Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Happy Birthday Dave!

It's Dave's birthday and I got him a... Cat! (oh we know I made him something too, but it's not finished yet so I can't write about it yet). Ernie the Monstrocat is scheduled to arrive tomorrow night from Portland. Ernie is officially designated as a Studio Cat, but he may end up up spending nights in the Griffith household and days in the studio--the best of both worlds. Ernie is a cat with a powerful presence. Though he doesn't use a computer himself (destroying keyboards and eating mice doesn't count he has a Facebook page and many (23 at last count) friends.

More about Ernie tomorrow!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tuesday Anything is Possible

The lovely afterglow from a Dancing Goats mocha with whipped cream as I reminisce about my morning beverage, the calling of the baristas and "(The Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes" by Elvis Costello over the coffee shop sound system for my morning music. It's a Dancing Goats morning! (NOTE: seven laptops in the coffe shop this morning and ALL are Macs... the tide has turned.) I edit press release, business agreement, and artist bio (for Lee), work on the underlying formulae used in my order form to Bullseye, and complete (to date) the order I am having shipped from Bullseye *Next Week*. Then lunch (maybe at Taqueria del Sol with the Spouse--who is also here with me at Dancing Goats). Then finishing said Spouse's birthday present (in time for tomorrow? maybe not...) and getting in the first load of the pieces that ship Thursday.

As can be seen from the perky list above, I feel MUCH better than I did yesterday! Yesterday I went to Commerce and picked up the metal work from Black Cat, came home and collapsed into a somnolent napping daze for two hours, and then dragged myself to the studio to get orders shipped, go over hotshop biz with Lee, and have a long chat with Morganica about Ernie the Monstrocat and website design.

Talking to Morganica about Ernie was very energizing--though I am become a bit daunted by the weight of the public scrutiny surrounding his move here. There have been some hitches and glitches in funding Ernie's travel from west coast to east so he is unlikely to arrive this week. As it looks now, it'll be about a week before the resource center grand opening before he graces us with his presence.

Now to edits, infinity, and beyond!

Monday, September 28, 2009

25 Days... and Counting

Lapsang Souchong tea in the New York skyline mug, the ticking of the clock (how appropriate!) for morning music. Siyeh Glass Resource Center opens in 25 days. We are still in mid-construction on the hotshop equipment and haven't started the beadmaking classroom or the retail space. Today I finish creating my order form for Bullseye (a spreadsheeting I will go, a spreadsheeting I will go, heigh ho the merry-o, a spreadsheeting I will go!) and finish filling it in to see what my damages are from my initial order. They will not, I am sure, be... small.

Over the weekend I registered a new domain for the resource center I have decided to follow Bullseye's model and keep separate the websites for Siyeh Studio and Siyeh Glass. I had really wanted to have just one website, but I couldn't figure out how to meld all the news from the studio site (new galleries, new work, etc.) with all in the info from the resource center site (classes, items for sale, now items, book info, etc.) and get them to mind their elbows as they jostled for prominence on the front page. So I looked to others in the glass world who have the same dilemma to see their solutions. As I was afraid, the ones who are artists with a thriving resource center business either have great resource center websites or great art studio websites. I didn't find a good example of both. Keeping everything up-to-date will clearly be an issue.

Then I went back for another look at the Bullseye Glass and Bullseye Gallery sites, and it all just became clear in my mind. Each of my sites needs its own clean, crisp presence, but they also need to feel connected, linked, related--two parts of a whole instead of two different sites. Oh I don't plan to use the same layout template for both, but they should both have similar logos, similar background colors, font and layout. If you look at the Bullseye sites, they both have white backgrounds and grey text/image boxes, and they both convey the same clean, modern, complete yet minimalist impression. Both sites feel up-to-date and complete--understandable as they are maintained by someone whose job it is to maintain them--not, as in my case, to maintain them, run the store, teach classes and make the production work...

Oh this cold is taking a toll on both my writing and concentration abilities! But I will try to persevere through the rest of this post. Apologies in advance if it is more disjointed and makes less sense than usual.

As I surfed the templates at RocketTheme (they make great Joomla templates--I used a RocketTheme template for my Siyeh Studio site when I redid it a couple of years ago), I was initially seduced by Moxy--the template for September 2009. It's colorful, sexy, and sings to me in the same way the Dimensions template did when I got it. But this morning I came to my senses. Yes, it's beautiful and sophisticated, but it's not really the best match for a storefront site--even though it has the new QuickCart integration. A much better option would seem to be Mynxx... and that's enough geeking out on website stuff for the morning. I am in full Shiny Rock Syndrome (if you open that link you'll have to scroll to the bottom to get to the salient bit) and am going to have to rein myself in hard to get through the next 25 days intact and on time.

