Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wallow No More

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug, "Learn to Fly" by the Foo Fighters on iTunes. Though my day of apathetic wallowing is over, I scintillate not. I am, however, back in high gear preparing to leave *tomorrow* for the summer BMAC. I understand there will be free high-speed internet access from the show floor this year so I'll have a chance to publish fascinating posts from Philly. Now if I can just get out of this slump (slumping, after all, is for glass not mental state) and write perkily again...

In addition to packing, I have three orders to ship today and I'm out of Styrofoam peanuts so I'll need to buy a bag for full price from the UPS store. Ugh. While I'm out, I'll also open a new (local) business checking account and deposit a bunch of checks. Money comes, money goes. I probably won't have sample sets to display at this show as I ended up having to deal with a banking crisis instead of firing yesterday, but I can add them to my website and product list.

And speaking of website, I need to finish the wholesale portion *today*. I have been talking it up to gallery and store owners for the past year, time to make good on it. Then there are the pesky quarterly sales taxes to file, and the land-line phone line is out (both studio and home)--probably from the storm last night--so I have to hunt down what's wrong with it. Wednesday Funday!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Week Begins to Slide

Coffee in the Montana Grizzlies go mug (same as yesterday) many hours ago, "Into the West" sung by Annie Lenox from the Lord of the Rings soundtrack on the iPod in honor of Loiosh. It's been a rough few days and I am behind on blogging. Too much life happening to have time to write about life.

Yesterday I left early and drove to Greenville with all my work for the BMAC later this week. By noon it was all packed in a crate there, ready for Bill and Elaine to drive up tomorrow. Today I create a sample set to take to the show and work on an order I hoped to have out by tomorrow. I probably will not make it on the order as I am emotionally and mentally drained from too much in too little time. I spent what little morale I had left this morning struggling with UPS to get them to lift the signature requirement on all packages sent to our house.

Sometime in the future I will get videos from Montana up, and I'll rediscover my aplomb. For now, off to listen to some George Winston and at least do the sample set.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Friday At Last

Coffee in the Austin skyline mug (in honor of Bryon and Vanessa who are visiting from that fair city), "Cloudy This Morning" by George Winston on iTunes. It's the first time I've had a minute to miss Montana since my return Tuesday. The week has been crazy busy, but it's winding down--which is good as I pulled a muscle in my back yesterday getting the new kiln lid on Bettina and have limited movement today. Got to get back in peak condition by Thursday for the BMAC.

The firings continue apace as do writing commitments. I have my first regular column (on product viability) coming out in the Fall issue of Profitable Glass (going to press today), and I have the second column (on pricing) slated but not written for the Winter Profitable Glass. I also have a how-to article for either sidelights or a backsplash for a kitchen stove using special large, baffled ceramic shelves that are perfectly flat and smooth and don't warp for Glass Patterns Quarterly's Winter issue. Never a dull moment here. Hot and muggy moments, yes. Dull, no.

Another short post today I'm afraid. Too tired and sore to scintillate. Vacation and birthday review coming up on Stranded in the South over the weekend (Saturday's Movie Day!).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Beat Goes On

Coffee in the New Orleans skyline mug (I want a Missoula mug!), "In Without Knocking" by the Mission Mountain Woodband on iTunes. I got everything done yesterday. The biggest task was the ad for Profitable Glass--which I finished at 9:00 pm. I like the result.

So far today I took the cat back to the vet for a glucose curve (she was diagnosed as diabetic but in otherwise good health by the vet yesterday--not bad for a 17 year-old cat), dropped the dogs a the groomer, left the child with Dan the carpenter to be handed off to Becky the wonder assistant at 9:00 am, and now I sit in my doctor's waiting room... waiting. By 10:30 this morning I will be in the studio and Doing Glass!

Yesterday's firing went well, and I checked in with both Jeff (for the new pieces I did for him for the BMAC) and Bill (for our BMAC shipping and display status check). Today I have another big firing, the last follow-ups on outstanding invoices, and Web Work. I am hopeful--confident even--that I'll have at least a rudimentary wholesale ordering system for my galleries ready by the BMAC. Now if I could just get a cd of hi-res images of all the work together...

