Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Balls (In the Air)

Coffee was a frufti mocha in a paper cup (they should have used a mug as it was not a to-go order), and the music is some sort of Clash meets Hungarian Gypsies doing a Czardas (known to many Americans as Kazatskys where the dancer squats down, crosses his arms across his chest and kicks his legs out one at a time while wearing a big fur hat, a red jacket and a walrus mustache) on cd. (Actually it's "Tribal Connection" by Gogol Bordello). Live from Kavarna, Gogol Bordello on cd... I think I preferred NPR. I hate NPR.

I am posting late as I finally tore myself away from the FASCINATING website creation work I have been immersed in since yesterday afternoon. The current bit entails renaming all the pictures I have of my work with obscure but meaningful names so I can upload them and know what the heck they are in the folder without opening them. E.g., TrMRo2DNo.jpg is a picture of a Morceaux de Verre "Trout" medium round art panel in a "Nouveau" stand (shown above). It's both more and less complicated than it sounds, and thought the renaming task is a bit dull, the rest of my interactions with the Joomla content management system have been decidedly spicy!

It is turning into a week of juggling (how many balls can I keep in the air?). Yesterday at 4:30 I got a call from the corporate gift company that ordered 114 long rectangular platters for their client last month. The platters all arrived unscathed, on time and stunningly gorgeous--the client was thrilled. The client was so thrilled that she managed to come up with extra budget for the other event they had talked to me about and wanted to know if I could do 430 of anything by February 8... twelve days hence. I said I'd call her back in 15 minutes. After much measuring, head scratching and frantic calculating I determined that there was no way, no how I could do 430 of ANYTHING in twelve days. I regretfully called back and declined. And oh how it hurt! An order that size is a serious chunk of change and I did the 114 without even breaking a sweat (or getting bored--how many things can you really say you can do 114 of without getting bored?). But there are only so many pieces that will fit into the kiln, only so many firings I can do a day, only so much frit and glass I have on hand and the sum total of all of it is not enough.

Out of the ashes of my decline rose the phoenix of Bettina, the new kiln, however. I called up Denver Glass, spoke to Holly, and hammered out the specs. I am getting the same interior width and length of Bertha, my current kiln, (72 X 36) but I am getting her 12" deep instead of 9", and I am getting 4" of fiber blanket on the sides instead of 3". In addition, I am getting extra reinforcement around the sides and lid to protect against warping and a Bartlett controller instead of a TSC. The extra fiber blanket and reinforcement are so I can do melts and casting (longer, higher-temp firings) in her. The Bartlett controller is necessary so I can delay the start time of the firing--I won't be able to fire both Bertha and Bettina at the same time as Bettina is going to need a dedicated 100 circuit all on her own. So I'll load them both, program them both, and have Bettina actually start when Bertha is done. The Bartlett will also tell me exactly how many kilowatts I used in the firing--a neat perk for figuring costs. It'll be 10 weeks till she gets here, but it'll be worth the wait. I love Denver Glass Machinery.

Dee came down and helped in the studio for the day yesterday. While I puttered with Joomla and RocketTheme templates for it, she weighed all my pieces for the shipping weights chart, and inventoried all the 5-lb frit jars. When the call came in about the 430 pieces she did the math with me and then commiserated with me. So other organizational tasks are getting done--even if not by me. Though I, personally, am almost finished with the annual finances! All that remain are the material and product inventory numbers and the entry of everything bought from the personal accounts that needs to be listed in the business.

This afternoon I am doing a little promotional material work--no brochure, catalog--on cd on-line or printed, or printed price list for me this year. I am trying to go with a web key drive--like a little USB flash drive--printed with my logo on it. If I can get it done, when it's put into the USB slot of a computer it will immediately launch a web browser and go to a welcome page for galleries on my website. On that page will be a printable price list, a photo catalog, a terms sheet, an order form--everything a gallery owner needs to know to place an order. Slick, huh?*

Though I am enthralled by the new technology options, I am not neglecting the tried and true advertising methods, and this evening I'm going to finish up getting the mailing list details assembled for Stacy so she can put them all together and I can get my postcards out this week. And then there are the orders I still need to fire and ship--or sign and ship (in the case of books), and a class list to put together (still), and a swap piece to fire, and a self-portrait to work on, and an article to write... Never a dull moment (hope those balls in the air bounce when they hit!).

*The USB flash drives are too expensive to hand out to everyone who wants a little info, and the web keys--while not as pricey--only work with Windows and I just can't get behind that. Guess it's going to be the old folder and price list option for one more year... *sigh*


ren said...

dude, i hate NPR too. thank you for being brave enough to say it. we are out here, you know, the ones that can't stand lakshmi singh's voice and want to punch terry gross in the throat...but not many of us are brave enough to declare it for fear of losing our liberal yuppie street cred. heh.

Bill said...

It's a pity that this lady couldn't realize that you needed lots of lead time to try to take on a project of that size. She must think you're a major factory or some such...430 iterations? Wow.

Maybe, though, she'll try you again next year, if this is an annual event, and give you sufficient lead time to make up the items. I doubt that she, or her recipients, will quickly forget the beautiful items you made for the initial gifting.

Dee said...

i hope you had a nice glass of wine with dave to ease the pain of turning down the big job mon night! bettina will be a great addition to the gang of kilns, i'm VERY green with kiln envy at this point even tho' my work doesn't need that kind of size ;)

as for the flash drives and catalogs - why not do a full color glossy line sheet to hand out to the prospective buyers and include the flash drives with orders to your customers? i am actually in the midst of line sheet creation and can send you a pdf of what i'm doing and the company i'm going to have print it for a VERY reasonble price! 2 sided color 100# glossy cover stock. remember buyers don't necessarily walk around with their laptops during the show ;)

Brenda Griffith said...

True, true, Dee. Send it over, I'd love to see it! And Ren, liberals who don't wear beige natural fibers unite! Bill, the current request for info on 400 pieces is at least targeted for September--a better date. Now let's see if I can get it!