Coffee was long ago, "River" by Mary Chapin Carpenter on the iPod. I am in the studio. Pain au chocolat from Trader Joe's for a family breakfast then we acquired two Christmas trees--one cut for the living room and one live Virginia pine for J's room now and the backyard in January, a wreath that we'll decorate with pine cones, nandina berries, acorns and other findings from the yard, and the shelving I need for the show in Chicago next week. It was a great morning.
I wait for the kilns to cool so I can load them for the day. The last fuse load I think, even though Bertha is already loaded with molds for a slump. That'll give me tomorrow to finish any edges that need it and clean the pieces from the fuse. Later this afternoon we'll put up the outdoor Christmas lights and garland and do the wreath. Tomorrow we'll decorate the tree--after the branches have fallen. It was interesting explaining to Mom why we would wait to decorate the tree. Dad always cut our trees and we brought them home from the forest (western Montana, remember?) so the limbs were never bound up for days on end necessitating time for them to relax and fall naturally again. Now my parents have an artificial tree and, again, no need to let the limbs fall.
I am as ready for this show as I can be, and the price--while high--has been acceptable. When I finish this post I'll count up my pieces to see what I actually have for the show. As usual, I made a plan weeks ago, I followed it, and I have no idea (right now) what it was.
For the curious out there, I met the rep for a company that provides corporate gift ideas to corporations. They initially contacted me to see if I would be interested in doing 100-150 shallow round dishes (7-1/2" round) in some color for a client here in Georgia by mid-January. I sent samples, and when they were presented to the client, she loved them. She loved them enough that she asked if I could do a bigger piece instead, say, the long rectangular platters (15 X 7). I said "Sure!" Then (in yet another phone call--all of them taking place between 3:00 and 4:00 pm Friday; the end of the business day and week for my suppliers) she asked if, instead of the 100 odd for mid-January, could I do 400 for the end of January for another event. I said (after a bit of quick exhaustion-hazed math), "Sure!" thinking I would be able to get another big kiln quickly. I compounded my absurd optimism by calling back a couple of minutes later and offering the possibility of doing BOTH the 100 for mid-January and the 400 for the end of January. Now keep in mind these are the same style (though not color) pieces I do for the winter gift catalog for Art Institute in Chicago. I have more than a little experience in whumping them out (and, no, Dee, no ground edges!).
After I got off the phone with her I did a quick pass of the manufacturers of the kilns I have been eyeing to supplement Bertha (I am going to name the new girl Bettina--Betty for short). I wasn't able to get a final answer from anyone at the end of the second Friday after Thanksgiving crouching before the impending December madness, though the initial response was 6-8 weeks as they all need to be custom built. But I am not worried. If I *had* to do it with just Bertha and a prayer, I could. I'd like to kill myself doing it, but I could. And the new kiln would arrive in time enough to provide some help.
In the meantime, I am talking to people on Monday about getting me a new kiln soonest. I'm talking to them from the road to Chicago. At Siyeh Studio the natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. So what do we do? Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well. How? I don't know. It's a mystery.