The vacation is over, but I am well-rested and glad to be home. Leaving Montana it's always touch and go for me as to whether I'll be able to settle back in home right away. I pine. but this time I came home to a beautiful blooming garden with lots of new growth on all the plants I put in before I left. Just walking through the studio garden and checking out the plants lifts my spirits--and what a great place to put the glass "mistakes"!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Home!

Coffee in the Atlanta skyline mug, "Racing to the Red Light", by James McMurtry on iTunes. Back in the saddle, and the studio, again. Full firing schedule through the weekend, then up to Greenville with all my work for the BMAC on Monday. I am flying to the show for the first time and Bill and Elaine from Elliott Metal are driving all of our work up in a rental truck and then flying back. I leave Thursday accompanied by Becky the Wonder Assistant. It will be good to have four of us to set up the booth.

Today: fire, finish a full page ad for the fall issue of Profitable Glass, take the cat to the vet, clean the pond filter, clean the pool, supervise the carpenter and electrician who are finishing out the basement, and breathe. J has the rest of the week off to get back on Eastern Time (she is still sleeping now and it's almost 10:00). Time to go throw cold water on her. Heh.

Hey! I just had a big black ant chewing on my toe! I didn't know they bit people. I was just sitting here blogging and minding my own business when I felt something poking at my toe. I thought I just ran my toe into a sticker or something but when I looked down there was a big black ant viciously and methodically attacking my toe! He didn't live long.

Okay, off to get the kiln load in and do some attacking (of the day) of my own. It's good to be home.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The Birthday

Coffee of indifferent caliber in a small Styrofoam cup, the waterfall on the first floor of the C'Mon Inn for music. I sit on the small balcony off of our room and endeavor not to panic at the upcoming day. Today is my father's 80th birthday and I have planned a surprise dinner party for him at Finn & Porter. I had nightmares about it all night last night. I dreamed that there were three floors of party, Russian waiters, and hundreds of people pouring in--too many to count and I didn't know any of them. Add to that that I kept getting driven away from the party with tons still to do and dropped off far away with no way to get back except to walk--even though I knew it was a dream and I should be able to just place myself back at the party, I couldn't. And in the dream I had forgotten to get a cake... and I woke in a sweat to the realization that I forgot to order a cake. Thank heaven for Bernice's Bakery. In Atlanta we have Southern Sweets and rely on them heavily for all celebratory baked goods. I am happy to find my hometown has not let me down and I'll be able to get a couple of cakes at Bernice's to feed the 26 people coming to dinner...

After this morning's trip top Bernice's we are heading to the restaurant--I haven't been there since it was taken over by Finn & Porter and redecorated--to pick out the wines and appetizers and look over the room for decorating. Once I have seen the room we'll go get flowers, balloons, etc. to decorate it with. I think I'll also get paper and markers and set Jessie to make a birthday sign that we can have everyone write their names and a message on for him to take home.

Why am I stressing so much about this party? I have no idea. Probably some deep Freudian thing about daughters seeking validation through their father's approbation. Whatever. None of this has anything to do with glass--and probably won't today even though I have great Internet connectivity again.

Tomorrow I'll finish the new firing schedule (two asap orders came in over the past week that I need to get out before Philly) and I still have about half of my work for the Philly show to get done in the few days following my return from Montana. Off to hyperventilate...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

A Real Book Signing!

Coffee was in the ceramic mug from the Uptown Diner in Missoula, music was from the Sirius satellite radio in the car. I picked Dave up at the airport in Missoula last night and on the drive up to the lake this morning we stopped at Barnes & Noble so he could get reading material. I did the cursory I-wonder-if-they-have-my-book-check, and they did! I, as nonchalantly as possible--which is to say not at all, carried it up to the customer service counter and asked if I could sign it. The clerk was suitably excited to have an author in the store and was delighted for me to sign it, and just as I was starting, I saw a step-cousin-in-law I hadn't seen for several years. She took this picture of me signing my book. I signed in the wild! And what better place to see a copy of my book in a bookstore for the first time than in my hometown and the place where the glass all began for me.

