Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Montana Roll-Up

Another late night posting. I thought about doing the beverage and song, but the India Spice tea has begun giving me heartburn so I'm giving it a pass, and nothing has taken it's place. I am listening to Ernie purr and dodging disgruntled paws with sharp claws attached to a feline who can't understand why my fingers are on the keyboard instead of stroking his supreme majesty. (Ow! Those claws are SHARP!)

Three more roll-ups done today. We are working on a new roll-up technique that is significantly different enough from the Australian roll-up to merit its own name--I give you (drum roll please), the Montana roll-up! Yes, we're in Atlanta Georgia, but we're a studio named for a place in Montana--besides, the Atlanta roll-up makes me think of a fleabag rent-by-the-hour motel. The Montana roll-up sounds more... romantic and dashing. Pics soonish.

Things turns out to be a pretty amazing piece of software. It's not on the level of the Kindle or the iPhone for life-changingness, but it's pretty great. (Ernie has decided that if I won't put my hands on him, he'll put his head on the side of the laptop and snooze for awhile.) I was so inspired by it (and disheartened by the amount of effort that it takes to use the automated ordering spreadsheet that I laboriously created to manage my Bullseye glass and equipment sales) that I started the search for another piece of software--an affordable, feature-rich point-of-sale (POS) application for the Mac. You'd think I'd asked for a sliver from the true cross. Intuit wants $1,900 for the software and hardware periperals, and their app doesn't even run on a Mac! I am testing Checkout now--and it won't cause me to mortgage Jessie if I decide to get it. Dave has made the obligatory offer to write me a POS, but I thought I'd really try to find an easy commercial solution system before throwing myself on his programming mercy.

The Buyer's Market is now 11 days away (gack!). I really need to get started on the work for it. Heck, I need to get a list made OF the work for it! Tomorrow (yawn).

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Meh (2)

Today I drove over 300 miles and stapled the better part of 3000 staples. I am tired to my marrow--I shot right on past tired to my bones. Tomorrow morning I need to be in the studio by 8:00 to get the rollup-slabs loaded into the pick-up kiln so we can do two roll-up pieces for the Buyer's Market tomorrow afternoon. V is coming to work on the studio books, Dee is coming to get some glass and to plot and plan, I need to get with Mike on website updates--I am getting embarrassingly behind on both websites, and I have two orders to fire. Wow do I suddenly feel even more tired.

I have not been my usual motivated, happy, perky self for the past couple of weeks. Dallas really took it out of me, and nothing seems able to put it back in. Everyone keeps asking if I'm ok, and initially I'm mildly surprised at the question, but then I realize that I'm being asked because my glass is clearly half-full. Oh I'm not depressed or anything, I just have no positive expectations. Todd asked me on the way back from Greenville today who I would have dinner with if I could have dinner with anyone living or dead. I thought about it for a couple of minutes and replied "No one." When asked why not, I said that the dinner would never be able to live up to my expectations for it so it was better to leave it as a dream and not be disappointed by the reality. Todd looked at me as if I had lost my mind and I realized that the attitude exemplified by that answer is pretty much a constant state for me right now...

But, but, but the Buyer's Market is in two weeks! I need to be at the top of my game for it! The detox at Kashi Yoga starts this Friday (Thursday night) and even though I gave up alcohol and caffeine almost a week ago in anticipation of it, I am afraid I'm too blah to do it. Maybe a quiet normal week next week while Dave is in Austin would be more effective at improving my state than ghee for breakfast and a hefty dose of cod liver oil at the end of the week.