Now off to Commerce to get metal work!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Michaelmas!

Coffee--real, high-octane Trader Joe's organic French roast with pumpkin spice creamer and half 'n half--in the Los Angeles skyline mug, "Lay Me Down" by Crosby and Nash on iTunes--it has been running through me head for the past hour, might as well be coming into my ears too. The loan application is IN. I faxed all 102 pages of it in yesterday--and wasn't THAT fun! You know how sometimes the pages stick together going through the rollers? Well I caught all but one of the times it happened. Somewhere in part two of four there was a double up. I figure they'll call me and me to refax it when they get around to reading it. In my naivete I called the Chase business loan center to tell them about the problem to see if someone could look at the fax machine and tell me which page was missing. Of COURSE faxing doesn't work like that at a bank! All the faxes in the country come into one 800 line and are scanned as they come in. Then the scanned set is routed to the appropriate department. I put the same cover page on all four of my sections (including the fourth one that I had to send three times before it would all go through) so I hope they'll be able to put it all together. I haven't heard anything from them in any case. Let's hope this wasn't a big Waste Of Time.

Today J's school celebrates Michaelmas as the festival of strong will in timing with the fall equinox (which was Tuesday, in case you missed it ;-). The morning was complicated a bit by my strong-willed child because she had to dress in "warm colored clothing"( to symbolize flame as she is being chased... by the dragon (in the form of the 8th graders)? I need to get the rest of the story today) and she did NOT like any of her clothing choices. "Snow" by the Red Hot Chili Peppers on iTunes now. It's a good morning mix.

I might have burned out the pump yesterday emptying the basement/crawlspace at the studio yesterday. I hope it just shut off because it was overheated. It looks like there's still about 4-5 inches of water down there that I need to get up before I can get the furnace repaired (please, please, please not replaced!). When I looked in yesterday I could see that one of the big ducts had pulled away from the furnace and it probably filled with muddy water. I'll call Ray--our heating and air guy extraordinaire (that's the only kind we have)--to see what he thinks over the phone and then see if I can coax him down to take a look at it. He doesn't really work in this area except as a favor to us so I am going to have to sound really pitiful. Come to think of it, sounding pitiful is not going to be a problem at all right now--this cold is beating the crap out of me. Today I sound like one of Baxter's squeaky toys when I try to talk.

This morning I get a kiln-load in, work on Dave's birthday present--which got pushed to a far back burner by the paperwork and flooding issues--and give a call to a web expert to get an opinion on how to structure my website to be both attractive and appropriate for my gallery customers and to serve the new Resource Center clients with class, materials, and technical info. Think about it--websites are powerful communication tools and they may set, if not the first then potentially one of the most important impressions someone has of you and your work. If you are a production artist, as I am, you want to project a professional image so that gallery owners can pull up your website to show prospective clients our work and information about you. They don't want to have to go in through a a retail/supplies website and raise the question in the client's mind "Is this person an artist or a shopkeeper?".

Many people deal with the split identity issue by having two different websites, but I am resisting that solution. I have been Siyeh Studio for over 20 years, I don't want to have to be somebody else as I add this new Resource-Center/teaching aspect to my work. My studio name is also tied to my book through me, and I want to use the book to provide credibility to the Resource Center and my classes. So on the phone I go. Then I have just under a month to get it laid out and implemented. ROFLOL! Oh I am funny this Friday morning!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Egyptian licorice tea in the Denver skyline mug, the static of a 'silent hold' on the phone with Chase bank for music. I think my body decided that since I'm determined to slow down, I have time to get a full-blown cold. Silly body. I continue to plug doggedly away at the final (please, please, please let them be final!) details for the ARC loan--78 pages of documentation to fax to them so far and still counting--isn't there some paperwork reduction act in place in our government somewhere?

I started to continue on in the vein of customer service horror stories, no one knowing what is actually needed for filling out these government forms, the general ineptitude of customer service people (coupled with their unflagging cheerful unhelpfulness), but I'm just too worn down by this cold. I think I'll put down the computer for a few hours and go make some GLASS. I'm tired of being Paperwork Incarnate. I need to go have me some fusing FUN.

Till tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Plodding On

Water to drink (still fighting off the first cold of the season), "You Can't Always Get what You Want" by the Rollin Stones on the iPod. Yup. It was a random selection but so appropriate! It hasn't rained since the night before last. The water in the basement/crawlspace has dropped about the same place on the hot water heater that was the high mark last spring (last photo from yesterday). The pump continues to chug away, and water flows down the driveway into the storm drain. Flood insurance? Who, me?

