Monday, June 30, 2008

Dragging

Coffee was in the Austin skyline mug, "Suffragette City" by David Bowie is on iTunes. I'm pooped. I dragged through yesterday, and I'm dragging through today. Four shipments to go out ranging in size from a small bracket in one to four 16" X 24" pieces with stands in another. Then there's a kiln load to cut and get into Big Bertha... and it's already 1:30 pm. Oy. Becky the Wonder Assistant has a cold so she was dragging today too. Only Jessie--who is in the studio all week as she has no camp scheduled--is perky. Nothing like a perky six year-old to make you feel really old and draggy.

The vitrigraph experiment was interesting. When I opened the kiln yesterday to take out the empty flower pot I instead found a half-full flower pot. Because of the lower temperature for the flow, we would have had to pull another couple of hours to use all the glass in the pot. Good to know. Next time I'm going to put it in early in the morning and plan on pulling around noon--rather than starting the whole process at 2:00 pm. We had a fun time loading the kiln--as shown in the accompanying video. It's all about play and experimentation here at Siyeh Studio.

video

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Movie Day!

Coffee in the New Orleans mug, the sounds of the washer and dryer (it's laundry day) for music. Yes, it's Saturday and I'm posting--I think I'll make Saturday the official movie day. I missed posting Thursday last week and it's just thrown me all off.

Today's movies include an excerpt from a "show" that Jessie put on this morning for Dave and me, and the promised garden video (thanks to George Winston for his song "Reflection" from the album Winter Into Spring which I used as the soundtrack for the movie).

The rest of the "show" will trickle its way on to Stranded in the South, but the part included here (completely spontaneous and unprompted, I might add) is all about Glass Incarnate.

video

We finished playing with the vitrigraph yesterday about 6:00 pm. Everyone got a chance to pull and twist molten glass stringer--even Jessie (though she had to stand on the step stool and was closely monitored by three nervous women). We kept the temp pretty low (I think it never got above 1650 degrees) so we got twisty rod more than stringer--which is what the group wanted. The lower temp made for a more controlled, wider flow. The width showed off all the colors in the pot nicely. There is a good article by Phyllis L'Hommedieu in The Flow magazine winter 2007 issue about pulling glass rod from a vitrigraph that was the basis for our play.

I wanted to put up the video showing the prep leading up to pulling the rod/stringer, but the 128 mg size is making everything choke. I'll edit it down a bit and post it tomorrow. Monday I'll post the video of the glass flowing out the bottom of the kiln.



video

Friday, June 27, 2008

Everything Got Done!!!!

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Mad About You" by Belinda Carlisle (originally of the GoGo's) on the iPod--a random selection from the studio mix playlist. So I didn't post yesterday. I'm lucky I'm posting this morning. Every day this week has entailed hitting the studio at 8:30 (as soon as the J is off to camp and D off to work), working like a madwoman till 4:00 when I pick up J, and then back in the studio till 7:30 or so to get the kiln loads in for the day. Fitting in dinner, pool maintenance, Sprout time--and a little bit of Rock Band--has taken everything I have and more. The madwoman part of the day is all about supervising the final moving and landscaping, talking to vendors, partners (other artists) and clients on the phone, and shipping. I am so tired right now I can't see straight--and it's a play day in the studio!

Dee and her friend Sylvanie are coming to try out the vitrigraph and Becky will be here to work and play some too. Her nephews were here yesterday (and will be back today) and I helped them each make their own piece (fused yesterday, to slump today).

______________

So the day is already over and *amazing* things have been accomplished. I sit at the computer and finsh this post as Sylvanie, Dee, Becky, Patrick, Gabe and Jessie pull stringer from the vitrigraph in the coldroom. Though now that the vitrigraph is mounted in there it isn't such a cold working room anymore.


Two full kiln loads are in Bertha and Bettina and a fix fuse is in Middle ground. The garage has been completely cleaned out and almost everything has finally been moved from the old studio (in the basement) to either the new studio or the new studio shed. What an incredible week! I am going to finish with a couple of pictures of the new landscaping--I'll make a cool movie this weekend from all the footage I shot the other day.