Now off to pack and head to the lake cabin to stay for the next week. Posts will be few and far between.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Soaking Up Montana

Coffee in the very big huckleberry mug, the utter quiet of Montana for music--no, wait, the yappy terrier next door for music. When all else is so quiet, the terrier is like nails on a blackboard. Oh good grief--I've been around my father the curmudgeon too long!

Though I didn't post yesterday, I did work. Take a look at the Morceaux de Verre part of the Work section on Siyeh Studio. I will get a bunch more up there today, and then I'll tackle the behind-the-scenes, for-galleries-only catalog ordering system.

Of course since this IS my vacation I also spent some time in the lake, and I decided to reward myself for website virtue by posting the video of lake frolicking here. Ah that every day could end with a float on Flathead Lake (funny how the best site for Flathead on the web is not a .com, .net or .org, it's a .name domain). In the first part, I am floating alone, tethered to the dock by a long rope tied to my foot. I have my Kindle (the thrill of living dangerously with electronic equipment in the water) and a plastic cup of sauvignon blanc. Peace. But then I am joined in the boat...

video

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Joomla Woes

Sauvignon blanc in a cobalt blue water glass--Italian style--in anticipation of the pizza to come, the sounds of dinner being put on the table for background music. It will be a quick post.

Today's video is on Stranded in the South, I can no longer pretend they have anything to do with the Glass Incarnate part of the day here in Montana. And there was a Glass Incarnate part of the day. I struggled through Joomla components this morning trying to figure out how to integrate the photo gallery with the menu system with the on-line catalog and ordering though Virtue Mart (wholesale for galleries only) for my website. I failed. I am frustrated. I take it up again tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Is It Wednesday? Who Knows/Cares? It's VACATION!

There was coffee--hours ago, and the sound of J and Mom playing Pick Up Stix in the background is my music now. They are also the source of my movie today. I sit and update my wholesalecrafts.com page with all the new work as they play. Later we'll go to the lake again to swim, collect more rocks, and for me to float in the big chair thingie tied to the end of the dock by my ankle.

Clearly, as the following video will show, Dave has not taught his daughter to be ruthless enough. She felt bad that Gramma had lost the first game of Pick Up Stix and was already losing the second game so she took matters, or sticks, into her own hands...

video

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Vacation Continues.

Cold coffee in the huge huckleberry mug, some western musical soundtrack of my Mom's in the background for music. I put off posting today waiting for a good video. But the videos I took are of Mom's bird Sam refusing to perform on command, and Dad's dog Jig playing catch and sitting for J--which translates into a bunch of jiggly wiggly camera motion all around my parents' small living room. I got seasick filming it so I can't imagine watching it. Video tomorrow.

Real work was also done today. I ordered the last pieces of the display for the BMAC, brought up my accounts receivable up to date, and contacted everyone who is past due. It was scary to realize that I have five figures out in receivables and half of them are past due (over Net 30).

Now I'm going to break and go out to the lake with the family for more lounging in the sun and floating chair. Back with a video 9and to work on the website) tomorrow.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Returning

Coffee in the amorous (the polite way of putting it) bunny mug, Sam eating seeds and my father drinking coffee for music. The doors are open to let in the cool Montana morning breeze, and the loudest noise I hear is the refrigerator occasionally kicking on and humming. The absolute quiet here is startling. There's no doubt I have become acclimatized to living three doors down from one of the busier streets in Atlanta--and having my studio nestled close to the same street. It's a street where cars and trucks provide a ceaseless bass note on which all the other city sounds build. Heck, even our birds are noisier--even with the windows closed and a well-insulated house, the finches, cardinals, sparrows and all the other neighborhood birds raise such a racket starting as soon as it gets light that it's impossible to sleep through! I think the sheer absence of background noise woke me here this morning (that and the fact that it's two time zones later than Atlanta.)