This morning I got the last of the equipment for the hotshop ordered--misc blocks, punties, jacks, etc. Now I'm just waiting to hear back from Nortel on their proposal for the beadmaking classroom. Also printing out the last of the reams of paper necessary to apply for the ARC loan (the loan that would not die!). Fingers crossed I can get it off today--the 20 hours I spent putting together a two-year cash flow projection made me alternately very happy and very nervous. And, really, who can say what's going to happen in the next couple of years?

The order drought appears to have ended with the physical drought: I have taken a couple of orders a day so far this week. (Christmas is saved! Shoes for everyone!) Now off to go bail out Ernie's new cat corner (just kidding Cynthia. The studio proper is warm and dry--or at least no more than vaguely moist :-)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Calm Between the Storms

Cherry berry green tea in the Montreal mug, the sound of crickets chirping and little girls riding bikes and scootering for music. School (and everything else in north Georgia) was cancelled today due to poor road conditions, heavy rains and flooding. Right now it's calm and mostly dry (as dry as things can be after two straight weeks of rain on heavy clay soil), but we're due to get a lot more rain this afternoon. Joy. I thought the water in the crawelspace/basement at the studio was down about five inches this morning, but the waterline in the picture shows it a lot lower than yesterday's high water mark. It's still a lot more than it was this past spring when flooding took out the hot water heater (last photo). Glad I've had a lot of other stuff on my plate and I didn't get around to replacing it yet. Now I need to get a picture of it when there's no water so I can remember what it looks like... :-0

I started the morning with an hour's worth of chores, and it felt good. Then I lost the next two hours and it doesn't feel so good. Where did they go? Puttering with this, putzing with that, talking to the people that own the house next to studio (I was hoping we could buy it and expand over one more space--and another 200 amps--but apparently they got 50% more than we were willing to offer for it). And then the time was gone and I'm staring doewn the barrel of another rapidly retreating week. Tuesday always starts with such promise! Monday is over, the rest of the week is enough time to get everything done, and I can breathe. But sometime during the day (earlier than usual this morning), everything goes to hell in a time management handbasket and I just know Wednesday will start by looming.

Well not this week! No matter what, I'm going to remain upbeat, relaxed, and optimistic. I'm going to work steadily and whistle while I do so. I'm going to get done what I get done and eliminate what I don't. I'll be ruthless with those tasks that just keep on hanging on! At least that's the theory... And I'm going to put an a little music to spur me on. I end the post with a little REO Speedwagon, "Ridin' the Storm Out".

Monday, September 21, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away, Come Again Another YEAR

A HUGE Kavarna mocha (with whipped cream) in the Chicago skyline mug (I stopped on the way home from dropping J off at school), "Lay Me Down" by Crosby & Nash on iTunes. There are so many possible titles for this post, but after long consideration I decided to go with the rain theme. Had I posted on Saturday as I almost did, the title would have been "The Chaos Being Has Left the Building" and though it might be a catchier title, today is mostly about the rain.

Got Dave off to the airport for another week in Austin this morning, and then finished cleaning the kitchen, making J's breakfast, packing her lunch and getting her off to school. I was lucky and missed heavy rain (only seeing a drizzle) during both of the morning's drives. But it's a wet and wild world out there with all northbound lanes blocked on I-85 due to an accident (saw notice for this on the way to the airport) and a tree down at the Seminary across from J's school blocking the street--and the carpool/drop-off lane for the school--completely. Had to toss her out into the road and just keep driving (just kidding--I did stop).

When I got home--and I'm not going out again till I have to pick her up from school--I decided to take advantage of the continuing break in the rain and get the portable pump set up in the crawlspace under the studio. I looked down there last week and it was flooded again (glad I didn't get around to replacing the hot water heater). I should've braved the deluges over the weekend though as when I looked in today there was over *five feet* of standing water--all the way to the top of the dugout part. Sadly this means that the furnace is now partly (mostly?) underwater. I shudder to think what THAT's going to cost. As I set up the pump, it started to rain again. I'll just leave it running today and see how far down it gets. It'll take at least two days to get all that water out. *sigh*.

Enough about the rain, let's talk about chaos beings. I have come to the mid-life realization that I am such a one. Before I was married there was no one to notice, comment upon, stress about the pace that I (un)naturally kept. Once I had a partner, I started the litany of "after I/we finish this project, things will slow down", but they never did. There was always something new we had to do, someplace we had to go or move to, a new job to take, a child to have, SOMETHING. Up till this past weekend I figured it was just bad luck or timing--or my inability to say no when asked to do/give something. Saturday morning as I breakfasted with a spouse made very unhappy by Friday's post, I realized that it's all me: When things start to slow down and I have a less-than-totally-consuming task, I add to its complication and difficulty till I am appropriately consumed.

