Friday, December 31, 2010

Hau'oli Makahiki Hou!

In the better-late-than-never category, I am finally getting around to posting that Siyeh Glass is going to be featured in a a spot on ESPN tonight during the Chick-Filet-A Bowl. They came by and filmed us yesterday as one of the Hot Spots in Atlanta on New Year's Eve. I am particularly excited to see how the filming turns out as we had to do it all without a glass furnace! The little pot furnace went down again Wednesday morning--another element burned through (one of the three new elements I just purchased) and yet another one looks like it's going to go soon (there's a blob of drizzled glass/muck on it).

I am continually amazed at how blessed I am by my Village (you know, the village that it takes to raise a child or support a glass studio owner). Yesterday while I was on a plane winging back from Hawaii, Lee, Carol, Austin, Amy and Brian were working out how to pick up pre-warmed (1000 degree) cullet on a blowpipe from the pick-up oven and melt it in the gloryhole for blowing out. Judy was decorating up a storm with all the New Year's bling we got for our New Year's Date Nights--and then Judy and Carol evened starred as our kiln-forming date couple inside. I arrived 20 minutes before the ESPN team--just enough time to put on make-up, change clothes, and check everything out. As I had been more or less awake for 26 hours at that time I *think* everything went well... We'll see tonight.

As we here in the Griffith household do not have live tv, we will be watching the game (or maybe just the commercials :-) on ESPN's live streaming sports page. I am relying on the kindness of strangers--or at least geeky friends--to get a copy of the spot so we can put it on our website. Oh hey, It's almost game time! Got to run. If you miss it, I think it will be on the replays page on ESPN3 tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

And It Begins Again

I am in Hawaii--hence the great amount of time since my last post. The pic of the sea turtle at right was taken by the J on our first day here. Tonight at 10:00 we begin the long journey back to Atlanta--where I understand there is still some snow in the shade--and to the the studio where I further understand that the glass furnace went down AGAIN last night. Apparently the new lower element fried. We had to cancel/reschedule all our glass blowing dates AGAIN for the next several days--including the New Year's Eve special that I just spent another $80 advertising.

All of the above is business as usual and part of the everyday peril of the small business owner's life. What is not business as usual is that ESPN is going to come into the studio tomorrow afternoon to film our date night experience for a couple of hours somewhere between 3:00 and 5:00 so they can show it during the Chick-Fil-A Bowl the next day... Our flight is due in at 1:38. I will have been on a packed plane for, oh, several thousand hours at that point having had little or no sleep. We will take a quick cab home so I can freshen and prep for filming. (Judy and Lee will have been wrangling everything till then). As the furnace is down, we are going to Wing It (appropriate for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl) even more than usual.

If I live through the day before New Year's then I will cover the morning glass date from New Year's Eve who decided kiln-forming would be fun since they can't do glass blowing. See the post below and marvel at the continuity in my life! Could be worse, I could be in Montana (my parents' driveway at left).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Allow me to explain about the glass studio business. The natural condition is one of insurmountable obstacles on the road to imminent disaster. So what do we do? Nothing. Strangely enough, it all turns out well. How? I don't know. It's a mystery.

The furnace was down again when Lee got in this afternoon. After two hours of calls to tech support, reading of the manual and futzing in the freezing cold in the hotshop (and getting Austin to read the teeny tiny model numbers on the controller), it looks like we might have both a workaround and a new thermocouple on order. Let's cross fingers and toes.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Jessie's First Blown Piece

There are advantages to being the studio owner's daughter... Jessie started kilnforming at age 3, she did vitrigraph at 6 (shown at right), and now at 9 she's taken up glassblowing. The shots in the slideshow below are not staged! (And I am not the photographer--thanks Carol).

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Morning Begins With McMurtry and a Lapful of Ernie

Coffee in the Chicago skyline mug, "Bayou Torture" (should be Bayou Tortous--Turtle Bayou, but there's apparently a mistake in GraceNotes) from James McMurtry Live in Europe on iTunes, Ernie taking up most of my lap (necessitating typing at an angle with the laptop on the arm of the chair). The Erns has turned into a lap cat--and at 20 lbs, he's quite a lapful.

The week--and by extension, the studio year for me--winds down with the final three days of the Siyeh Sleigh Ride. (Get It While It's Hot takes on a whole new meaning when you're talking about Siyeh Glass! :-) Today I create and send the gift certificates people have ordered, put up the New Year's Special Date Nights on ZVents, and promote the ornament blowing and the Sleigh Ride one more time. I'll also put up the Valentine's weekend special events--someone already tried to reserve the Date Night on the Saturday before Valentine's Day yesterday before I even got the calendar set-up for it!

Yesterday I had so many more things I wanted to post about this morning, but now that the time is at hand, I can't remember any more of them. Maybe my senior moment will be over by Monday when I come back to post again. If you're in the neighborhood today or this weekend, stop on by for some hot apple cider and great glass gifts!

Monday, December 06, 2010

December? Really?

Almost finished with a medium mocha in a Kavarna go-cup, listening to Gillbert O' Sullivan "Alone Again, Naturally" and a couple of other of his songs over the sound system, and recovering/regrouping from the first weekend of the 2010 Siyeh Sleigh Ride. We are entering the homestretch of 2010 and I, like the groundhog in February, pop my head up, look around, and say "What the hell?" I mean, October, November, five days in December--where'd they go?!?