Now a little House on the Apple tv and an earlyish night.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Kerfluffling Zen Rats

Yellow Dog Democrat loose leaf tea in the New York skyline mug, "The Bell" by Sons & Daughters on iTunes. It's 9:20 on Friday evening and I ensconce cozily on the couch with Ernie the Monstrocat to post (Ernie's not posting tonight--he had a big day lounging). It's been three days since I last posted and I am all kerfluffled (kerfluffled, adj., from transitive verb kerfluffle; to discombobulate or throw out of whack). A quick side note: I would love to know where that word originated. I have long used it and finally got around to googling it tonight to find out how others use/spell it. Apparently January is the month to be kerfluffled or kerfuffered as it already showed up in two other blogs earlier this month. There are also several political articles/comments/blogs that use the word--including an AP story quoting W... now doesn't that reference just pee in my bean curds? But I digress... (what can I say? I'm kerfluffled!) (And a last digression--doesn't google make it easy to lose yourself down a rat hole and become kerfluffled? How many hours have YOU lost chasing down some obscure factoid or word?)

The week had two speeds: slooooow and ws (that's warp speed to you, but it passed so fast I didn't have time to type it all out). On Tuesday I had glimmers of getting both caught up AND organized (GTD to the max)... then I drove back to Atlanta on Wednesday--no post (can't post and drive doncha know), and Thursday and today were screaming rollercoaster days that I just (barely) managed to live through--with no posting till now.

Tonight I breathe again, and I try to recapture some of the Zen calm (thanks to Wikipedia I didn't descend too far into the maelstrom of the rat hole on that one) and focus from Tuesday. I am both exhilarated and terrified by the prospect of a to do list "with projects with details and dates and notes". Tahmi got me all excited about the Trog bar (who wouldn't go for Total Relaxed Organization?) but it's Windows only. Thank heavens Geri came along with Things for the Mac (which has projects with details and dates and notes). So I downloaded it (free trial), and installed it. Now shall we take bets as to whether getting everything I have to do written down so I can see it in one place makes me feel better or sends me off the deep end?

Tomorrow is Lori's Grand Opening of her Glass Inspirations KGRC, Todd, Brian and I will be there for support. Tomorrow night is my Ichiyo chapter annual dinner and I have donated a roll-up nageire vase to the silent auction. Need to get a pic up of it before it goes. Tomorrow my mother goes home--she stayed to Do Dallas with me--and our house will be occupied again by only the three original humans, two dogs, a cat, a rabbit and a hamster.

Time to meditate. (Detox starts next Friday--play the video.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Good Things Come

Yesterday afternoon at 4:30 a woman with an herb store came in and bought two wall pieces, two stand pieces, and two bowls so I made my expenses for the show. Whew! Just goes to show that it's never really over till it's over (good call, Geri). Today, the last day of the show, is really, really, REALLY slow. The parking lot was so empty we parked at the edge of the lot and walked over to the show--and we didn't get here till an hour and a half after the show opene(almost 10:00 am). Further proof that there is no one here is that there was no one (really, not one single person) in the Starbucks line ahead of us. Guess that means there wasn't a line.

Getting a lot done this morning. Got electricity for the Buyer's Market ordered from Hargrove--tomorrow is the deadline and they FINALLY redid their online ordering system so you don't have to have Internet Explorer as your browser. Their new site is clean, fast and excellent. The only trick to using it is that you have to click on the word "Select" to the left of the show name for the show for which you are ordering. (Never end a sentence with a preposition is one of those rules I struggle to break every day. Today I lost the struggle.) Now I just need to get Todd and John's plane tickets (and co-ordinate with Dee on the times so they can all share a cab). I'll be driving. *sigh*

And speaking of getting things done (GTD for those in the know), Geri commented on the Geekgasms post that she was looking for a good to-do list app so I went on a Google hunt this morning just to see what I could see and ended up here. The blog has the Zen word in the title (which always pulls me in--my life could use a bit more Zen and a bit less Stuff) and I just kept opening links. I discovered GTD, and like the kid in the candy store I found a page with the following links:

