Fireworks and champagne at the studio started the new year for me. Are they harbingers? What will the upcoming year bring? Last year was... difficult, and from a business standpoint this year is set to be even more complicated. Am I exhilarated? Terrified? Both? 2010 ended in a rush of projects slipped in just under the wire, partially completed, and left hanging in the wind. Bookkeeping falls into the latter category as I haven't done any for either the business or us personally since, oh, March. Money came in, money went out. I did tiny window analyses of profitability on segments of studio activity, but what I wouldn't give for an entire *month* to do nothing but crunch numbers and plan the expansion for the year! Yeah, right. Time to dig out those big girl panties again, suck it up and do the best I can--I leave for the Buyer's Market show 46 days from today and that's only one reason I don't have a month to crunch and plan.
Instead, here on this fine January 1, 2011, let's jump to some big-stroke goals, plans, dreams, projects for the upcoming year--then back to enjoying a final couple of days off before the world, the week, and the year begin for real.
1) Equipment: This year--heck this week!--will bring a new glass furnace. With the last element failure in the current little furnace and resultant lost week (+) of date night and class revenue--not to mention the expense of fixing it... again--it's time to go new, maybe gas, definitely bigger. The little furnace--with it's new controller and new thermocouple--will be good back-up/secondary color or alternative glass pot. I also hope to add two casting kilns, another annealer and a small gloryhole. Oh yes, and 200 amps more electrical service to manage it all!
2) Facilities: Time to add on 1-3 new spaces in the studio. First will be a new room to house the big sister kilns and the new casting kilns. We're going to remodel the back deck--expand and enclose it with screens (kilns are just as happy outdoors here as in). Currently there are French doors from the kiln room onto the back deck and once we've moved the big kilns out through them onto the new deck, I can turn the current kiln room into a kiln-forming classroom/open studio area--which frees up the front room to be set-up full-time for torchwork. Second will be an expansion onto the back of the hotshop for another bench area, the second gloryhole, and the back-up furnace. Third is a potential splitting of the front screened-in porch into porch and additional front room (indoor) space. This process entails moving the front door and putting in front windows--and maybe an architect (not putting in an architect, just hiring one)--but I think we can do it.
3) Techniques: Time to add casting to the studio repertoire. I have two artists waiting for me to start casting their work in glass for them, and I want to both get good national instructors in to present workshops and to start teaching basic casting as part of our class offerings. Along with casting comes mold making, plaster and lost wax. Wheee!
4) Professional development/Personal Work: The almost two weeks in Hawaii and away from the studio gave me time to think about my own work and develop some new design ideas. I don't know if I'll have time to do much on them before the Buyer's Market--it'll certainly be hard to both make the pieces and to create the promotional materials for them before the show. Bullseye is also facilitating my creative process by hosting BECon again this year. I am very excited about the theme: Crossover: A Material Exchange. I will turn 50 the week before the conference and two weeks of professional development in Portland will be my present to myself (a pre-conference workshop, the conference, and then a post-conference workshop!).
5) Process Development: The Siyeh Glass website is coming together, now it's time to get the Siyeh Studio website of my work back up and tied into it. Also need to finally pull the trigger on the POS software integration for Siyeh Glass (supplies, classes and materials). Then there's the process for bookkeeping... A real business needs a real accounting solution, and I am *NOT* it. Time to officially hire someone who likes data entry and clean looking ledgers. I look at this hire as analogous to finally getting a cleaning person for our house: Once you've made the switch, you wonder why you resisted it for so long.
6) Staff: I am hopefully expectant that the new year is going to bring an increase in the demand for classes, open studio, and date nights at the studio, and I would like to add additional glassblowing and kiln-forming staff to our family to pick up the work. It takes a village, and it's also nice to be able to support a village. I am looking forward to turning over much of the teaching to someone else so I can get on with the next book...
7) Book 2: There has been enough said about writing another book that I don't need to go into it here. Book 1 comes out in paperback this year, Amazon has already dropped it's price to under half of list, and the publisher is really, really, REALLY interested in Book 2.
And there you have it--2011 at Siyeh Glass, An Intimate Urban Studio. Let's see how it all plays out.