And what a great feeling--everything I wanted to get done this week actually got done! Tomorrow, I rest. Have a good weekend all.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Late, Late, Late Wednesday

Geyser Peak sauvignon blanc in a stemless Riedel glass, "Brass In Pocket" by the Rock Band Pretenders (Dave on guitar) for music. It's evening, I am just ready to get in the shower, but had to post before I finished for the day. Jessie gets to lie down with me for ten minutes before she heads off to bed, and that's after I take a shower (which is next). Dave is going to bring creme brulee and something sticky (Gran Marnier?) up to bed after the J has departed, and I won't make it back to the laptop again ce soir.

Today finished the front yard landscaping (in successive trips I fit 33 bags of river pebbles--and a bezillion plants including three flats, 50 bags of mulch--and 12 boxwoods and five assorted annual/perennials, and 23 bags of drainage stone in the Odyssey minivan. Honda rocks.) There was also a kiln load and a shipment. It's late, I'm pooped. Movie tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Broussard Tuesday

Coffee in the New Orleans skyline mug, "Home" by Marc Broussard on iTunes--both are in honor of Marc Broussard whom I was fortunate enough to see live last night from about seven people back at a private concert in an 800 person venue (the photo is from Dave's Blackberry). It was the last night of the tour and the band was on fire (literally--it had to be 95 degrees in the audience, I can't imagine what it was like under the lights). The Sons of William opened for them, and they were really great--I'm going to be getting their first album.

Started the morning in the studio by finding one more thing that was stolen in the burglary--the craftsman stained glass lamp from the office. It was just an inexpensive Home Depot lamp, but it was a special wow-I-have-a-real-studio-not-a-space-in-a-basement purchase and I was really bummed to reach to turn it on only to find it gone. (It's also sad when a glass artist can buy a stained glass lamp from Home Depot cheaper than she can make it--but that's another story.)

The last of the dirt arrives today and then all the plants I bought over the weekend go in. The studio is *really* starting to come together outside. And with Becky riding herd on me, it's also coming together inside. Pretty soon I'm going to turn her loose on my desk and watch my papers magically file themselves (they will cower and run in fear from Becky).

My glass order--150 lbs of frit--from Bullseye should be here tomorrow and none to soon as I will run out of yellow medium today with more cosmos, passionate, fresh and flame pieces to do (all series that require yellow). Still haven't finished the firing schedule, but I am keeping at least a day or two out on it so full loads are firing daily. Today is the last day of single kiln firing. Tomorrow I start back in the two-loads-per-day cycle as I will have a full fuse load for one kiln and a full slump load for t'other. (As the kilns are both 72" X 36", that's a lot of pieces.)

I had more to say, but I can't remember what it was (the morning is underway and I have writus interruptus) so I'm going to get to work.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Monday

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, the sound of pickaxes hitting dirt and cars driving by the studio for music. The garden soil for the front of the studio arrives today and before it gets dumped, I'm having the workers punch drainage holes in the existing compacted soil around the elm and sweetgum trees. The studio is a multi-activity place today. I have to ship, begin the daily full-load firings that will carry through the next two weeks, supervise landscapers and assistant, and organize the production and shipping schedules for this week and next. Gaaa!

The reality of the small business person: I could have done all the paperwork and organization over the weekend, but this past weekend I chose to spend with my family and not work at all. Today I pay for it as it didn't go away because I didn't do it and now I'm trying to think and plan in the midst of the Monday morning chaos.

Now off to plan.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday at the Circus!

Dancing Goats blend coffee with real half 'n' half in a big mug with holly berries, pine boughs and poinsettias on it, world music of some flavor piping out the speakers. Yup, it's a Kavarna day! It's a Kavarna day AND a day of four people working at the studio. Handy Dandy Dan the carpenter is putting up the vitrigraph kiln and the toilet paper holder in the bathroom, Capability Becky the Assistant is supervising two workers who are moving all the remaining glass from the basement to the studio and the shed...

--------------

And I'm back! I was posting quietly and then I had to run back to the studio to do a second-round task list. Dan is done and gone, Becky is finishing and going soon, and then the two guys left will be on yard duty prepping the new front beds for the garden dirt delivery on Monday and getting rid of the worst of the kudzu and crabgrass in the backyards. Studio bliss. I have a vitrigraph installed and a playdate already set-up with some flameworkers for next Friday. I need to call Licha to see when she can come and play.