  1. 10 Benefits of Rising Early, and How to Do It
  2. 20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life
  3. Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life
  4. The Cheapskate Guide: 50 Tips for Frugal Living
  5. A Guide to Creating a Minimalist Home
  6. 10 Tasty, Easy and Healthy Breakfast Ideas
  7. 50 Ways to Be Romantic on the Cheap
  8. 30 Things to Do to Keep From Getting Bored Out of Your Skull at Work
  9. Get Off Your Butt: 16 Ways to Get Motivated When You’re in a Slump
  10. Top 42 Exercise Hacks
  11. Handbook for Life: 52 Tips for Happiness and Productivity
  12. Simple Living Simplified: 10 Things You Can Do Today to Simplify Your Life
  13. Top 20 Motivation Hacks – An Overview

Oh the scrumptious heaven of the perfect How Tos! As I sit in my late 40's, the promises of lose weight, flatten my tummy, firm my thighs, remove my crow's fee, fill in my tiny lines and wrinkles, look younger, and have healthy, shiny hair just don't cut it anymore. But simplify, minimalist, productivity, GTD... those words sing my siren song. Add the idea of stream-of-consciousness (i.e., seat-of-the-pants) to organization and I just couldn't be happier. nothing is more seductive than the lure of an empty in-box, a clean desk-top, and no unfiled papers. 2010 might be a good time to re-do the way I do to-do lists!

Monday, January 18, 2010


Grande mocha in a Starbucks go-cup, if Dave were here I would know what music I'm listening to as he would hold up his iPhone and use the app that grabs a sample of the song and identifies it for you. I don't have that app--not enough space on my iPhone. Whatever. It's not a memorable song anyway.

Not to be a whiner, but this is both the longest and the slowest show I have ever done. Is that fair? I don't mind long, and I don't mind slow (heaven knows), but to combine them both in the same show is beyond cruel. I took the one order for one piece on Friday (Thursday?) and that's been it--and today's not even the last day! I am on till tomorrow at 6:00 pm when I can pack up and get the heck out of Dodge.


I took a break from blogging to chat (on the phone. I hate talking on the phone--even the iPhone) with Lori about her grand opening this weekend and then with Dee about her new collaborative line (that she will be working on in my studio this Thursday and Friday), getting my Hargrove exhibition services order in by Wednesday, buying airline tickets for Todd and John for the BMAC by Wednesday (I'm driving), and about the dicroic jewelry class she is TAing for me the end of February. Then I got back to my spreadsheet-making.

I'm trying to extend my docs to include electronic order forms that automatically calculate the cost of all sheet glass, frit, rods, etc., in an order based on customer type. If you've ever seen Bullseye's price catalog and the maze of tables that you have to go through to order and figure out pricing, you can guess how daunting this task would be. They don't even offer a blank paper table like it to use as their order form--too complicated. But I love a challenge, creating spreadsheets always lifts my spirits, and it so quiet here today that I need something (anything) to make the time go faster.

Let's try to make a long story short as I'm sure none of you have the time on your hands that I do right now, and you probably have things to do other than read about my geekgasms. So here it is. I have long struggled with a way to easily turn a table so that the columns become the rows and vice versa. You know, flip the axes without having to retype in all the data. Well today Google saved me! I searched for "flip columns and rows in Excel" and got the answer--and it's a simple Copy, Paste Special-Transpose! OMG. Life will never be the same. This is as big for me as the Kindle or the iPhone. Really.

Now I have to get back to playing with it. (Was it good for you?)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Dallas That Won't End

What the heck am I doing posting on a Saturday night? I am bored and restless out of my mind, that's what. Were I not a professional, I would already have packed up and been gone from Dallas but for the dust. But I am a professional, I can't leave the showroom with an empty front window in the middle of the show, so I spend my days getting in touch with my inner spreadsheeter and chafing to go home. Real home. Home to Atlanta, not home to the Radisson from where I am posting and watching Miss Congeniality 2... and listening to a car alarm going off in the parking lot... repeatedly. (Just called the front desk and they are sending a security guard out to check on it before I go mad and drop a brick on it from the 7th floor.)