Now Simon and Garfunkel are singing and I can't help but concur that, indeed, leaves are brown (though there isn't a patch of snow on the ground--not in Hotlanta on Dec 6), and the sky *is* a hazy shade of winter. Wasn't it just August? Didn't I just voice this same time-loss lament recently (i.e., five months ago)? Ah well, the beauty of time is that there's always more of it--till you die anyway.

As it's now December, it's time to update the open studio hours and January/February class lists. As I add the additional lines on the Google Docs spreadsheet which is the open studio sign-up sheet I am faced with a dilemma: Do I continue the Children's Studio full-time, do I keep it as a once-a-year activity, or do I tie it into the school calendar and offer it whenever the local schools are on break?

Right now our open studio space is a bit tight (at least in theory--in reality the demand has only once completely filled it)--but I have a plan to address that need (an expansion! an expansion! It's time for another expansion!). Maybe the smartest thing to do is take baby steps (didn't I say that's how I was going to proceed from now on anyway?) and offer the Children's Studio when we have the new space. Or I should offer it until the demand for Open Studio overwhelms the space... so many options! Okay, for now I'll just leave it as it is (offered full-time)--it's easier than editing the spreadsheet. :-)

Time also to look into hiring someone to teach intro to kiln-forming. I have been thinking long and hard about adding a lot of classes, and, while it fits the business model in terms of optimizing the use of the space and the equipment, the last thing I need to do is add regularly scheduled evenings and weekends to my already full-time business. Smart thing to do is make a little less by hiring the work out, but make more than not doing it all. Regular classes lead to sales in supplies and use of open studio--both of which bring revenue into the studio (and thus are a Good Thing). I feel a bit like Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams--I'm building it, will they come?

Enough mid to long term musings. The rest of the week and through the weekend the Sleigh Ride is in full swing and the studio looks great! Everyone has really nice work this year with price points from $3 (I kid you not, $3) to $585. Access Atlanta/ZVents did us well--we had several people from Friday through Sunday who came in because they saw our event on one of those sites. I didn't get as positive a response about our emailing--think I'll send out the December newsletter today or tomorrow and put in both the Sleigh Ride and the Glass Project Gifts I put together for a holiday offering.

I close with some pics of the Siyeh Family taken during a lull on Sunday. They got a bit squirrely with the elf hats and the blown ornaments (check out the ornament hanging from Austin's pierced ear--ouch!).

Friday, December 03, 2010

Glory Glory Hallelujah

Coffee in the New York skyline mug, "Where'd You Hide the Body" by James McMurtry for the morning music. Day One of Siyeh Sleigh Ride 2010 has dawned and I think I might finally have my groove, optimism, joie de vivre, je ne sais quoi back. Whew! There are--as usual--a million and one last minute details to take care of (not least of which are creating a gift certificate template and putting together the class and project packages to offer during the Sleigh Ride).

"Hurricane Party" just came on and I was struck again by the realization that you just can't listen to too much McMurtry. Why did we move from Austin again? (And the bigger question: Why didn't I ever see him when we lived there?). Okay, enough distractions! Judy, Carol, Lee, Amy (our little hotshoppie and the latest addition to the studio family), Dee, Todd, and Becky (V) are all showing up between 10-10:30 to Whip The Studio Into Shape (or blow roll-ups for an order due tomorrow).

I think Dee and Todd are expecting/hoping we'll be further along than we are in clearing off the flat surfaces for display space. Judy and V have been there in the thick all week and know exactly what they're in for, and the other three will be blowing glass in the hotshop and ignoring our indoor frenzy. Some time later today Brian and Becky S. will arrive with their work--by which time we will be calm, ready, and sipping toddies. ROFLMAO (Mom, that means rolling on the floor laughing my ass off.)

Still have to buy the food and wine for the artist reception tonight from 6-9. Got studio lights yesterday--24 8 ft florescent tubes--and I am afraid I might have gotten the wrong ones. They only had one kind at Lowe's but I think they said one pin... Maybe they all fit in all the fixtures. Guess I should go find out--and start clearing off tables, and find the white tablecloths...

Hope to see you at the Sleigh Ride if you're in the neighborhood!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Ernie and 4:00 AM

Where to begin the 4:00 am post? Maybe with what I'm doing up and awake at 4:00 am (couldn't sleep). Or maybe I should note how difficult it is to post--or do any work at all--with a 20 lb cat smack in the middle of one's lap--Ernie gives a whole new meaning to the word "laptop".

The countdown to the Second Siyeh Sleighride (it's going to be SSStupendous!) is well underway. I was planning on getting a food sign-up sheet on-line for the participating artists yesterday, but instead I spent the majority of the day fighting with Internet Explorer. Come to find out my website was not displaying correctly on IE browsers. The site has been up for over a week and I finally found out on Tuesday that neither the Home page, the Sleighride Events page, nor *any* of the class pages were displaying to people using Internet Explorer. Since there is no IE for the Mac anymore, I hadn't tested it. *sigh* Leave it to Microsoft to make my life more difficult.

In spite of IE, I have been making progress on coming up with creative ideas for kiln-forming (and beadmaking) packages to offer for gift-giving. First I have a whole series of Project Packages--e.g., The Orchid-Pot Melt: Get a signed copy of A Beginner's Guide to Kiln-Formed Glass, an orchid pot filled with glass, and a coupon to come in and fire it, all for $65. I still need to work a bit on costing and color options, but these packages have a lot of potential.

Yawn. Okay, I am ready to go back to sleep. I'll hit the ground running again at 7:00, but now it's time to snooze a bit more.