This afternoon Jessie finishes week two of Circus Camp and Dave and I are going to the show at 2:00 (more video opportunities for me!). Before we go I'll finish my piece list and firing schedule for the BMAC and get the metal order for it to Bill. When we get back, I'll ship a couple of orders and fire a full kiln load--it'll be a long day, but what a successful week!

Back to work. Pictures next week of the new front of the studio.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Life Lessons

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "In Without Knocking" by Mission Mountain Woodband on iTunes (I'll go in without knockin' to the first saloon I see in this town. Been in the saddle thirty days, oh, Montana bound. This ain't no time to be polite, I may be spoilin' for a fight. I'll be raisin' hell and drinkin' whiskey down. So come on in without" knockin', stay till the last dollar's down."). My father's 80th birthday is 30 days from today and I have FINALLY hammered down the details for his surprise party in Montana. Today I put together the invitation and send it out to everyone.

What does this have to do with a day in the glass studio? The glass artist is a whole person--as is everyone else. It's naive to think we can compartmentalize our lives into set time and function slots and make it all work (the home slot, the work slot, the spouse/partner/parent slots). I am simultaneously a glass artist writing the web portion of an article for the upcoming issue of Profitable Glass magazine, a child planning the party of a parent, and a friend recovering from a night of spontaneous waitressing and bartending for a friend in her restaurant--that's a story for Stranded in the South--and those are all different slots. What about all the roles/tasks we have to juggle at the same time in each slot? I have a carpenter and an assistant to organize and supervise today in the studio (the employer role of the glass artist slot), I have pieces to create and fire, the aforementioned article to write, the firing schedule to update.... the list just goes on for the glass artist slot (and all the other slots). Throw the knife, catch the knife, throw the knife, catch the knife.

So where am I going with all this? Is it bothering me? Am I complaining that this is what life has turned out to be? Not a bit of it! I am consumed with joy at the full richness that is my life at 47. I was a better waitress last night than I was 20 years ago when it was my regular job, and the reason I was better is that I more mentally flexible and adaptable than I was 20 years ago. I am more confident of myself, my abilities, and my skills. I never once got flustered last night, and I truly jumped into the middle of the deep end with no paddle. The water was just fine.

I believe I was able to work as I did last night because I keep my life and my time fluid. I don't have a work slot that goes everyday from 9:00 to 5:00 followed by a home slot. I work as much and wherever as it takes to get each job done, and the importance of each job in each slot is constantly evaluated and re-prioritized as necessary so that the musts do get done when they need to, some nice to haves get accomplished, and many things are left for later. there is never--and will never be--enough time to get to everything in the in-box and happiness comes from realizing and accepting that one, hard fact of life. The slots and their jobs rise and fall in the hierarchy of importance, and their flow ensures the balance of my life and my ability to surmount new challenges with grace and verve.

Enough writing about working, it's time to actually work.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beat

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Learning to Fly" by the Foo Fighters on iTunes. It's only Wednesday and it feels like Thursday--in some ways this is a Good Thing. Normally by Thursday I am beat from working a hard, full week.

Yesterday--with the summer cold--was a solid 10+ hour day. And at the end of it, the shipping room is AWESOME! I can't take a picture of it, but I'm tempted to use the video camera and pan around it so you, too, can share in the splendor.

Today, more organizing, cleaning (including vacuuming with the studio vacuum I got at Home Depot yesterday and cleaning the bathroom!), another kiln load, and preparing for tomorrow's great web day. Now Dan's here for another day of carpentering so I had better get moving. I close with pictures of the pieces that came out of the kiln and shipped yesterday. The round is 16" in diameter, the rectangle is 24 x 16.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Unngh

Coffee in the New Orleans mug, "Rock Anthem" by Diesel Boy (from the album "Rode Hard and Put Away Wet") on iTunes. I thought about listening to Marc Broussard to complete the New Orleans theme (and to prepare for Monday night when I get to see him live!), but the Diesel Boys album title was too appropriate to pass up. Ungh. I am laid low by a summer cold. All I want to do is sleep and cough, but the former is not on the cards for today--I have no control over the latter.