I never thought I would overload on spreadsheeting, but the last two days have taxed even me. 9-6 with breaks only for lunch and bathroom--and the occasional chat with someone who thinks my work is beautiful but it's too expensive or, or, or. Whatever. Tonight was the last Saturday night I had to fight my way through Dallas market parking lot traffic. Yea me.

It's 10:00 pm and I'm scrolling through the program guide and it's amazing--the same programs that were on at 8:00 pm (and 7:00 pm) are now on again at 10:00 and it looks like many of them were also on at 9:00. Television has changed since I last watched it. It used to be that every hour had a different show. Now it seems like many channels have the same shows repeating over and over. Oh maybe they aren't the same episodes of Law and Order or CSI: Miami, but those are the only shows on those channels for the entire night. Other channels have a couple of movies and they run one, then the other, then the first one again--or maybe the same one back to back (I could be watching Miss Congeniality 2 again, instead I'm catching the tail end of Ocean's 13. I saw the last half of it last night on the same channel, and the first 10 minutes of it earlier tonight before I switched to Miss Congeniality 2. Looks like it'll be on again tomorrow. Lucky me.

What does this have to do with glass? It shows the glamor of life on the road for the production artist. Lean Cuisine frozen dinners stashed in the hotel fridge, Nobilo Sauvignon Blanc too. Mom already snoring gently in the other bed, worn out from sitting around all day.

Tomorrow I need to move on from spreadsheets to newsletter, class descriptions and schedule, updating the mailing list, and pushing all that info out into the world (yes, Dee, that means going over the dicro jewelry class materials and hammering that out... finally ;-)

After a half hour sucked into Jim Carrey's movie "Yes Man" I have sunk as low as I can go and must turn off the evil box and go to sleep. I almost find myself wishing for a zombie uprising or something to liven things up...

Friday, January 15, 2010


I wrote too soon about the great connectivity at the Dallas Market yesterday. Today is the first day of the temp shows and the network is again saturated. Guess my window for Internet work was yesterday. Today it takes everything forever to load--thank heaven posting just means getting the window up once and then typing away. Looks like a good day to write-up class descriptions and finish price lists with built-in formulae. That latter project is a doozy.

I started this post by typing in all the details of why creating price lists is so difficult, but then after two mind-numbing, eye-glazing paragraphs I realized all I was doing was stroking my inner spreadsheet geek ego and losing readers. So 'nuff said. It's VERY complicated. I did (mostly) create all of the pricelists before I opened my studio for retail supplies, but I gave up about 3/4 of the way through because I got overwhelmed (four spreadsheets with 10 worksheets each, three look-up spreadsheets with 3- 9 worksheets each, all of it linked and cross-linked so I can update them easily... Yeah, good luck with that!--and here I need to shut-down that inner geek again).

Also need to get in my Bullseye order today and pay them for the last order--I am ordering thick and fast these days. Wish I were selling thick and fast too, but the Buyer's Market is coming and I pin my hopes there.

Okay, enough procrastinating--time to work. I feel very uninteresting in this, the beginning of 2010. Maybe it's because January is a grey month so I feel grey--all my warmth and vitality hoarded inside to keep from losing it to winter's chill. Or maybe I'm getting into a rut and need to shake up my business and thereby shake up my posts (I felt my spouse's heart attack clear from Atlanta and heard the reverberating thunder of his shouted NO!). Okay, no shaking. Calm, still, reflective, catch-up. Man that's hard (and boring!).

Thursday, January 14, 2010

I Have Connectivity!

Good afternoon from Dallas! Internet connectivity has picked up and I have a steady strong signal today. Whoo hoo! However it's still not enough of an incentive to get me to stay in the showroom for another year, nor is the order I took today (surprise, surprise!). It was from a gallery (jewelry store) in Tombstone Arizona and when they asked me if I did ACRE and I said yes, they were dumbfounded that they didn't see my work there last year... Glad the booth that required the most set-up time EVER was so memorable. It's very good that we're moving to a new, clean layout this year.

