Friday. Ta ta!

Friday, April 20, 2007

Vegas Bound (Which is Not To Say Bound in Vegas)

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "So Long, So Wrong" by Alison Krauss & Union Station on iTunes. Not an accidental song choice this morning there--I decided I wanted to start the morning there. Well, start the morning is a bit of a stretch as I just got back from reading "Edward Fudwupper Fibbed Big" by Berkeley Breathed to J's pre-K class. Tough audience. I finished the story, left the book and fled.

Preparation for Vegas continues. I took the car in for an oil change and complete go-over this morning. It isn't even a year old yet, but 4,000 miles (more or less) over mountains and fully loaded in a week (more or less) is nothing to sneeze at.

The hardwall saga continues... When I picked up the one 3 mm panel of pvc yesterday I was amazed at how big it is. I had the middle row of seats in the back of the minivan (when will Honda make ALL the seats fold into the floor like Dodge and Chrysler?!?) so I couldn't just slide it in, but now I am wondering if 10 sheets will fit. And if they do, the floor is not level; it's all bumpy with latches for seats, rises and dips. Maybe I should build a platform for the rest of the stuff to sit on instead of on the hard walls. Or maybe a sheet of plywood underneath the panels is enough support for them. Or maybe I should consider cutting down the panels from 4X8 to either 2X8 or 4X4. Cut down they would be easier to pack, move, store and hang. But would the extra seams detract significantly form the walls?

The main reason for even doing hard walls is how good the hanging panels look against them as compared to how they look hanging in front of curtains. With the hard, flat walls, the light reflects better and makes them really sparkle. It isn't a night and day difference, but it is noticeable. The hard walls also look cleaner and make me look more professional. But they are heavier and more of a pain to store. What to do, what to do!

Right now what to do is get down and get another load in the kiln. The new stands from Elliott Metal arrive today and I have to meet the driver off I-85 to get them (free shipping with a little effort beats paying UPS any day!). The day is filling up. Monday I will be Live From Joe's where I will be working on my new catalog and artist cards.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Juggling Many Hats

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "Don't Cross the River" by America on iTunes. I succumb yet again to the golden age of rock 'n' roll (16). Although in this case the song was originally released in '73 and I was only 12... so I was precocious. Notice that this isn't my first cup of coffee today. I have already taken J to school, taken the dogs to the groomer, picked up the drycleaning, weighed in at Weight Watchers, ordered a sheet of extruded pvc that I will pick up this afternoon, and arranged pick-up of my new stands for tomorrow afternoon. Now if I can get a quick couple of kiln loads in I will be caught up!

Yesterday I did a mock booth set-up in the driveway and I am definitely taking the plunge and buying the hard walls. Instead of worrying about an exact fit I am planning to overlap the smaller pieces on each side so that I will never find myself in a situation where my space is too small to set-up my booth. Now all I have to figure out is if I can get away with 3 mm sheet pvc or if I need the 6 mm. The 6 mm is twice as heavy and almost twice as expensive so it would be nice to be able to get by with the 3 mm. But it is very floppy sloppy. However the 3 mm will make a great photographic background so I am buying a sheet today and drilling it to test for the walls before setting it up for photography. If it works, I go with 3 mm for the walls. If it doesn't, I get the 6 mm. It's a win-win. And I am buying another sheet of the 6 mm and having it cut up to be the new lower shelves on my pedestals. Now I just need to get more cross bars for bracing the middle of the walls...

Amazon finally got their act together and I am now verified as the author of A Beginner's Guide to Kiln-Formed Glass. I have begun my first post for it, but it is harder to write than I thought it would be. Will work on it more later. After all, it's still 6 months and 13 days till the book comes out.

Now off to kiln!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Author verification

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "Razor Face" by Elton John on iTunes. Need I say it? iTunes hit again. I am full of wroth, and the object of my ire? (Yes, Bill, haven't mentioned the book-with-the-ever-plummeting-sales-ranking in, oh, at least a day. Time to resurrect it.)

I was very excited to find my book on Amazon even though it isn't due out till November. I was even more excited to discover I could create an author page and start a blog there. Sensibly, you have to be verified as the actual author of a book, you can't just link to a book and start posting away. I requested verification and provided all the necessary info for Amazon to contact my editor/publisher. I got back an automatic email:

"We have received your verification request for AmazonConnect. We will e-mail your selected verifier for confirmation of the following title:
Book Title: "A Beginner's Guide to Kiln-Formed Glass: * Fused * Slumped * Cast" "

Then I waited. No verification. I called the publisher and they haven't received anything. I wrote to Amazon to find out how I could have the email resent. I got back an automatic response from them thanking me for my interest in Amazon connect and telling me someone would get back to me in 7-10 BUSINESS DAYS.