The video is my panorama from my parents back deck this morning. Thank you to George Winston for the song "Returning" from Forest.

video

Away from the studio, yes, away from work, no. The Buyer's Market looms inexorably, and the website cries loudly to be updated. Today I check in remotely with Bill, Becky, and Stacy about the status of the studio and BMAC prep for the week (and worry at their heels like an amped up terrier). I also contact Patty and Dinah Hulet with a proposition that I have had no time to get to them for over a week now. Later, a leisurely kayak on the lake with J and my Dad while Mom lounges on the dock in the sun. Ah, Montana.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Saturday Movie Day

Coffee in the Atlanta skyline mug, J singing in the background for my music. It's Saturday movie day, and today's movie is from the fireworks last night. No, it has nothing to do with glass but everything to do with the mental health of the glass artist. The video isn't about great fireworks--they were okay, by no means great, it's about people cheering for them and celebrating being alive, being together with friends, having a day off, and enthusiastic optimism about life in spite of the economy, the upcoming election and the continuing war in the Middle East. For me it was one of those rare, perfect moments of building a community--one of the first ones I've had here in Atlanta.


video

Ok. I've reflected, I've basked, now it's time to get to work. I leave for Montana tomorrow and I have an order to prep for shipment Monday, lights and foam core to buy and carpet to order for the BMAC, and all my work to inventory for the show to see just how much I have to make when I get back from Big Sky Country.

It's not like I won't be working while I'm there (at least for the first week). My parents have dsl and I plan to buy a wireless router at Best Buy when I arrive so I can work on my website from anywhere in the house--even out on the deck looking over the lake. I am very excited about this busman's holiday--no contractors to supervise, no kilns to load or orders to ship, just web and catalog and printed materials for the BMAC to create. J will hang with the grandparents--they can entertain her. Dave will be out for the second week and I'll have vacation and relax (and read) then. I do plan to post--at least for the first week--and there'll be plenty of video both here and on Stranded in the South... really, Stacy.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, the sound of the garbage truck receding down the street for music. I'm breathless. Who knew the garbage collectors worked on the 4th of July? That's practically anti-American! And it caught our whole street unaware--we were all running out and waving at them to come get our cans and then frantically dragging said cans to the curb. Whew!

Today is a work day in the studio too--at least the morning is. The afternoon will be at a 4th of July picnic with the other rising first graders (that's what they call the kids who are going into first grade in the fall. Who knew?) at one of the families' house. (Did that apostrophe go in the right place? Plural possessive is always so complicated.)

I need to get on a blog aggregator. The spouse just started a blog (Professor Schadenfreude's Cavalcade of Wonders and Software Development Blog) and within two days he was geting 138 hits a day because he's on a java blog aggregator. But there don't seem to be any blog aggregators (sites whose purpose is to list all the sources of information for a specific group--like java developers or artists--in one place to make it easier for interested people to find them) specifically for artists or craftspeople. Bummer.

Okay, off to fire. Enough putzing on the computer. Happy 4th again!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Studio Baby Birds and Schedules

Goats do Roam white wine in a Riedel stemless wineglass, "The Night of the Infernal Machine" from season two of the original Wild, Wild, West tv series for my background music. The day is almost over, and I failed for the second day in a row to get a kiln load in. That makes me two days behind--with no spares to use to catch up. It sometimes happens, and there's nothing to be done except to be flexible, and to recover as best I can. I did get two shipments out today, and I will have the pieces Jeff Manpearl commissioned for his new work for the Buyer's Market show done and read to ship on Monday. I will not be in the studio to ship them, that duty will fall to the lovely and capable Becky (the assistant), who will continue to work while I am in... MONTANA!

Yes, I have two more days in the studio and then J and I are on a plane heading for the wilds of Montana to celebrate my father's 80th birthday with the family. Sadly, we won't be able to be there for the actual birthday--we have to come back on Sunday the 20th. But we'll be there just before the birthday, and, heck, when you've made it to 80 what's a day or two either way?