Traffic has been pretty good today, but I don't feel I'm seeing anyone I would court that I won't also see in Philly or Las Vegas. The few people I have talked to have been either decorators (and I'm not looking to move into that market after all) or little localish store owners (nurseries, eg.) and the business I get from them doesn't warrant the cost of the show.

Now if I were in lighting, this would be the place to be--and maybe of my neighbors in the showroom carry lighting. This is, by all accounts, THE show for lighting. Maybe if I move more into the sconce arena (not an immediate goal--though I have tossed the idea around before).

So my goal is to work on my websites for the next *five* days I have to be at this show. I have class lists, class descriptions and schedules to create for, and gallery lists, articles about upcoming shows and new work to write up for I also have my Kindle and an Internet connection (and my Mom). What more could I ask for?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Dallas Day 1

Hello from the World Trade Center in Dallas! I sit in my permanent showroom with sporadic internet access and contemplate my navel. The showroom is beautiful, the manager Amy is wonderful, the other exhibitors are friendly, professional and have gorgeous work... but it's just not happening for me. I might change my mind by the weekend, but right now I do not feel that a showroom geared toward interior decorators is a good match for me.


The day is over, we're back at the hotel, and I am ready to fall into my eyelids. Given the crappy bandwidth at the WTC, I am going to post in the mornings from now on. As in tomorrow. G'night already.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Geyser Peak sauvignon blanc in a hotel wine glass. We're here. We're exhausted. Did 780 miles without more than 10-minute breaks for gas. More tomorrow.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Post! A Post! My Kingdom For a Post!

The day is almost done, and it was a doozy. Met Bill and Elaine this morning in Commerce to exchange artwork (glass for steel) and to plan our layout and logistics for the February Buyer's Market. Had to drive D's Mini Cooper (I know--big sacrifice) as D took my minivan into the shop this morning to get the front end aligned and the tires balanced before my trip to Dallas tomorrow. After an intense planning session in Commerce, headed back to Coldlanta and met Mike for a confab about the Siyeh Glass website. Much goodness was decided upon there, too, and when I left to pick up the Mom-in-law and the small child from their mani-pedis, I was feeling quite satisfied with the progress of the day.

Next was a whirlwind packing job at the studio to get a big order out, a review of Lori's glass order for her grand opening at Glass Inspirations later this month, and lists and forms for Judy to manage whilst I am gone. Finished the day with a consult with Lee over the state of the glass furnace (it failed last week and we feared the worst--a broken crucible and glass fused all over the elements and the bottom). We were *very* lucky and it was just a blown element which was rapidly replaced with an old one and which we will update with a new one as soon as I get back.

Now, exhausted and toasty from a couple of glasses of wine, I make my way upstairs for bed with a seriously diminished to do list and a happy heart. More from Dallas and the World Trade Center there as the week progresses.

Thursday, January 07, 2010


Man you just can't go on the net these days without running into me ;-) ! Today I got the winter newsletter from Kashi Atlanta and I'm in a movie! I remember being interviewed last year at the beginning and the end of the detox, but when I didn't see anything done with it I forgot about it. Now, hey, there I am and all enthusiastic and everything. Is it a coincidence that the winter detox falls smack in the middle of time I will be home from Dallas and not gone to Philly yet and can therefore do it? Will my husband divorce me if I do? I was just talking to a friend last night about getting together once a week for yoga at Kashi and she was all about it. I also extolled the virtues of ghee for breakfast (lots and lots and LOTS of ghee!) and though my audience all looked slightly ill, I was reminded of just how energizing and satisfying nothing but melted clarified butter for breakfast can be. The universe aligns.

The only other alignment of the universe yesterday was that the oxygen tanks came in time for the beadmaking class last night. The glass order from Bullseye didn't come--it was held up in Salt Lake City for weather and will be delivered today. I used up the last of my glass on orders yesterday and am looking forward to being able to do new work today in time for my buyer visits on Sunday. The glass furnace is also on the fritz--Lee thinks one of the elements might be out--and he started cooling it down yesterday to take it apart today. I don't envy him--it's still only 29 degrees out there (and, no, Bill, not Celsius!).