Current point in case is the opening of Siyeh Studio as a Kiln-Glass Resource Center. When I initially decided to do it, I wasn't going to add much inventory, I wasn't going to have formal retail hours, and I wasn't going to offer any classes right away. By this past weekend I not only found myself with a full class schedule (thank heavens I am not teaching it all), an expanded retail selection (now taking up a full room in the studio), a dedicated beadmaking classroom with all its attendant paraphernalia, and a hotshop whose equipment I had doubled to be able to have two simultaneous gloryholes and benches for teaching. I was embroiled in storyboarding the safety and demo videos for the classes (for heaven's sake!), designing new classes, negotiating distributorships--in short, spending time and money as if they were water. And it's too bad they AREN'T water as with all the rain we have, I could goldplate all my tools and work 938 hours a day and still have some left over.

What was I doing? And, more importantly, why? Why? Because I am a chaos being. I like the spontaneous, the unpredictable, the surprise and change. When I got stressed when I was younger and footloose, I'd take a roadtrip. Maybe I'd go from Phoenix to LA for the weekend--or the day. Drive all night to sleep on the beach during the day and drive home for work the next day. Or I'd move to Colorado on a whim for the winter--or Austin on a similar whim for the summer. If I had a problem, I didn't try to sit down and fix it, I'd leave it behind instead. Right here and now is the longest I have lived anywhere since I was 17 and kicked the dust of the same address for my whole life to date from my heels. It's not that I didn't like where I grew up--I moved back twice in the six years after I first moved and would probably be there again now had I not been snared by my spouse while in Chicago.

The addiction to upheaval reached such a state that I didn't even realize what I was doing. But Saturday, I had an epiphany. I *don't* have to have everything I can think of for a perfect KGRC done by October 23. I don't even have to *try* to have it done. I can stage development. Dave told me the name for this process as we were talking Saturday morning--maybe it even was staged roll-out or development. Wow. I feel liberated. I immediately scaled back on the planning and (except for the one this morning about the sump pump in the studio crawlspace) have stopped having anxiety attacks again. Now let's see if I can keep up at slowing down...

"Hi. My name is Brenda, and I'm a slothful adrenaline junkie..."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Welcome to Friday

I think I forgot to post yesterday, but right now this minute I'm not sure if that's true. Did I write about the Red Queen's race on Tuesday or Wednesday? Well, I may be virtually disorganized, but in the real world I have a cascading file tote and I'm not afraid to use it! There are sections for glass and supply sales, classes, orders, the hotshop and beadmaking classroom, Black Cat ArtWorks and Bentwell Metals collaborative info, technical data, and business info (loan docs, website stuff, email marketing info, etc.). Of course that little tote won't hold *all* the papers I have on any one of those topics--but it isn't meant to. No, the tote is there to hold all the papers that I need *right now* to keep them organized and at my fingertips.

This is an unusual period for me. It is not uncommon that I have 2-3 projects going at a time, but right now I have upwards of ten and I think I have reached the limit (maybe even passed it a little) for what I can do all at once. Last night I was sure I heard the hamster in our room again about 2:00 AM. He got out a couple of weeks ago while J was having a sleepover at a friend's house and we heard him rustling around in a plastic bag in the corner of our room about 4:00 am. We both got up and managed to wrangle him back to his cage. Last night I was just too tired to get up to investigate so instead I dreamed about giant hamsters and glass studio projects the rest of the night. This morning the first thing I did upon rising was to check on Tuffy (said hamster) and he was tucked up safe in his cage. Either he went on walk-about and returned safely (and shut the cage up after himself), or I dreamed it all.

This morning I go up to the Gwinett Center to set up my ikebana arrangement for JapanFest this weekend. Then I drop off a commissioned piece at Taylor Kinzel. Then I meet with Becky the bookkeeper. I begin to hate sentences that begin with 'then I'. Then Becky the assistant arrives and we ship an order or two (depending on if I hear back from the client for one with a ship-to address). THEN I have to find time to keep going through the mountain of material, tool and supply orders I have to find a way to finance simultaneously and immediately, AND to work on my class descriptions and prices, AND to create the resource center website from scratch, AND update my own website with the Greene & Greene exhibit info, AND finish creating order forms and price sheets for all of Bullseye's products, AND AND AND...

Roll up the sleeves, gird the loins, put the big-girl panties on and get to it. (Maybe I'll wheedle Dave into making me some coffee first...)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Listening NOT to the Mustn'ts

It's a rainy morning and I wait for the Sprout to finish her breakfast so I can take her to school. I also wait for the kiln to cool so I can grind the lattice I need to take to Elaine this morning so Black Cat can assemble and ship it. When I get back from that meeting I have just enough time to photograph the new business card holder design I slumped yesterday and get it off for review for the corporate gift project. Then I meet with my accountant Helen so she can help me fill out the ARC loan docs. I tried doing it on my own last week, but I am incapable of coming up with a two-year income projection without just pulling the numbers out of my... ear. After Helen and I are finished Becky arrives and it's time to ship two orders.