I fumed, I puttered, I figured it out on my own and had the email resent to three different people--one of them me so I could see if the mail was getting through. Nothing. Zip, zilch, nada. So I wrote them again this morning and I am so annoyed that it is now an OPEN letter to Amazon connect:

"Dear Amazon Connect,
WHEN DOES THIS ACTUALLY HAPPEN??? I have requested the author verification be sent FOUR times to THREE different people to make sure it wasn't a mail failure. So far NO ONE but me has received email from you! This is a VERY poor service--and the worst customer service I have ever seen from Amazon. When I submitted a request for help last week I got an automatic reply that someone would get back to me in 7-10 BUSINESS DAYS! That is an extremely poor level of service. Why are you expanding into this space if you don't have the resources to support it? Or doesn't it matter because we're just the authors, not the paying customers? I am also a paying customer at Amazon--and a very good one--and I cannot tell you how soured on Amazon I am by the experience of trying to get my book verified by you!

I got back:
"Thank you for your interest in Amazon Connect. Due to the high volume of emails we are receiving, you can expect a response to your email within 7-10 business days.


Your Friends at Amazon Connect"

With friends like that...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


Coffee was hours ago, but there is still music. Currently it's "Brilliant Disguise" by Bruce Springsteen. Today, as always, iTunes nails the topic. One of the big topics in the Crafts Report this month (May 2007 issue) is retirement for artists. Can we? Do we? How? In the normal course of things we artists might make enough to get by. But to make enough to actively save for retirement? How does *anyone* do that any more? I am in my mid-forties and I have a couple of piddling retirement accounts from past careers in my journey to now--not nearly enough to cover my golden-year expenses for even a year (assuming I could begin to estimate what my golden-year expenses will be). Social Security sent me a nice letter again last week telling me that if I keep going as I am I will be entitled to about $700 a month when I am 65. Of course that's making the HUGE assumption that there is any money left in Social Security in 20 years when I turn 65.

But enough about tomorrow. I'll continue to be a grass-ant or an ant-hopper. It's not that I don't toil, I do toil. I toil almost ceaselessly; I just don't worry about tomorrow as I toil. I toil for toiling's sake.

Today I order the hard walls for my display and get the electrical order in to Champion for ACRE. I looked at foam core, Structa board (like foam core but a little more durable--still paper over the foam core though), gator foam (plastic over a foam core) and Sintra or Komatex. The latter two are sheets made from extruded (isn't that a great word?) pvc. There is no "core": They are plastic all the way through. You pay for the solidity in the weight: Structa board weighs 5.2 lbs per 4' X 8' sheet. Sintra and Komatex weigh 28 lbs per 4' X 8' sheet. I need nine sheets of whatever I get. That's a big weight difference. But I decided to go with the sheet pvc because it is the most durable--scratches barely show and dirt can be washed off and I can stack everything else in the van on top of it without damaging it. It costs 2.5 times as much as Structa board does right now*, but I should never need to replace it. I am getting around the variable size of exhibitor spaces by overlapping one sheet on each side. I don't think it will diminish the look of the booth and it will provide me with maximum flexibility. I'll drill holes in the top and middle of each sheet and cable tie the sheets to my pipe and drape system.

(*If anyone out there is thinking of getting Structa board, now is the time. My distributor is selling it for cost to get it out into the market. That puts it about $6 a sheet more than foam core and $38 a sheet *less* than gater foam.)

UPS *finally* authorized my claim for the panel they broke last month--just in time for me to ship out the replacement today!

The kilns are on a continual firing cycle from now till ACRE. Today is a Morceaux de Verre fuse in Big Bertha and a Cloudstone melt in the as-yet-unnamed middle kiln and there is supposed to be a box in the little kiln. I even have someone who is interested in carrying the boxes at the ridiculously high price I have to ask for them and I am still dragging my feet. I say I love doing boxes--and I do--but it's hard to get one in.

And what would a day be without orders to get in for supplies, a catalog to design, a website to update (let's all have a good laugh about that one), an artist bio to finish, and product cards to create to send to galleries who carry my work. How will I get it all done? It's not a mystery that I won't.