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

I'm In the Conversation!

As many days as I missed in December, I'm entitled to post twice today. Imagine my surprise when Lori called me and told me to quick look at the Bullseye Glass website. I don't remember signing a photo release... ;-) (actually, come to think of it, I do!)

It's a blast from the BECon past with me, Lori, Linda, and Gabriela.


I sit and mentally debate the wisdom and effort of the concept of coffee. Meh. Too much. I'll wait till Dave gets home Fridy night and can make it for me again. I contemplate turning on the Apple tv and listening to 93XRT, Radio Chicago (as I did all day yesterday), but, again, too much effort. I languish. But not for long.

Today sees a glass delivery from Bullseye, finalization of travel arrangements for the Dallas Market show next week, a few orders fused, fleshing out of plans started yesterday for the February Buyer's Market so I can be ready for my meeting with Bill and Elaine in Commerce on Monday, preparations for a visit from Laurie Dickson of the Museum of Fine Arts Boston this Sunday, the mortgage refinanced... yeah, I'm slowing down alright. *sigh*

It's 21 degrees in Atlanta right now but I no longer feel the cold. I'm wearing a heavy cotton mid-length-sleeved shirt, two sweaters and fleece slippers (I have pants on too, but they're nothing out of the ordinary). A nap sounds really good, but it's time to head to the studio (where two sweaters are a necccessity) and get to work. Yeah. I'll crank up the iPod, dance around a bit, make a cup of chai latte with the tassimo machine, and all will be right with my world again.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

How Can I Already be Exhausted?

Ice-cold milk in a tall glass, Todd and Jessie chatting over pizza for music. I posted so much yesterday that I deserve a rest today. Besides, it's tired, I'm late... and I'm clearly a single mother again (Dave is in Austin for the week). *sigh*

Monday, January 04, 2010

Goals--The Posting Triofecta!

This post, too, I began over a week ago, and though I've already posted twice this morning, I'm going to make it a trifecta today and be back caught up for tomorrow. The final big topic for the turning of the year is goals. What are worthy goals for the upcoming year? Let's start with analyzing the major activities and components of the studio--shows, showrooms, representation, partnerships, production work, retailing supplies, marketing, hosting events, and teaching--and go from there.

Shows: I like doing shows well enough, but I am beginning to question their value. Clearly the state of the economy last year had a negative impact on show revenue, but long-time show artists have noted a steady decline in the return on investment (ROI) for shows since their heyday in the early 90's. My comparative data (for wholesale shows) doesn't go that far back, but I do feel that big the buyers I used to see a few years ago have either cut back on the show attendance or eliminated some shows altogether. (One of my best buyers from the northeast that I met at the Buyer's Market several years ago asked me recently if I was doing the Atlanta show this year because she won't see me in Philly--the hop-skip-and-jump airfare is too high.) If I want to promote my new work to her and to others I won't see at my shows, I am going to need to do some other marketing be it advertising in magazines, or putting together a print or digital catalog/mailer, and totally revamping my website (has it been two years already?). But I don't really have the time, money, or energy to do both shows and heavy marketing.

So what to do? Well, for starters I will do only three shows this year. I am not doing either Dallas or Atlanta again (well I will be doing Dallas as I have the showroom there and I am required to be in it during major markets). I am not adding either the One Of a Kind wholesale show in New York, or the New York Gift Show, or the George Little show in Chicago. I will carefully evaluate the shows I am still doing (the Buyer's Market in February and August and ACRE in June), and I will consider not doing any of them next year.