Oh yeah, and I need to order the rest of the hotshop tools, review my current Bullseye order for my KGRC opening and get it back in, review my agreement docs with Lori... time to stop. I'm making myself tired.

It's just over a month till we have our 'grand opening' and I begin to realize how much there is still left to do... STOP! No more talk of lists and to do's. Got to get on with the day. Need to close with a little Shel Silverstein today.

"Listen to the MUSTN'TS, child
Listen to the DON'TS
Listen to the SHOULDN'TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then listen close to me -
Anything can happen, child
ANYTHING can be."

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

No Personal Day In the Red Queen's Race

Water in a bottle, the sound of the rain and tapping keys on my laptop keyboard for music. I need a personal day, I thought I might get a personal hour, now it looks like I have a personal 15 minutes--which I am using to post. *sigh* I have so many balls in the air right now I hardly know which way to turn. I'm to the point where I don't even try to remember what people are asking for--even if it's something I think I'll do in the next 15 minutes. They ask, I add to the scary To Do list. And everything but *everything* goes on the calendar. I cannot be held responsible for remembering anything right now.

Put together a really great class with Becky and Todd yesterday right down to the hourly time break-down. Got the dishwasher fixed last night. Being in the studio right now is like riding the people mover at an airport, but facing backwards. If you walk fast you can get ahead. If you just walk, you stay in one place. But heaven help you if you want to stand still for a moment. Wait a minute! I know where I am...


"Just at this moment, somehow or other, they began to run.

Alice never could quite make out, in thinking it over afterwards, how it was that they began: all she remembers is, that they were running hand in hand, and the Queen went so fast that it was all she could do to keep up with her: and still the Queen kept crying `Faster! Faster!' but Alice felt she could not go faster, thought she had not breath left to say so.

The most curious part of the thing was, that the trees and the other things round them never changed their places at all: however fast they went, they never seemed to pass anything. `I wonder if all the things move along with us?' thought poor puzzled Alice. And the Queen seemed to guess her thoughts, for she cried, `Faster! Don't try to talk!'

Not that Alice had any idea of doing that. She felt as if she would never be able to talk again, she was getting so much out of breath: and still the Queen cried `Faster! Faster!' and dragged her along. `Are we nearly there?' Alice managed to pant out at last.

`Nearly there!' the Queen repeated. `Why, we passed it ten minutes ago! Faster! And they ran on for a time in silence, with the wind whistling in Alice's ears, and almost blowing her hair off her head, she fancied.

`Now! Now!' cried the Queen. `Faster! Faster!' And they went so fast that at last they seemed to skim through the air, hardly touching the ground with their feet, till suddenly, just as Alice was getting quite exhausted, they stopped, and she found herself sitting on the ground, breathless and giddy.

The Queen propped her up against a tree, and said kindly, `You may rest a little now.'

Alice looked round her in great surprise. `Why, I do believe we've been under this tree the whole time! Everything's just as it was!'

`Of course it is,' said the Queen, `what would you have it?'

`Well, in our country,' said Alice, still panting a little, `you'd generally get to somewhere else -- if you ran very fast for a long time, as we've been doing.'

`A slow sort of country!' said the Queen. `Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.

If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!"


from "Through the Looking Glass", by Lewis Carroll

Tomorrow I'll run twice as fast as this.

Monday, September 14, 2009

June Cleaver Has Left the Building

I am forgoing coffee this morning, the ticking of the clock is the music that spurs me on into the day. This morning I have another appointment with my surgeon to review the progress of my ankle on it's road to fully healed support. It looks like there is no infection anymore, it's just a big scabby, scarred mess. I'm going to ask him how soon I can get a tattoo over it just to see his reaction.

Yesterday I got a call from this year's 7th grade teacher at Jessie's school about a fieldtrip for her class. Of course I am delighted to have 20 7th graders in to see demos and make projects at the studio! This year we'll have even more to demo to them with the hotshop and the beadmaking classroom.

The rest of this past weekend was spent being June Cleaver for a varying number of seven year-old girls. We had a friend of Jessie's from Friday morning through Sunday evening while her mother was at a conference, and we also had another of her friends from midday Saturday through Sunday evening. I took the three of them to the Yellow Daisy Festival Saturday morning, but I didn't get to see any of my friends exhibiting there. I should never have started at one end thinking i could walk all the way through on my ankle. After weeks of diminished activity, my leg muscles (and ankle) were not up to walking through a 500-booth craft festival and I pooped out (as did the girls) before we made it halfway through. Later that afternoon Jessie had yet another friend over playing who also stayed for dinner. Actually, in this recitation of my Cleaverness, it would be more true to say Dave and I traded June duties as he was the one who cooked dinner on Saturday and had to deal with an ever-changing number of prospective diners ( and I just love the mental image of him in the pearls and the apron...).