Monday, April 16, 2007

It's a Mystery

Coffee in the Los Angeles skyline mug, "Freeze Tag" by Suzanne Vega on iTunes. Oh what a week! Twelve days and counting til I leave for Vegas. I believe that I am not alone in freaking out about this show. It's a first year show with a purported 800 artists. This cannot go well. It is going to be more of a zoo, more of a madhouse, more innately insane than any other show... and yet, it will all work out. How? I don't know, it's a mystery (and that makes two movies I quote from regularly now).

And speaking of shows and quoting, I got both an email and a postcard from the One of a Kind Show last week. They start with: “This is my biggest show of the year, every year. The people, the culture, the energy of Chicago all come together for a great final show. Can’t wait to do it again next year!” Brenda Griffith, Siyeh Studios. Well, it's only one studio, not multiples, but the rest is true. And it's also true I haven't got my application in for this year's show yet. Very funny that I am being utzed with my own words.

And speaking of utzing... I got a packet of articles to read from my Mom last week (last month, whenever; some time recently enough to still be in the "to do" pile). One of them was from the Ladies Home Journal, June 2006 (how my mother saves magazines and newspapers until she has read them--no matter how out of date they are--is another story. It's a very funny one, but not for here and now). The article was about how we are all moving so fast in life now that we don't even have time to figure out what we want to be doing, much less do it. We surround ourselves with gadgets to make us more efficient so we can move ever faster, and we seek the holy grail of organization as the cure for all our ills. We can no more use a rotary dial phone (and wait the 11 extra seconds it takes for the numbers to be dialed) than we can walk to the store. I didn't have time to read the whole article, but what I read really hit home and when I have a chance to finish it I know it will change my life. (Yes, the irony in that sentence was intentional.)

I have felt for some time that I am over-committed, over-scheduled, and over-extended, and I am over it. My first step to better mental health has been to stop scheduling my weekends. I thought that less would get done if I didn't plan what I would do and be ready to do it, but that hasn't been the case. Now when Saturday comes I get up, sit on the couch, sip coffee and look at the weather. I think what I would like to do and what needs to be done. Then I try to achieve a balance between the two. I have been avoiding putting the word "must" before any weekend activity--we all have enough "musts" in the week, there is no place for them on the weekend.

The result? I fired four kiln loads over the weekend for ACRE, gallery orders and my donations for Jessie's school auction. The house is cleaner (not from lack of dirt but from lack of piles of sh*t everywhere) than it has been in, well, years! Some might say that I have finally gotten settled in from the move from Austin, but I know better. I'm trying to do less and therefore doing more. How? I don't know, it's a mystery.

So today. What's on the schedule for today? Making the final decision on hard walls for ACRE and ordering them (or not). Formatting current images of my work to upload to Application for the One of a Kind Show app. Shipping six panels to Jeff to use in his work for ACRE. Finishing an art nouveau stand design for Elliott Metal to make for me for ACRE. Receivables, Payables and other paperwork. And I need to do two full kiln loads. Wow. How will I get it done? I don't know, it's a ....

Friday, April 13, 2007

Friday Math Day

Coffee in the San Francisco skyline mug, "Hava Nagila" by Me First & the Gimme Gimmies on iTunes (from Me First & the Gimme Gimmies Ruin Jonny's Bar Mitzvah). My brain is so full! I don't know whether to post about glass (well, tradeshow display booths for glass) or countable infinite sets vs. uncountable infinite sets and the Penrose tiling theory. Though I have to say Wikipedia is not nearly as fascinating or clear as Dave in its definitions. When Dave was explaining both last night they actually made sense (He is reading The Road to Reality and I asked him about it Who knew what I was starting!). I could see something in my head for which there are no words in English. It felt like my head was cracking open a bit and there were lines and colors and pictures instead of words. I usually see in words.

(And as a side note I am thinking that's one of the reasons I have always had such a hard time with math: I am a linguist by education and am very grounded in the relationship of the words in a language to thoughts in my head. If I have a word for it, it is real and I can see it. And the word doesn't have to be English. There are things I can express and understand in French that I can't translate into English. But if there is a concept for which there are no words (like the little Greek squiggles used in math) I have a hard time understanding it.) Dave explained Lambda calculus to me one day and though I can't remember anything about it other than it has to do with functions, every time I think about it now I see spirograph patterns in my head.