I didn't ship yesterday. Between almost running out of gas (twice) and dealing with a glitch in the studio alarm system, I was kept hopping right up until Jessie's new teacher came at 5:00 for a home visit and the work day ended. Today Becky (the new assistant) comes at 9:00 so I have to be ready to work (she's very prompt--unlike both me and my former assistant Stacy...). She's shaping up both me and the studio. Dan the carpenter was in yesterday and got the white boards up, the bubble wrap dispenser up, another frit storage rack put up, the front porch siding painted, and miscellaneous other things fixed. Between Becky and Dan I'm going to be organized by the en dof summer--whether I want to or not.

Now off to drag my behind to the studio (I'll get dressed and brush my teeth first).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Honor

Coffee? What coffee? That was HOURS ago. No music either--rush, rush, rush. The phone has been ringing off the hook, emails flying left and right, to and fro, heigh ho, heigh ho. I wouldn't be posting except, well, I do it everyday. So today's post comments about shipping (got to do it next), orders (they trickle slowly and steadily in), and credit card fraud. No parentheses for the last one--it gets its own paragraph.

I did a little calling around after I found all my credit card info on the Arabic language credit card fraud site. I called my clients and the other artists I know who were on the list. I also called a couple of random people just to make sure they knew what was out there. Though most of them knew there had been fraudulent activity on their cards (most, not all--one had not), no one knew from where or how. Guess EZ Pedestal not only didn't notify me, but they didn't notify anyone else either. And since they were aware of the existence of the website back in April--and that all of our personal info and card numbers was posted on it--I'm really, really surprised they never told any of us. Liability worries? I don't know. But it wasn't very honorable.

And that's today. Off to ship.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of Being On the Internet

Coffee in the Los Angeles skyline mug, "Out Here In the Middle" by James McMurtry on iTunes. It's random, but if I'd picked, it's the one I would've picked. Last night I Googled Siyeh Studio--as I periodically do just to see what's out there on the great, big interweb thingie--and I was shocked to find my name, address, phone number, email address, and Visa credit card number and expiration date on the web! There is an Arabic language youth site called Dos1.com that has a message forum which Google translates as "Forum Credit Card world of credit cards". Someone hacked the EZ Pedestal site back in April and posted dozens of credit card numbers with the corresponding personal information on the forum.

Was I surprised to find my info there? Absolutely! Should I have been? Probably not. This is the world in which we live, and I had someone tell me today (in connection with this credit card issue) that Americans are perceived to be naive because we are not taught from infancy how to work the system, to cheat, to lie and to steal well. Two of my clients and two other artists I know were also on the list. Small, sad, world. An interesting note: I was also able to get right to the page where my info was listed by doing a web search on my credit card number.... A useful Google tip if you think your credit info is out in the world and you want to find where.

Other searches turned up more positive results. Profitable Glass Magazine has their on-line profile of Siyeh Studio up. I found myself credited (in a former life) on the acknowledgments page of the book "The Life of Arseniev: Youth" by Ivan Bunin, Andrew Baruch Wachtel--I went to get the book on Amazon, but the price for vanity was a bit too dear.

I also found a cool blog called Made in the USA which features reviews and giveaways of American-made goods, and they featured one of my platters donated by Best American Arts! The comments about my work were especially gratifying (and that could have been ugly). The give-away itself was linked on another site.

I guess the post should have just been the Good and the Bad--though the Bad was pretty Ugly too.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The Summer Rolls On

Coffee was in the new Denver Architect series mug (thank you, Aunt Sheila!), "The Girl With the Weight Of the World In Her Hands" by the Indigo Girls on the iPod. It's a random and not particularly appropriate song, but very pretty nonetheless. Pia is in the cold room experimenting with Bullseye Glass as a pottery glass/additive. I have already been to Commerce and met Elaine this morning to pick up the steel I had ordered from Elliott Metal Works. Now I have a big kiln load to get in, photos to update on the studio website, and a glass order to get in (still). It's a day!

Later this afternoon I will take Aunt Sheila and my cousin Katrina to the airport so they can continue their journey to Peru. Dave will pick the J up from circus camp as she is taking an extra trapeze class after regular camp today. Life is Good.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Back In the Studio

Coffee in the new Orleans skyline mug, the sound of the washer draining and my fingers on the keyboard for music. Becky Wang sent me email again overnight. My, she's persistent! I am meeting with my new assistant for the summer this morning, and I have a kiln load to fire (back in the hot box), but at least I found and fixed my AC problem.