The grand opening of the studio as a Bullseye Resource Center hurtles ever nearer and I still have TONS of website work, supplies and equipment wrangling, and major marketing to do. This afternoon I am meeting with Todd and Becky about another class idea Becky had for a joint fused, slumped, torchworked beads, wire-wrapped wall/window hanging or platter project. See how complicated it sounds? That's why we need to meet in person to go over it.

Now off to get ready for the doctor and on with the day.

Friday, September 11, 2009

The Week Endeth

No coffee (yet), no music, but there is Griffith Internet!


Scratch that--coffee is what Dave calls a poor man's mocha in the Chicago mug (the whipped cream was a new addition to this morning's decadence), "All I Want To Do" by Sugarland on iTunes. I realized as I typed the last four words in the first sentence of this post that though there was Internet on my and Dave's laptops, I still hadn't connected the rest of the hardlines--including the Apple TV which runs our music through the house speakers so I lumbered out of my chair (it's early, I'm sore) to finish hooking it up. Then I decided since I was up I would look at the status of the dishwasher to see if I could get it siphoned, and that led to wheedling Dave into making the coffee that I then adulterated as shown. It's all connected, doncha see.

As I was downloading the photo of this morning's coffee and yesterday's ikebana off of my iPhone I discovered a series pf photos on it that Jessie took at our Delores Taylor workshop dinner at Sugo. At first I was just going to delete them, but she had such fun playing with the light that I had to hold onto them. I particularly like this pensive shot of Licha.

Yesterday was firing, ikebana, schedule readjustment, and a long business meeting with Lori. Today is more firing, meetings with Lee and Becky, another class proposal to Oakhurst Community Gardens, and the beginnings of my casting project! Oh yes, and the last 12 pages of that pesky ARC loan paperwork and two distributor proposals to polish up. A couple of days ago a corporate gift client called to see if I could do a little project for them. Little in terms of size (and cost) of each piece--fused and slumped business card holders, but big in terms of scale--1600 of them in December. You bet! Why not? So I have to finish the slump today and shoot them off pictures of the prototype I am whumping up. Thanks, Lori, for the loan of your slump mold and showing me how you do them.

The casting project is the last item on the list because even though I have all the materials I need and I just ordered the wallpaper steamer from Amazon, this is a for-fun project and everything else on the list is for business. While I was on Amazon I noticed that they have a new option for Prime members--Saturday delivery for $2 more than overnight delivery. I think it was $2 more ($6.99 per item) but I am having such a hard time reading the font on my laptop screen this morning that I might have been mistaken.

It was good to be back in ikebana this week. It was in June that I was last able to go between show and order schedules, travel and broken leg. The picture from my iPhone is unfortunate and shows an incorrect perspective to my arrangement this week--the last arrangement before my exhibit arrangements next week that finish out the second level of my instructor training. I don't ever see myself teaching ikebana (I'm sure I'll eat those words some day), but I love the balance and insight that the activity gives my glass work and I have missed it this summer.

The Yellow Daisy Festival out at Stone Mountain started yesterday and I hope to take Jessie and her friend Maxena (who is staying the weekend with us while her mother is at a conference ) to it tomorrow. I have several friends exhibiting--some of whom I haven't seen in years. It'll be good to attend a retail show for once, as opposed to exhibiting at it!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Pirate Signal

No coffee-no beverage of any kind, just the leftover taste of toothpaste on my tongue, "Pirate Radio" by John Hiatt on iTunes for music--though not through the house speakers as *we have no network*. Last night both the router AND the DSL modem gave up the ghost. This morning I post by pirate airwaves from my neighbor's wireless. Thank heaven there are still people who don't secure their networks! Acquisition of a new modem/wireless router on the list for today. Why does everything break at once? Why can't life be compartmentalized into work and home? Why is responsibility responsibility and must-be-fixed-now must-be-fixed-now regardless of when they occur during the day? First the top on Dave's Mini, then the refrigerator water dispenser, then the dishwasher (and it still won't drain), now the home network. Don't all these things know I have a business to build?!? I need to be filling out loan forms, updating web pages, getting orders out, paying bills, putting the details on paper for my business agreement with Lori for the KGRC... I don't have TIME to keep googling how-to-fix-X so I can futz around repairing mechanical systems!

Rant over. On with the post.