Created by Anu Garg.

But now I am out of time to post so the comparison of Sintra board, Gator board and Structa board is going to have to wait till Monday. And never fear, glass will happen today (even as the sales ranking for my book plummets *sigh*).

Thursday, April 12, 2007


Coffee in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens travel mug, "Sweet Spot" covered by Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstandt on iTunes. When I sat down to write this morning I thought, "What would be the perfect song title for this morning's post?", and the answer was Sweet Spot. I didn't know if there was a song called Sweet Spot, but I figured there should be and probably was so I went to the iTunes store, and voila! There were many versions, this was the highest ranked and the only one with vocals I previewed.

Today, today, oh today. Some in, some out, but lots, lots, lots to do! I lucked out yesterday and found about 40 more sheets of clear irid glass in the second case from December. Good thing as the 15 I had wouldn't even get me through the first half of the pieces I have scheduled to fire before ACRE.

I am thinking about expanding my product line and offering fountains. I love the fountain project for the book, and I have not seen anyone else offer anything like it (I fuse, cast or slump all the parts but the light and the pump). I have seen plenty of fountains with glass incorporated into them, but this piece is unique. Pricing could be problematic though.

But now, off to Ikebana and then on to interface flor to order the PURPLE carpet. Whoo hoo. (Lots of whoo hoo this week. It's a Good Thing.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fame and Glory

Thank you Daniel, for the Wholesale Matters on-line congrats!

The Evil Sales Ranking...

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, an homage to the publishing industry, "Cloudy This Morning" by George Winston on iTunes, a reflection of the weather. Sales ranking on the book got as high as 33,345 yesterday. Not bad for a book that won't even be out till November (and thanks, in large part I believe, to all of you who went out and pre-ordered!). I am now rolling on the floor laughing at having succumbed to the Amazon Writer's Disease (obsessively checking the sales ranking of one's book). When the book actually comes out I am going to have to put a parental lock on the page so I can't get to it. Otherwise I can just see myself obsessively, compulsively checking the ranking and the reviews all day, every day. Maybe the solution is to quickly start writing ANOTHER book. Maybe fiction this time (more hysterical laughter).

Yesterday I cleaned the studio annex (aka the garage). I have a shipping area again and wide, clean aisles. Good thing as I only have 15 sheets of clear irid from the *95* I had the first of December and so will need to order another case... and put it somewhere to languish unpacked. Unless there is more clear irid in the second box of glass from that shipment (which I will unpack today). I had to order in December even though I really didn't need as much as I ordered so I could bump up my quantity discount. I can't believe I went through 80 sheets of glass in the off-season...

This morning I already ordered the first round of metal stands from Elliott Metal Works--thank you again to everyone who participated in the poll (and Ren, your piece goes out next week!). I am excited to be debuting them at ACRE. Now I just need to decide whether to buy carpet for the booth now or not. I am seriously tempted. I will need it for the BMAC in August--I have rented carpet there for the last time!--why not have it for both? GO for a whole new look to complement the new stands?

And speaking of ACRE, I counted my metal uprights and crossbars yesterday that I will need to hang my lighting and I am several crossbars short. So this morning I have to do a formal (electronic) drawing of my lighting and drapery set-up to figure out how many more crossbars to order. And speaking of drapery... Since I am going to do my own poles I am effectively building a booth within a booth and not using any of the common elements with my neighbors. So theoretically I *could* do foamcore walls. They are cleaner, sleeker looking than the white drapes, and if I were careful I might even be able to re-use the foamcore for one or two more shows. Of course storing the 25 4X8 sheets of foamcore that come in a case would be a pain. They have to be kept flat as they tend to warp. Maybe I could put them in the loft area of the shed we had built last year to hold everything displaced when I appropriated the garage for a studio annex... Oh Dave will LOVE that!

A final note for the day: My father-in-law has knit me a cardigan (which I understand from him is a really, really BIG cardigan. Yummy. I love big sweaters) and he has asked me if I want to make the buttons for it! I am going for dichro glass buttons. Pics posted as soon as they're done.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Happiness" by Alison Krauss on iTunes. Back in the saddle again (again). We changed things up here a bit this week and I am doing all the Sprout to-school-and-back wrangling for awhile. And Dave is back to making coffee. Sometimes I just need a little shake-up to get moving again. I have been stalled in the studio for the past couple of weeks. Some of it has been recovering from writing the book--and what a long process that is turning out to be!--and some of it is probably seasonal.