Yesterday as I was walking around the studio checking to make sure all the heating and air ducts were unobstructed, I noticed that the vent in the shipping room looked to open into a great, gaping hole instead of into an air duct. I took the vent off and, sure enough, when the floor settled earlier this year, the duct had slipped out and fallen to the crawl space floor below. No wonder the house was not cooling well--I was blowing a lot of the cold air into the open crawl space below the house. I pulled the duct back up and fixed it in place, and I'm cooling right down now. When it's 95 degrees out I just have to cool the studio down with more than fans. I am being as energy conscious as I can, but the heat is just killing me.

____________

Now Becky (the new assistant--and NOT Becky Wang) is hard at work breaking down cardboard boxes and unpacking shipments. I am going to inventory frit and get in an order, and then put the kiln load in for the day. Whoo hoo! We're rockin' and rollin' again.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Spam

Coffee in the Atlanta skyline mug, "See You Again" by Miley Cyrus (aka Hannah Montana) on iTunes. Dave just rolls his eyes and comments drolly on the similarity of the effects of menarche and menopause on women. Whatever. I am now 47 and I no longer feel the need to hide my more juvenile tastes from the world. And I never liked the Who. So there.

Today as I continue to work on the computer I thought I would share a couple of my favorite recent spam emails sent to Siyeh Studio (no edits--they are as I got them). From yesterday:

"Hello Sales,

I am American citizen residing in Russian Federation,I got your contact from my friend in your country and i am very interested in your product which i will like to buy because due to the quality .I will like to make an enquiry regarding to place an order through the MAIL ORDER and kindly advice me if you can ship to Russian Federation and if you accept fast means of payment,i.e credit card (Master Card or Visa Car) Get back to me Asap so that i can provide you with the product i want to order from you.

Hope to hear from you soon and Kindly get back to me with your website again.

Thanks and Write Back

Becky Wang."

Oh yeah. I guess American citizen doesn't mean speaks English, but this was too awful. And for creativity a la "The Sting" (you can't con an honest man) purportedly from the Internal Revenue Service:

"Internal Revenue Service (IRS)
United States Department of the Treasury

After the last annual calculations of your fiscal
activity we have determined that you are eligible
to receive a tax refund of $184.80.

Please submit the tax refund request and allow us
6-9 days in order to process it.

A refund can be delayed for a variety of reasons.
For example submitting invalid records or applying
after the deadline.

To access the form for your tax refund, use the following personalized link:

http://0xCA.0x80.0x1D.0x2/www.irs.gov/

Regards,
Internal Revenue Service


Document Reference: (0xCA.0x80.0x1D.0x2)."

Return address on the email is service@irs.mu.gov. Now that I've chuckled for the day I'm off to the hot box aka the Studio. Lots of videos on Stranded in the South.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hotlanta

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug, "(If You Were) In My Movie" by Suzanne Vega on iTunes (from the album 99.9 degrees--oh the appropriateness!). I have an almost irresistible urge to video something, anything. Good thing it's "almost" as Spielberg I ain't. Summer continues to burn here--thank heaven it's not a big glass studio day. It's Monday so it starts with a non-glass activity (ikebana). It's 77 degrees right now with a projected high of 95 degrees. I am just not going to be firing today! For once I'm glad the orders are light.

Today I spend in the AC. I'll meet Mike and do web work (I feel like the geek in the movie XXX every time I say that. Reminds me of him talking spy smack about "wet work"). Then I'll get J from Circus Camp and go for a late afternoon swim. Tomorrow is soon enough to make the piece list for the August BMAC and to order glass from Bullseye... and to fire the upcoming orders.

Friday, June 06, 2008

When Your Only Tool Is a Hammer...

Coffee in the Denver skyline mug--in honor of my aunt Sheila and my cousin Katrina who are stopping here next week on their way to Peru, "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" by Elvis Costello on iTunes for Jessie (it's one of her favorite songs) in honor of her last day of Kindergarten!

Yesterday I finished updating the gallery list and the Google map on my website of locations where you can find my work. Whew! Pretty, huh? And I learned the secret html that makes weblinks open in a new page or tab--rather than navigating away from my page. I feel smug. As iTunes alternates between songs by Elvis Costello and Elvis Presley I realize that I have filtered my library by "Elvis"... It's an interesting playlist.