Shows cost me about $5,000 each to do--that's almost $15,000 a year between booth fees, storage, drayage of materials to and from shows, exhibition fees, hotel, meals, airfare, etc. And I don't even count the physical and mental toll, or the lost production time in the studio. If the revenue I see from a show is $10,000 or under, then I am spending 100% of my marketing/business growth budget for less than 30% of my annual income--bad ROI. (Sit ROI, stay ROI.) I can't help but feel a little judicious, targeted, less taxing traveling to galleries combined with magazine advertising, print and digital media and mailings would cost a heck of a lot less for the same revenue received

Permanent showroom: I will end my presence in the showroom at the Dallas World Trade Center--it was a failed experiment and not just because of the environment. My business model is not geared towards working with the decorator/designer market directly and that's not where I wish to put my energy.

Representation: I am not interested in any of the opportunities that I was presented in the past year for wholesale representation of my work. While at first pass it looks attractive to have someone repping your work to stores, galleries and decorators, I would rather both make the first impression and set the expectations for the relationship myself (Control Freaks R Us). As for representation to the decorator market, again, not my target demographic. Too high-maintenance, too much effort for wholesale work. Designers essentially take the same time and effort as clients for regular commissions, but they pay between wholesale and retail as they charge their clients retail and are paid themselves with the difference. Not worth my time.

Partnerships: I love producing collaborative work with other artists and want to maintain this component of the business. I am both stimulated by their work to create new work of my own, and I'm also able to produce a lot more quality work because I am not responsible for 100% of it.

Last year brought me four new partnerships--two in my own studio, the third with another studio-owner, and the fourth with my local Community Gardens. First I have Lee Ritchie running the hotshop, teaching all the glassblowing classes, and producing all my roll-up work. I also have Brian Renoud maintaining the torchwork classroom and teaching the beadmaking classes. Both of these have been rewarding beyond my wildest expectations. I love the stimulation of other people in the studio doing their own thing--great energy, and I also appreciate being able to offer more learning opportunities and more studio work than I would be able to do on my own. Lee and Brian are both completely reliable and responsible and dedicated to growing their individual components of our teaching facility.

The third partnership with Lori Schinelli for the Bullseye kilnglass resource center (KGRC) is just really getting going now. Though I opened Siyeh Glass Resource Center in October, Lori's portion of our KGRC opens the 23rd of this month. I look forward to seeing a revenue jump from her classes (more on that under retailing supplies below).

Lastly, as part of my new Resource Center initiative I partnered with the Oakhurst Community Gardens to teach classes through them in November and December. All but one of the classes were offered in my studio/resource center, but the OCG did all the advertising on their website, collected the fees, etc., and just paid me based on the number of participants. There were a few kinks to work through, but I think we've got it down now and I look forward to teaching more for them in the spring.

Production work: Even though I love working with other artists, it's time this year to get back to expanding my own individual work not just in terms of new colorways and piece styles, but in new production series (coming this year: the mosaic series and production roll-ups!). This past year I noticed I have a skewed vision of my income because it included all the collaborative income. While I don't have to make 100% of the work in my collaborative work I also don't make 100% of the income. Once V is caught up on last year's books it will be interesting for me to see if my sales are increasing , stable or decreasing when I factor out the income from the portion of the collaborative work that isn't mine.

For collaborative work, I am also dependent on the production schedules of my partners. If they're booked for production and I'm not, I have to turn down or push back work (and, therefore, revenue)--not something I can afford to do right now. So if I spend all my energy (as I have done in the past couple of years) developing and showing new collaborative work, I am effectively maximizing sales of that work and minimizing sales of work that's 100% my own.

Retailing Supplies: Now that I have a permanent part-time employee, I like having a studio with regularly-scheduled open hours. And it makes me feel less guilty about having an employee to work on the mindless parts of my production work (and to make me consider taking on new series work that has a higher proportion of mindless work than my other series). Though the retail aspect of the business has yet to bring in any noticeable revenue I expect that situation to change when we are teaching more and when Lori is up and running and churning out those beginner classes.