And speaking of the book... It is available for pre-order on AMAZON! From my conversation with the publisher a couple of weeks ago it is my understanding that the photo used for the cover is just the catalog cover and not the actual cover of the book. I hope that's the case as the current cover has a shot of the birdbath on it and the yellow in it doesn't show up at all against the yellow/tan background... I am going to keep my fingers crossed that this is something that gets updated when the final cover is done. I am also in the process of setting up the author's page (wow, who would have thought?) where I will do the official marketing blog. Good thing I like to blog. And it's nice to have a designated "happy place".

Now back out of the clouds and in to the studio. I still haven't finished unpacking the Bullseye order I got in December and I think I am going to use it up before I ever get it put away. I did my firing schedule for my three upcoming gallery orders and ACRE yesterday and it looks like I have enough glass to do everything with not much left over.

One last note. I am on hold with UPS... again... about the panel they damaged enroute to Chicago. They pierced the box containing three 32 X 16 inch panels with something sharp and it chipped a 1" X 3" piece off the back of one of the panels. I put in a claim for replacement of the panel and asked that the piece be examined on-site--the customer needed the packing for the two intact panels to get them home (he had the entire shipment sent to his business). UPS messed up and had the package picked up. It wasn't packed for carrying because it wasn't supposed to be carried and they broke the damaged panel in half. Okay. I got over that. But then they denied the claim! Without ever calling me to ask how I had originally packed it, they looked at the box, the remaining packaging, the one panel and said "Nope." They completely ignored the hole in the box where they pierced it. The hole that just happened to line up exactly with the chip in the back of the panel. This had better end well...

Monday, April 09, 2007

Gardening or Glass?

Coffee in the go mug--it's a Jupiter Coffee goat's dancing blend with an extra shot of espresso, no music because in a sec I have to get out the door. Today begins with a landscaping trip to get the huge glazed pots for the backyard, then off to Interface Flor to order the carpet for Vegas. I am thinking PURPLE! I can't do the foam tiles because my boots (I wear them for the February show) have stiletto heels and go right through them. I thought about gluing carpet to foam but that's too much work for not enough pay off, and I also thought about buying the carpet already on the thick foam, but I would have to buy two sets (25% more tiles than I actually need and also 25% more cost) because I always have a 10 X 15 booth and they are configured only for 10 X 10 and 10 X 20.

Yesterday I planned the pond (+stream +second pond... poor Dave!) and started picking the antique climbing roses I will plant--all chosen because they do well in the south as well as having all the characteristics I am looking for in color scent, flower shape and size. I want some to go over the fence, some to go up and over the big pergola over the driveway, and one spectacular one to go up the side of J's little house and spill over the roof. I also wrote lists of other plants I want to put in, and all I really want to do today is keep gardening--even though it is only 42 degrees out right now! But today I am back to glass, and the transition is a hard one. At least the kilns are warm...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Just a Quickie...

It's Saturday so the studio is dark today, but I have a quick post nonetheless as a result of yesterday's momentous decision. I canceled my airline tickets to Vegas, canceled the order I placed for the plastic container, and I am now driving out. 1972 miles to Vegas. Each way. Whoo hoo.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pre-Show Anxt

Coffee in the Los Angeles skyline mug, "After All" performed by Cher and Peter Cetera on iTunes--the proof that the music is random because otherwise there is no way I would admit listening to Cher. Although the song that came on just after is much more appropriate to the day: "The Black Gate Opens" by Howard Shore from the Lord of the Rings, Return of the King. My black gate is opening. It's called preparing for ACRE. Yesterday, thanks to Dee Janssen, I found the artist discussion group for the show and gleaned from it that crossbars are not free (I am spoiled by the Rosen shows which provided free, unlimited metal). I also read much about everyone else's shipping dilemmas.

Every show I redo my display to some extent. I start out by saying I am just going to use the same layout and display I did for the last show (unless I have had a configuration change like going from 10 X 15 to 10 X 20 or some such). Then halfway through the process I think I should make some major changes like finally investing in interlocking foam or carpet squares, or renting hardwalls for this particular show, or some other major, expensive thing. Like maybe canceling buying the plastic crate, canceling the airline tickets and just DRIVING 1972 miles to Vegas. See the USA in a... Honda. If the show were later in the year I would drive so I could head up to Montana to visit the parents at the end of it. And I'd take Jessie. Heck, I'd have my Mom meet me there to watch Jessie and help with the show. Or I could get Dave to fly out and we'd all go to California after the show. See how things can spin out? Back to earth.