Today I go full gear into prep for the August Buyer's Market. I need a little more carpet (I use the FLOR House Pet in Hummingbird and love it--the squares are much easier to move and store than a roll and the purple POPS!). I also need a full set of new lights, another set of pedestals, and I am investigating hanging hardware recommended by Sara Creekmore at ACRE--a first set came yesterday and I am going to try hanging on a grid panel with it. Surprise, surprise, it's already time to order from Bullseye again--I am low on several frit colors and sizes. I think I might skip the glass this round and just go for frit.

Next week sees new help for the studio--I am meeting with a friend who wants to be my new assistant for the summer on Wednesday and getting together with Mike, another friend who gave me website work for Christmas, Monday to jump start him on Joomla and go over where I want to go on the site next. Not much firing to be done, but that's okay as it's still a bezillion degrees outside and the temps still climb.

Off to shower--get washed and dried before I get all sweaty again--have a great weekend!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Penultimate Day of the Work Week

Coffee was in the stainless go-mug (it's done now), " 'Round Here Somewhere" by the BoDeans on iTunes. Got my car back from the shop this morning--Dave dropped me off there after we took the Sprout to school. It is just sliding from perfect to getting hot right now. 9:00 am. *sigh* The morning was achingly beautiful here at 8:00 and I wished it could just stay like that all day every day--70 degrees, faint breeze, hazy sunlight, deep shade from the lush trees everywhere. But no, it's supposed to get to 92 degrees today and that's just too hot to do anything outdoors (or in the studio). Good thing I'm on-line and pushing paper all day in the AC at the house.

The gallery update on the website proceeds apace--I should finish it this morning. Work yesterday was interrupted by a run to the American Girl store in Alpharetta for a Gotcha Day present for J. Gotcha Day is actually May 21 and we are just getting around to celebrating tonight... we've been busy. So tonight we have presents and cake and go to see Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull--maybe at the drive-in, maybe in an indoor theater (after all, it's HOT out there).

The most exciting news from yesterday is that my friend Jeff made me a new Goddess to replace the one that was stolen! He left the glass out of this one so I'll be forced (twist my arm) to put my own glass in it. I am so psyched and it is so beautiful. Thank you Jeff (hug, hug!). I'll post a pic when I get the glass in.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The Week Goes On

Coffee in another little paper cup, "Let's Dance to Joy Division" (and celebrate the irony) by the Wombats from Dave's computer courtesy of his ear buds for music. Wow. I am married to an inner teenager. He said he needed something to pick him up (and Kavarna is big into the mope this morning) and, well, if the Wombats don't do it, nothing will. Me, I'm a sucker for those little male Sheffield voices. "So happy, and we're so happy, so happy..." and we're at Kavarna.

Three orders shipped yesterday, a piece was redone for the second time (done for the third), and a piece was slumped. Lots of people sent money (Huzzah!) Dave just shared with me that the song above is off of the Wombats upcoming album "A Guide to Love, Loss, and Depression". Oh boy. "And now another song about a gender I don't understand..." The Wombats (and my spouse) are so cute.

Last night I finished updating addresses, phone numbers, and websites for my gallery list. Good-bye Nicholson House! That's a definite two, maybe (unconfirmed rumor) three galleries I was in that closed this spring. Now that the gallery list is done, I will put it up on the web. It'll be good to have a full reference up there--and on a Google map too! Next step is getting pics of all the new work up in the running slideshow on the front page--and getting all the articles written about the visit to PoP and Hoypoloi in the spring, the Museum of Fine Arts Boston placement, the Profitable Glass article... More oy.

One last shipment to go out today and the rest is paperwork, fax this, write that. Call this one, email that one. And the week goes on....

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

The Greening of Siyeh Studio

Dancing Goats coffee in a paper cup, Zohar's Onethreeseven on cd for music. Yup, it's a Kavarna day! Yesterday, as Stacy pointed out in her comment, was NOT easy. Six orders went out, two were rescheduled (with components refired) to go out today, two of the six were sent out as partials--one has a piece going out today and the other has two pieces going out tomorrow (I had a large piece thermal shock during slump for the first time in, well, a VERY long time!). Three kilns fired yesterday, two full and one half full, even though the day started with no firings scheduled at all--all to correct mistakes. Even minus the mistakes, twelve boxes weighing 357 lbs were shipped yesterday. Whew! The only time one day's shipping came even close to this was the corporate gift order for 114 pieces, and that one was a LOT easier to pack (Stacy would ask how I know as she packed that whole order). I do know that it was a lot easier to ship as the client sent me pre-printed labels and scheduled the pick-up themselves.