Yesterday I picked up rubber and clay moldmaking supplies and tools from The Engineer guy and Daven's (and signed a couple of books for Daven's while I was there), and put together and scheduled the first Glass Bead Making For Beginner's class at the studio with Becky. Pretty ambitious as we don't even have torch set-ups yet! I am giving up my office at the studio to have a torchworking classroom. The big comfy green chair, the neutronium oak desk, the Mission file cabinet and TV stand, the mini fridge, the espresso machine, and the microwave are all going to have to be relocated--most of them not to another place in the studio as there is no more room. I am going to move to a sleek little white melamine table like I have in the home office that we'll put in the front room (the retail space). Makes sense to put retail and office together--and is also better planning to put the classroom space not in the path from the front door to the rest of the studio.

One last addition to the studio on the books for this fall--we're going to rook over the little (10X10) back deck and set it up as a plaster mixing area. The wax melt-out area will be under the back-door overhang. It'll be good to keep both those activities outside (weather permitting--I can always set-up on the screened in front-porch if it's really raining).

I have been very good lately (always?) at starting things. Now I need to get a bunch of them finished. My to-do list for today is very scary--and some things are going to have to go. I was hoping to go to Lori's this afternoon and let Jessie swim in the pool while Lori and I hammered out the final details of our business plan, but that is going to have to wait till next week. And now I have to wrap up this post--the up-and-downness of my pirate signal is driving me MAD!

PS--The calendar in the post below is interactive: Click on the arrow to go to the months after September and you'll see a whole bunch of classes with more to come soon!

PPS--Thank you to the Spouse for telling me about the above XKCD cartoon whose alt caption reads: We need a special holiday to honor the countless kind souls with unsecured networks named "linksys".

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

So Much Going On!

If ever there was a morning that deserved to begin with a steaming mug of coffee in a big Starbucks skyline mug, it's this one. Sadly, I am too stubborn and too lazy to brew it. The stubborn caused me to balk at getting back on the coffee-go-round after so successfully ridding myself of my caffeine addiction (no headaches if I don't have any). The lazy meant that I didn't go make some after I passed through stubborn and got to the realization that I could brew decaf. Ah well, on with the day.

Yesterday we poured concrete at the studio again. It wasn't much and we did it all with help from two day laborers. They also moved the mulch path that runs from the house to the studio (it was dead ending in the hotshop as it was put in before the hotshop was conceived), and installed a french drain along the back and down one side of the hotshop. Oh to heck with this--I'm going to make some decaf. BRB.

Decaf with heavy cream and a squirt of Hershey's chocolate syrup in the Chicago skyline mug, "Bad Things" by Jace Everett on iTunes. Had to use the heavy cream as it was all we had in the fridge besides 2%, and there's no way I'm going THERE. I made a whole pot so drop on by if you're in the neighborhood! The Jace Everett is in honor of my copyright violation warning on YouTube for the Glass Roll-Up video part 2. I noticed when I went there the other day that there was a link to buy the song from Amazon on the video.

I thought how great! I put the links to buy the MP3 on my posts with the songs but didn't have a way to do it through YouTube. I was disappointed, however, that only one of the songs had a link. Today I discovered that apparently YouTube sees the "ad" from Amazon as some sort of penalty. They don't take your video down, they just enable the other content to be made available for purchase. How great is that! Now what I want to know is why they don't enable you to flag it that way on the front end.

But enough coffee and music, back to the studio! (except for one more comment--I got a great version of Classical Gas live by Dave Edmunds from iTunes last night and it just came on iTunes. Wow.) Do you get the feeling it's going to be hard for me to focus today?

Yesterday I met with both Lee and Becky again to hammer out their requirements for teaching glass blowing and beadmaking in the studio. Becky, besides being my assistant extraordinaire, is the co-president of Southern Flames. We decided to outfit the studio with minor bench burners from Nortel. Becky and I spent the majority of our time on a where-the-heck-do-we-put-this-teaching-area discussion (Looks like I'm going to lose or at least have to redesign and share my office). We'll get to a class schedule later after we have equipment and ventilation sorted out.

Lee and I, however, put together the initial glassblowing class schedule through December. It's aggressive, it won't all fill, we don't care. We're going to offer very inexpensive intro workshops (ala John Phillips--thanks for the tip last week John!) and rely on our extensive experience, knowledge, material selection, and commitment to providing the best possible learning experience for our students to bring people back for more in-depth work. I made it public this morning, but you'll need to skip to next month to really see anything. I also put up the classes I'm teaching through Oakhurst Community Gardens through the end of the year (one at the gardens and two at the studio).

The grand opening of Siyeh Studio as an official Bullseye Kilnformed Glass Resource Center is set for the weekend of October 23. There's not much on the calendar before that as we frantically prepare a fully-stocked retail and fully-outfitted teaching facility. Oh yes, and I have production work to do too. Yet somehow I manage to stay calm and not overwork. Okay, enough chit-chat. Off to the studio to get a couple of kiln loads in and follow-up on my ARC loan application. (And to prepare for the imminent arrival of Ernie the Monstrocat).