For the One of a Kind Show last December I invested in my own upright and crossbar system to support my lights. I don't bring them to the BMAC, but I am going to have to bring them to ACRE because of the pay-for-your-crossbar thing. And I revisit the carpet issue. Every year I rent carpet at the BMAC and it costs like sin. I should just bite the bullet and buy it. I have resisted because I didn't want to have to manage a large roll, but the 2' interlocking squares are another matter. I can buy foam squares cheaply at Sam's Club, or carpet squares with foam backing specifically for tradeshows expensively from a tradeshow supplier, or I can get flat (no foam) interlocking carpet squares at Home Depot less expensively. Or I can just use the free, grey carpet provided for ACRE and worry about the other carpet issue for the BMAC this summer saving me shipping costs to Vegas for yet one more thing, and saving the hassle of trying to get it by next week--not to mention the anxt of PICKING THE COLOR. Do I go red? Blue? Black?

Where I go is down to the studio to start firing the pieces I need for the show. Carol (the assistant/apprentice) will be here any minute and we have a Full Day.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

This Is a Whole New Kind of Show

Coffee is brewing (more on that in a minute), "Desperados Under the Eaves" by Warren Zevon on iTunes. I have outsmarted myself with the new coffee maker. In search of better bean brew I succumbed to the Bodum Santos 3000 pictured at right. After months of a love-hate relationship (he is... difficult) I find that I have to make my own coffee every morning (Dave used to do it for me) because it is such a pain to clean, and we now go through coffee like, well, water. Is the alleged superiority of the brew worth the sacrifice of having to brew and wait for my own coffee every morning? Or would I have to make it anyway because Dave is tired of making coffee for me every day?

What does it say about your day that your first obsession upon waking is about a caffeine-bearing substance? And why is every sentence today a question? Bean juice is in the Montreal skyline mug, back to the real world. "Choctaw Hayride" performed by Alison Krauss on iLike. The speed matches my need for the next ten minutes. I have to get the dogs to the vet by 9:15 which means leaving in 10 minutes. Can I say it all in 10? We'll see.

Have to switch pre-show gears completely for ACRE. Usually I can make the pieces I am taking right up till the day I leave. I have been known to pull 200 degree bowls out of the kiln, wrap them in towels, toss them in the van and head out. Not this time. Yesterday I slogged through more freight company quotes and the bottom line for everyone is that I have to be ready to ship by 4/17... That's two full weeks before the show. I was already planning on 4/20 and that was already early. 4/17 is like ta kill me. To borrow from yesterday, I will be humping again today to get it all done. Heck, I still haven't had final confirmation of delivery next week for the crate I ordered the other day. And iTunes really has a sense of humor this morning: "Let It Be" by the Beatles just came on. Maybe that's to be my trick, I'll just let it be what it will be.

PS--I knew the dogs would get to the vet before I got my mammogram!

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Feast or Famine Anyone?

Coffee is brewing, music is the sound of dogs enjoying breakfast. The list today is as long as... a very large cucumber. Did I just attempt humor before coffee? Let that be a lesson to me. My next task for the book is to review the final layout in black and white. This is called the laser print stage and I am tasked to go over everything with a nit comb as this is the stage where typos MUST be caught. Changes must be minimal--adding or subtracting words in running text can seriously mess up the layout--and I have from whenever the package containing the laser proofs arrives on Tuesday May 1 till Thursday night (absolute latest) to get it all done. This amount of time would be perfect if all I had to do was review the laser proofs. Unfortunately, I will be in Las Vegas for the ACRE show setting up on Tuesday May 1, and then doing the show Wednesday and Thursday. What can't be cured must be endured.

Cleaning, organizing and new work areas are the themes of the day. I can't even walk through the garage, uh, studio annex right now. 60 cu ft of Styrofoam peanuts and 250 ft of bubble wrap take up a lot of room and they are splayed higgeldy piggeldy in the former aisles and on top of the work surfaces (in bags, of course). And I can't find ANYTHING. I have lost all three keys to the household drills, the majority of the screwdrivers, and a host of other tools. Mail for the past month can be found in unopened piles throughout the house.