The photo is from the studio news of the day Tuesday. I mentioned that I was afraid the cheeping in the chimney would end badly, and it almost did. Tuesday afternoon J had a playdate with an old friend and I brought her mother over to show her the studio. We walked into the gallery room to find baby birds all over the floor in various stages of fledging, and the sound of a lone peep emanating room the chimney. I rounded up the stragglers on the floor and got up into the chimney where I found the last of the hatchlings clinging to a brick and peeping for dear life. A few phone calls later and I was on my way to a local vet that acts as the go-between for the wild bird rehabilitators in the area. Turns out I had five baby chimney swifts, and I left them in the vet's capable hands, a meal already being mixed up for them. The chimney swift woman was to pick them up by 7:00 and they would become someone else's problem!

I have enough problems of my own--chief among them a dearth of firing time. On the other hand, the former studio basement is on its way to becoming a finished part of the Griffith manse--and the future home of the great loom that now lives in our dining room.

Tomorrow is another day in the studio during which I will celebrate my independence from the basement and the cube--two fates worse than death. Happy 4th everyone.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Here's the Rest of the Post!

Coffee was ages ago in some mug or other--who knows which? and I listen to the whir of the ceiling fan and the frantic beating of my heart for music. I got one sip of coffee this morning and then it was put down somewhere as I managed carpenters--who are finishing the former studio (the unfinished basement), talked on the phone with Licha about vitrigraph specs, watered the new landscaping, made sure the garbage men took all of the last of the moving debris away, monitored the process of the assistant, and diddled with a thousand other details before 10:10 when I discovered I was already late for a 10:00 appointment.

The afternoon has thus far been consumed with desnarling a major banking snafu, feeding the child, finishing the watering and now sitting down to post. Still two shipments and two kiln loads to go before date night with Dave... Aaaaagh!

Thanks to Mindy for the wonderful Wordle (shown above). Somehow this morning I managed to post just the wordle and no blog. In case you were wondering "what the heck?", now you know the rest of the story...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Work and References--It's All About Marketing


Coffee in the Denver Architect series mug, the chirping of baby birds in the nest in the gallery room chimney for music. Every morning when I come in the studio I check to see if any birds have fallen out of the nest and down the chimney--as happened last year a couple of months before I bought the studio... It ended badly then and I have a horror of a repeat.

New series going out in the world today: Tropical. It has a lot of the same colors as Cosmic (which was formerly Cosmos), but it avoids the darker tones, incorporates a new blending technique, and I think really zings. Passionate is still my favorite new series for the year though.

The pieces pictured are (in order) Tropical Koi (wall), Cosmic Framed Poppies (wall), Tropical Koi Float (stand), Tropical Float (stand), and Passionate Poppies (stand). The glass in all but the Passionate poppies is 24" X 16", the Passionate Poppies glass is 12" X 18".

Notice the difference in the metal work between the koi wall and stand pieces. I wish I could get these pieces to photograph as well as they look in person. The colors are so stunning and vibrant, and there is incredible depth in the glass... but it just doesn't come across in photos. I'd be tempted to blame my poor photographic skills, but the professional photographers who have tried to capture these pieces have not fared much better than I did.

A final note on the pictures: Personally I prefer the Poppies in Passionate--I think there's too much competition between the dark glass and the dark metal in the Cosmic Poppies.

In other studio news, I ran across two articles/blog posts on Siyeh Studio and the book this week. The first is on Sustainable Living, sustainable living articles, blogs and links site on the Zimbio zine network. It was written by the Best American Arts people about The Greening of Siyeh Studio. The second is a blog post/review of A Beginner's Guide to Kiln-Formed Glass on the Hawley Studios blog.

Writing this blog post today and continuing the catalog of references to Siyeh Studio and the book on the net is part of the preparation for updating the main Siyeh Studio website while I'm in Montana for the next two weeks. I want to get all the articles written, the blog moved over, and and the online catalog of all the work done. Yes, it'll be a working vacation.