Marketing: This year I am still working on marketing in the cheap. I can't afford to invest a lot (much at all) when I still have three shows to pay for and a bad year to recover from. But I will get the websites for both the studio and the resource center running smoothly and being updated frequently.

Hosting events: Last year I ended the year with two artist open houses in December and the beginning of Date Night in the hotshop. I was really pleased with both endeavors and look forward t expanding both concepts this year. It was good to have people in to the studio to shop, schmooze and nosh for the Sleigh Rides (artist open houses) and I would like to see us do another one before Mother's Day/Graduation/the summer art fair season. Date Night has been wildly popular with participants and I have expanded it to include not only wine, cheese and chocolate but also a slideshow on cd-rom memento of the evening and an after-date treat at the Chocolate Bar (through another partnership I am currently working on). Now we need to get Date Brunch in the Hotshop and Date Nights in both kilnforming and torchworking available.

Teaching: I knew I was going to love teaching glass. The positive feelings I had from writing the book, working with the Waldorf 7th graders, hosting open studio in 2008 and 2009, and teaching one-on-one were only reinforced by the workshops I did through OCG and I very much look forward to teaching more regularly next year. Speaking of which, someone called from Delphi about teaching a woprkshop or two there this year... better get on that.

2009 in Review More... and Stress

A mocha in a to-go cup from Kavarna to drink, the ticking of the cloak and the snoring of Ernie the Monstrocat, asleep on the couch next to me, for music. Is the juxtaposition of these two sounds paradoxically philosophical, or philosophically paradoxical or do I just like the sound of those words together and have no idea what the hell I'm talking about? The ticking of the clock goads me to think of all the tasks I have waiting for me when I finish posting (now that the holidays are over and it's back to studio as usual). Ernie's snoring makes me think of the goals I have been working on for the new year--a major one of which is to take it easier and slow down a bit.

The last 2-3 weeks have been time out of time for me. The week before Christmas I pretty much gave up on worrying about the things I didn't have done, planning of any kind, and juggling finances (that phrase can be understood to mean gave up on worrying about all three of them or gave up on worrying about the first one and doing the next two--both interpretations are valid). I stopped blogging (and boy did I hear about THAT!). I slept late and played Dragon Age on XBox till the wee small hours. I blew glass in the hotshop for the sheer joy of doing it (and for Christmas presents). I had a massage and a pedicure, went to a couple of movies, had dinner with friends, played lots of Race for the Galaxy with Dave and took naps. I didn't read as much as I would have liked, but that's maybe my only treasured activity in which I didn't indulge.

Throughout all, the house was full of family and pets, and chaos reigned. Yet I slept all night every night--no 4:00 am wakefulness--and I didn't dread the next day... ever. Yesterday, in contrast, I dreaded the looming week, slept poorly (partially from the knowledge that I had to be up at 6:00 to take Dave to the airport), and felt weighed down by the world. I was initially puzzled this morning on my way back from the airport by my stress level. I mean, I could understand my reaction if I had a job I hated and was having to go back to it after vacation. But I have ostensibly got myself into a position where I love what I do, do only what I love, and do it at my own pace. What could be so stressful about that?

Then I had a revelation. Nothing had changed in my situation but my internal, unconscious response to it. Over the past year I have became so accustomed to fighting through every day that the need to gird my loins against anticipated stress and demand has become second nature. Without any conscious effort on my part at all my preparation for a normal day includes fretting and anxiety about... everything. If I go on like this, I am setting myself up to be unhappy and to fail this year.

Life has not changed with the end of vacation. Yes, we all have to get up for school and work again (no more Dragon Age on weeknights till 2:00 am), but I like and look forward to the things I do in a day as much now as I did during the break. There is no reason for dread. Dread is a knee-jerk reaction learned from the overscheduling and overcommitments of last year. That was then, this is now, and I AM going to slow down this year. I bit off way too much last year and some things need to be scaled back (ya think?).

Clearly my body is trying to tell me something, and I'm going to listen to it as I plan my goals for 2010. Really.