Today I work on the website--I hope to have ALL the galleries listed and mapped by then end of the day--and do mop-up shipping and firing from yesterday. Tomorrow will also have a Kavarna morning and more web work.

So yesterday I mentioned the greening of Siyeh Studio. I am very excited about where I am now in the process and that it matters to someone other than me--there is a growing number of galleries and other vendors who support green art. So how am I green? Think Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle.

Reduce. I have a zero-waste process for my production work. For the Morceaux de Verre pieces there is no unused scrap, and the small amount of mixed frit left from each piece is reserved for another new series called Frittered. In addition to reducing my materials use, I limit my energy consumption as much as possible. I fire at night in the summer and cool with fans instead of air conditioning. I hope to have my schedule worked out enough to fire in the morning in the winter and use fans to move the heat from the kilns through the studio for secondary heating. My lighting is all fluorescent--even the front porch light bulbs are long-life fluorescent spirals. The attic has been finished off so I can have insulation blown in--further reducing the energy needed to heat and cool.

Reuse. The most exciting development in the studio is efficient water management. I took a class in making rain barrels last Saturday and came away with five--three for the studio and two for the house. Two of the studio ones are designated for grey water from the studio sink and lap grinder and the third is for the gutters (which I have to buy and get installed in the next couple of weeks). All the water is for the new landscaping I am putting in the front and back yards. I already use very little water in the studio, and being able to reuse everything but what goes down the toilet is going to be GREAT.

I go through a lot of sheet glass and many, many 5-lb jars of frit a week. The sheet glass comes packed between sheets of thick fibrous paper that are good for weed control in the garden, art materials for papier mache, drawing and painting for J and her school. The frit jars are #1 plastic and recyclable, but I am never short of people who want them for storing screws, nails, small toys, pasta, crafts--the list goes on. Whenever I have a sack full of empties I either give them to my carpenter Dan (who parcels them out to his friends and neighborhood handymen) or I take them to J's school and leave them in the conference room for the teachers and other parents.

Recycle. I have applied for my own studio recycling bin for all mixed paper, old magazines and diet coke cans. Cardboard boxes and fluorescent light bulbs require runs to two different drop-off locations. I got the addresses this morning and I think it'll be worth it to make a run every couple of months.

Now if I could just get Dave behind the idea of a studio goat to keep down the weeds in the back and chickens for fertilizer for the garden...

Monday, June 02, 2008

Summer Time, and the Studio is Easy

Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, the splash of water from the fountain weaving in and out of the lily pads in the pond and the shrill trumpet of chipmunks quarreling with squirrels for music. It is summer in Atlanta. The weekend saw the last big three-kiln firing for awhile on Saturday, and lots of gardening including two classes, one on making rain barrels (I now have five--three for the studio and two for the house) and the other on making a succulent hanging basket. The small pond was relocated to the front yard (from the front porch) and stocked with plants for the fish to live in and eat. The back deck was cleaned and now hosts all the house plants and orchids for the summer. I even cut down all the six-foot high poke weed, trimmed the trees up, and hired Bruce from down the street to weed the beds.

So why is my Monday morning post full of gardening? Because it is a time of transition in the glass studio. Today sees the last big group of orders from the BMAC and ACRE go out. Though there are still orders to do from both shows, there are no more days when more than two orders go out, and the orders themselves are small. They are also staggered through November and my next show isn't until August with the summer Buyer's Market.

Today I have Stacy to help pack and ship, and tomorrow and Wednesday are both going to be web development days. For the rest of the summer I will spend at least one day a week on web development and marketing and one day on business process. A third day is dedicated to studio optimization and going green (more on that tomorrow). The remaining days are enough for production. Normally I would be looking to the summer for product development too, but the new glass and metal pieces and glass colorways already created this year are enough. Better use of the time will be getting a catalog created on the website and setting up on-line wholesale ordering for galleries.

And now off to clean and sign and pack and ship. Huzzah!