Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tuesday Prep Day

Ginger tea--an attempt to ward off the umpteenth viral cold attack of the fall/winter season--in the Chicago skyline mug. The ticking of the breakfast room clock and the soft whoosh of the furnace for morning music. J is successfully delivered to school with Girl Scout dues, fieldtrip permission form, lunch, and umbrella in hand. The pets are sleeping snorelessly (except for the bunny who is rampaging on the front porch having spent the past couple of cold days in her cage). And I gear up for another day's fret and toil. Dave is in Austin for the week and most of the weekend...

The Siyeh Sleigh Ride is this weekend, and we begin to prepare. The glass furnace has been repaired with new elements, love, mortar, wine and pizza by Lee and Carol (Judy's husband) so we can resume Date Nights, get our roll-up order done (10 pieces for Saturday), and make more ornaments for the Sleigh Ride. As usual I find myself going in a thousand different directions at the speed of light--and whining about it. No Whining!

November is over today. It went in less than the blink of an eye--along with half of October. December, January and February really need to be slower, more thoughtful and contemplative months. Good luck with that!

Now the ginger tea is cool enough to sip so I'm going to close the post, sip the tea, and start slogging through the email and admin part of the day. Becky H. will be over later this morning to continue assembling gift packages for the Sleigh Ride--flower dishes with jewelry kits or cookies prettily wrapped together, slumped wine bottle cheese trays with cheese (the kind you don't have to refrigerate), crackers and little cheese knives all bundled up, and etched martini, margarita and wine glasses filled with chocolates. Becky has been promoted from bookkeeper to manager of retail packaging and design. :-)

Tea shmea--I want some COFFEE! But I have a sore throat--which coffee doesn't help--and we're out of coffee in any case. Maybe tomorrow if I'm good and slug down several gallons of hot tea today, thus vanquishing the cold virus.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

I Give Thanks For Two Days Off!

Before I got up this morning I asked the spouse to make me a BIG pot of coffee. Then I showered and quickly dressed in warm fuzzies as it is a cold one in Hotlanta today. Thus prepped, I opened my laptop for the first time since Wednesday night at 6:00 pm. I have been trying to figure out how long it had been since I went two days without checking email, puttering with a spreadsheet, reading the news, or any of 100 other things I do on the computer every day (blog), and I have failed. The last time has already passed out of memory. But I did it for Thanksgiving (and the day after--aptly called Black Friday as the computer screens were black) as did the spouse.

Instead of working--at all--we had two full family days with just the three of us. We read. We cooked (rather Jessie and Dave cooked), we walked, we gathered leaves and made holiday placemats. We ate, we played games and watched movies. We even went out for a double-feature yesterday "Mega Mind" and "Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows". Then we ate some more (ham, ham, ham, ham, ham, ham, ham, ham, hammity ham, ham, ham!), watched another movie, and played Carcassone before heading off to bed. What a great time out of mind/studio!

But all good things must come to an end, and when I woke this morning filled with dread at the prospect of all I had ignored, I almost regretted taking the time off. I mentally girded my loins to wade through an ENORMOUS pile of email, date night requests, voice messages, and art emergencies which I was sure had been languishing unattended for the past two days. I armed myself with the first cup of coffee and... I'm already done! In less than an hour I read or trashed all the new email (answered where appropriate), updated the Date Night calendar, and left the voicemail for Judy to pick up today at 10:00 when she gets in and the studio opens. Wow. I didn't think I'd have time to post, but here I am! Apparently everyone else also had other things on their minds than an Intimate Urban Glass Studio for the past couple of days. Boy am I not complaining.

Now off to publicize the hot ornament making opportunities we're going to have in the studio starting next Friday...

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Rollercoaster Rides On

It's a banner day here at Siyeh Studio. The new website went live yesterday, the newsletter announcing the second annual Siyeh Sleigh Ride went out last night, and the LivingSocial deal for two-for-one bead-making or kiln-forming classes went live this morning. Wheeee! No time for a long post--got to get the Access Atlanta listings done for the Sleigh Ride, the ornament making during sleigh ride (might as well set it up as its own event) and the bead-making and kiln-forming classes!

The pot furnace went down again yesterday and the new elements haven't arrived yet so we're trying a back-up plan of a crucible in my side and top firing Olympic ceramic/glass kiln. It's deep and it's built to go to the higher temps required to fire pottery. We'll see what happens. In all honesty I expect to lose the elements in it from firing it too hot, too long, but we'll see.

Okay, off to tackle the day!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Open Studio On-line Sign-up

It has been a webful week so far--and it has no sign of slowing down. Today I finished the on-line sign-up for open studio and children's studio times. Next is the November newsletter announcing the upcoming Siyeh Sleigh Ride and the open/children's studios. Then I need to do a quick website overhaul. I need to put so much stuff up on the website right now that I have decided to just put up a quick new site to handle it all instead of trying to work through a comprehensive rework of the current site right now.

The pot furnace went down last Friday night causing a cancellation of all glass-blowing dates for the weekend. Lee and Carol worked tirelessly on it Sunday and, fingers crossed, it's back up now on a band-aid and a prayer. New elements on order, and furnace options going into next year under consideration (another? bigger? smaller? electric?).