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

The Tuesday That Is a Monday

Now that I'm mostly not drinking coffee, I am at a bit of a loss as to how to start my posts. I may have to give up on giving up on coffee. "Puppy Love" by Donny Osmond on iTunes. I need to give credit and plug this song as it just so perfect for the video I shot this weekend. (Story and link to video on Stranded in the South).

Now off to work--all my posting time this morning was spent on cross-species amour. More on glass later.

Friday, September 04, 2009

The Week Ends With a Bang

A 25-second before-bed post: It was a day of planning and finance. I started the day with V the bookkeeper and plotted out Quickbooks online. I ended the day applying for the ARC loan with Chase bank (let's all blow a raspberry at Wells Fargo). In the middle of the day I met with Lee and Becky and we started putting together a schedule for kilnforming, blowing and beadmaking classes in the studio starting in October (and a survey/intro class during winter break). I've already committed to teach five classes between now and the middle of December through Oakhurst Community Gardens. Finally, just as we were on our way out the door tonight I noticed I got my bi-annual royalty check from Lark today. Whoo hoo! The beat goes on.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

The Workshop Endeth

Arden's Garden pressed Hotshot juice, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag" by James Brown on the Dancing Goats sound system. I recognized that I knew the song, but I had to ask Dave what and who it was and, boy did I get a glare! Seems *everyone* should be able to recognize James Brown's music IMMEDIATELY (and know that his name is spelled without an "e" at the end). Oh well, I failed.

I began the morning by taking the fabulous Delores Taylor to the airport so she could fly home to Seattle after filling our brain cavities with pate de verre. Now I post, and then I'm going to read and nap in my comfy chair at Dancing Goats for the rest of the morning. Everyone needs a day off to not think of glass or business or glass business *at all*, and today is my day! Tomorrow I'll pick up the reins of the finances, fire loads, plan the next projects and studio undertakings (retail, classes, show display tweaks, etc.), and I'll also start working on Dave's birthday present. Heh. He'll never guess, and reading about it on the blog will drive him mad.

But back to the workshop. How was it, you ask? Mahvelous dahling. Absolutely Mahvelous. Yes, we learned lots and lots from someone who is truly a master (mistress? Mistress Delores... I like that!) at her craft. She has not only studied extensively with other masters, she has also applied herself diligently to honing both her art and her craft. The venue was also exceptional. Lori not only has a beautifully put together studio (The Glass Garage at Glass Inspirations), but she is also superb hostess and we drank and ate well (and often!).

Now for the curriculum itself... Day 1 we learned about color wedges and Delores' formula for custom blending our own colors from Bullseye powder and -01 frit. We used clay to model wedge trays that we then cast in plaster and filled with seven sample mixtures s from 5% to 100% color saturation. It was a long, incredible day and I didn't get home till almost 8:00 pm. Someone in the class had the idea of using wedge-shaped make-up sponges as the pattern for the glass wedge mold, and I thought that was genius. I liked the samples we did, but I want them BIGGER. I also want to do some sort of a reservoir system so I can get them as full as possible.

Day 2 had us taking both the mold-making and color-blending principles we had learned the day before and putting them to use in creating a bas relief tile. I used a couple of real leaves, a real allium flower, and a plastic dragonfly in a very simple arrangement--I saved complex for my vessel on day 3. Did you ever make coiled posts from clay as a kid? Well I coiled clay and curled it all around my hump mold in higgledy-piggledy swirls. All day on day 3 was spent designing, casting and cleaning out our vessel molds so we would be ready to pack them (with a paste of glass) on day 4. We did divest (break out of the mold) our tiles too an I am in love with my simple little one--the colors are so crisp, clean and saturated!

Day 4 we packed and fired, day 5 we started late with lunch and chatting, and in the late afternoon we divested our vessels and coldworked both vessels and tiles. I got a lot of the plaster out of the swirls in my vessel, but I have a lot of cleaning left to do. I also got to see first-hand evidence of the importance of packing, packing, tamping, packing the glass paste. It may look like it's a solid, even thickness, but when it fires it can shrink in in the not-so-well-packed areas and end up thinner. Clearly pate de verre is all about practice.

As I wrote in a previous post, this year is all about professional development for me--taking classes from the masters, and I have been really lucky in my choice of teachers. In many respects Delores and Linda Ethier are polar opposites (their approaches to mixing plaster, e.g.), but with both of them I could easily spend months studying with them and barely scratch the surface of their knowledge. So though my brain is full after five days, I can see great wanging holes in my knowledge that will only be filled with practice, practice, practice (and time).

Now back to my book and my nap. Tomorrow is soon enough to plan class schedules, materials lists, studio carpentry for teaching, et al.