I am really good at focusing on one thing and getting it done. I can even juggle two or three mission critical things. But I suck at the day to day. I am confident I could never have managed a conventional marriage--we would have starved or bickered ourselves to death over my lack of ability to cook, clean and do laundry on a regular basis. I am the person you call on to put out a fire. And I am a good manager--I can spreadsheet with the best of them. But frankly, I need someone to manage my life: Shop for groceries, put food on the table, wash the clothes and hang them back in the closet... oh wait, I have that. Dave does all that. And someone comes and cleans the house every so often. So really all I have to manage are the finances (including the mail) and the putting-away-of-things... oh yes, and my own business. But I should be able to do these things without breaking a sweat!

Anyone else experience the feast or famine cycle? I am either working full out or basking like a sloth recharging the batteries. It's never a measured pace. I envy the measured-pace people. Today, obviously, is a flat-out day as I have let too many little things slip for too many days (weeks) since finishing the book, the BMAC and the immediate post-show orders. It's also hump day so I am going to get humping.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

And the Winner Is...(part deux)

Coffee in the New Orleans skyline mug, "Kentucky Rain" performed by Elvis Presley on iTunes. Performed by Elvis and written by Eddie Rabbitt and Dick Heard. Eddie Rabbitt! Anyone but me remember him?

I posted yesterday's blog entry this morning because yesterday I was yanked away from the computer by an argument as to how to best secure the pole for the bat house while the concrete set. As the argument was in Spanish I didn't have much to add, but I did round up some 2X4's and a hammer and Wendy, my landscaper, ran off to buy big honking nails. The bat house is now up and the back yard comes together. Next, the pond. But the rest of the yard news will definitely be on Stranded in the South as I am Back To Glass today.

The first order of business, picking a winner in the critique-those-stands poll. And the winner is... (I am such a dork: I cut up little pieces of paper, wrote everyone's names on them, mixed them up and then picked one) Ren! She sent a long critique in email and her favorite stand was Ocean. Now, Ren, I need to know your favorite glass colors so I can make the glass for it! Thank you to everyone who participated and gave me valuable feedback!

I am happy that I can post the winner with a light heart as Andrea received her Cloudstone bowl yesterday (from the name-that-series contest), and Bridget received her seder set in time to actually use it this year! I don't know if she will--she may ahve already had other plans for tonight--but at least she has the option (unless the boys in brown broke it...). I have been dying to post pictures of it as it is a one-of-a-kind set and I love the colors (sorry for the crappy photography). Bridget was Dave's Best man at our wedding 12 years ago and we pledged to give our attendants glass made by your truly as the attendant gifts. It's been 12 years and Bridget's is the first to be done. What can I say? I wanted to get them right.

Now if I could just get the photography right. I have to figure out the right background and the right lighting to use to get the most consistent results. As it is now, the color of the glass seems to affect the color of the digital image by warming it up or cooling it down, and I am just not good enough at post-processing to fix it. Could be that my camera isn't good enough. Could be an inherent function of digital photography (which is why both my regular photographer and the photographer for the book use 35 mms and shoot slide film). Could be I am just a moron.

Last news and then off to the studio: I got a check from the gallery in California whose order shipped the first of November. Where they did not do anything when I contacted them, they sat up and took notice when the Rosen Group sent them a letter saying they would not be able to attend the Buyer's Market shows anymore till they were paid up (I was not the only one they were stiffing). One more check mark on the to do list.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Written Monday, Posted Tuesday

Coffee?!? We don't need no stinking coffee! And after all the fuss I made last week about iLike, I'm not even listening to any music. Not much glass work was done today. I was just getting ready to make coffee and sit down to write this morning when my landscaper blew in an whisked me off to look at large Vietnamese glazed pots. She is a bit like a tornado is my landscaper. While we were off potting, her crew was removing all the weeds from the backyard--except around the bamboo because it is ALL shooting right now and it's too easy to step on the shoots and crush them. It's WAY early for everything to be shooting--I heard it's supposed to be in the 30's here for Easter--but global warming is affecting more than just the polar bears and tomorrow it's supposed to be 80.

But enough about the outside. What little I did get done today included getting the captions written for the pictures of my work in the book, finding and purchasing a crate to ship my stuff to ACRE in, and getting the news from UPS that my claim for the piece they broke last week has been DENIED. I am going to pin someone's ears back tomorrow when the supervisor calls me about it. I have no idea how they can claim it wasn't sufficiently packed when the damage was caused by them piercing the box with a long sharp object and chipping one panel with it.