Debbie Suchy from Eclectic Galeries was in a couple of weeks ago (did I write this already?) and I am still processing her review of the studio workflow and procedures. I think the word that will drive us going forward is "tweak". Oh yes, and "incremental". Tweaking the existing processes to optimize them and making incremental changes in the business of the studio. It's a great theory anyway. Hope I can live up to it.
Now off to newsletter!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Online Date Night Form Created!

Oh Sergei Brin, we love you. First you brought us Google, then Google calendars, then Google Docs (and let's not forget GMail!). Now we have... Forms!

Open Studio Policy

• Available to anyone who has taken an Introductory Kiln-Forming Class at Siyeh Studio or who has been cleared for proficiency by Brenda (the Head Kilnformatrix).

• You supply all your own materials, we supply the tools. We require that you purchase the glass you use in Open Studio from us so we can continue to offer this Great Deal to the glass community. Use of some coldworking equipment is available for an additional charge.

• No charge for normal firings if worked into our regular schedule. Firing on demand and special firing schedules available starting at $10.

• No instruction is provided during open studio. Brenda is happy to dispense technical advice and answer questions if she is in and her hair is not on fire. Otherwise private classes are available more detailed instruction.

• Space is extremely limited. Please see our on-line calendar for current availability.

• Cost is $5 per hour with time purchased on an Open Studio card. Open Studio cards are $50 and expire one year from purchase. (They can be shared between two people.)

• Allow us to improve your experience by being ready for you--ADVANCE RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. Please, no later than the prior day.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Once a Year for the Holidays!

Children's Studio is our once-a-year before-the-holidays event during which we open the studio to children (and their adults). It is their chance to come in and make beautiful kiln-formed ornaments, dishes, plates, etc.--perfect gifts for all the Grammas, Grampas, Uncle Joes and Aunt Fannys in the family.

• Suitable for ages 6-10 with parent supervision. Responsible, focused children 10 and up may be dropped off. Irresponsible and/or unfocused children will be given a shot of espresso and a puppy and sent home.

• No prior kiln-forming experience is required.

• All materials, tools and kiln firing provided. The glass is our mixed studio frit (crushed glass), scrap glass, and a clear blank for the base. Additional glass is available for purchase.

• Space is extremely limited and advance registration is required.

Monday, November 08, 2010

New Week, New Wonders, New Woes

Welcome to a New Week! I start of the week with a meeting for the Waldorf Holiday Fair (happening this Saturday from 10-4) as I am the grade 3 holiday fair rep. Then it's off to another meeting with my insurance agent to review the studio coverage and make sure I have adequate coverage for everything we're doing--and everyone working in the studio. By afternoon I should be on to the creative part of the day--juggling what will go in what kiln and casting the first award slab. (And beginning to build the mummy's tomb for the holiday fair).

Biggest project of the day--mummy's notwithstanding is--the award slabs which aren't exactly eating my lunch, but they are stretching my brain in ways it doesn't usually (and tries hard not to) go. In a nutshell, it's too early (in the day, the week, my life) for specific gravity. Last night it was too early for some water-quantity divination (the formula for how much water to use and then how much plaster/silica flour to mix in). I don't remember it being so difficult, but it has been awhile since the last time I built molds. My notes (from Linda Ethier and Bullseye) require lots of weighing and multi-decimal numbers (and decimal points too!) to figure things out. Sigh.

If you have little artists in your house, next time they ask you why they have to do all that dumb math, and confidently state that they'll never use it, send them my way. I've gone from having to muck around with sin and cosine in order to make an angled stained glass window to discounting and repricing product (percentages) to this whole volume, weight and specific gravity thing. When it comes to math, I know I'm not smarter than a 5th grader.

New milestone in the studio today--got the first call from a wife who wanted to verify that her husband and his girlfriend had been in for a date night in the hotshop. They had. :-(

Sunday, November 07, 2010

The Frabjous Day

Caloo Calay it's my favorite day! When I was young, my favorite day was Christmas or my birthday (whichever was closer). It was all about the "stuff". But now that I am older and wiser, today is my favorite day. Oh it's still about the presents, but today I (as do we all) get a gift that can never be purchased and cannot be given any other day of the year. Today I get the gift of time--one extra hour of it to be precise. I take this gift and I revel in it, I luxuriate in it, I roll around in it and hug it to myself... and I inevitably squander it. Ah well, all good things must come to an end--even time.

Today is another class day in the studio--kilnformed glass ornaments from 1-3, and we have a full glass blowing date slate starting at 10:00 and going till 9:00 tonight. That long time is not as impressive as it sounds as we only do three dates per day (which uses the max amount of melted glass we can have in the furnace in a given day). It's also a casting day for me--plaster today, glass tomorrow for the first of a series of thick slab awards I am doing this month--and a fusing/slumping day for gallery orders. I can think of a couple more things I would like to add to today but 1) it IS Sunday (not a workday for me), and 2) an extra hour only gets you so much.

Maybe when I am even older and wiser I will be ready to forgo both stuff AND time. One can hope.