Saturday, December 31, 2011

The End...

It's time for the year in review at Siyeh Glass. What were the highlights and lowlights of 2011? In preparation for writing about what we did do, I thought I'd start by looking at what I hoped/planned to do to see what was accomplished and what fell by the wayside. The post from 1/1/11 was very helpful for prodding my memory. Following its format, here is a brief summary of 2011:

I wanted a new glass furnace, and we got one in January giving us a full-time and a back-up furnace for blowing. Even with the back-up we still had a few down times in the hotshop, but I feel that we ended 2011 *much* more reliably than we did 2010. Didn't get any new electrical service--nor did we add casting kilns, another annealer, or another gloryhole. Guess I was a bit too enthusiastic about equipment last year.

2) Facilities: On the other hand, we did really well facilities-wise. I had hoped to add 1-3 more spaces, and we hit that one out of the park--we even have a new space that we aren't using yet! I had thought to screen in the back deck and put the kilns out there, instead, I got a whole new finished room there. We also built the second large outdoor facility--280 sq feet like the hotshop with its own little back deck. Right now it's being used for extra storage, but someday--maybe this year--it'll be a new classroom. We also bumped out the coldworking room and added enough room to it to comfortably house Licha's lathe--on long-term loan to us right now. And the front classroom became a full-time torchwork classroom with a built-in ventilation hood and fan. Never did do anything with the front porch, and don't think I will this year either.

3) Techniques: Casting, moldmaking and lost wax techniques have all been on the studio schedule since the 2009 BeCon when I took Linda Ethier's wonderful week-long workshop out in Portland. Unfortunately, adding this piece to the studio has been my biggest unfulfilled wish/failed endeavor.

4) Professional Development/Personal Work: At the end of 2010, I pinned a lot of personal growth on my time at BeCon and doing pre- and post-conference workshops there. Life intruded, and I was only able to do the conference and the pre-conference workshop with Steve Brown on manual 3-D printing--and that time was squeezed between other professional and personal demands. It, however, was a phenomenal workshop and I left extremely inspired to continue work in that technique. I haven't managed yet, but I have high hopes that progress will not go the way of the do-do bird and casting.

5) Process Development: I hang my head in shame. I took baby steps on the Siyeh Glass website, didn't get anywhere on the Siyeh Studio website OR a POS system for the retail business OR on an accounting workflow that works. My books are almost as bad now as they were at the end of 2009--in spite of Becky's best efforts to whip me into shape.

6) Staff:  It was a bittersweet year for studio staff. We were successful in recruiting two more glassblowers--Tadashi Torii and Domenick Peronti--onto our staff, and we are thrilled to have them. They bring new skills and energy to our program, and we were able--with their help--to refine our blowing schedule to be more efficient and economical. At the end of the summer, we also said goodbye to our founding glass blowing instructor, Lee Ritchie. Lee built our program to where its popularity necessitated the changes in its structure, and we thank him for two years of hard work and devotion to our studio.

7) Book 2:  Ah, Book 2. I signed a contract with the publisher at the end of October for a 240-page tradepaper book of advanced techniques and studio best practices. The publisher is very excited about the book. I am very excited about the book, and the manuscript is due May 1. Wheeeee!

So that's what we planned to do and did or did not. What came up during the year that was unexpected? I look back on 2011 as the year of personal adversity and eventual personal triumph. My father died last January, my mother moved in with us, and I spent a lot of the rest of the year rebuilding connections with and making time for members of my extended family. Family and a healthy balance between family and work are crucial to my happiness. I am glad that, at then end of a difficult year, I have a better feel for what I need to do and how I need to integrate it all together. More about what that means in the next post on 2012.

Following the theme of Life, we added a chicken coop, bunny hutch and a chicken/bunny play yard connecting them behind the new outdoor classroom. Initial population was one rabbit (Jasmine). Then she was joined by another Montana bunny, Charcoal. Then seven chickens, then two more chickens. We ended the year with five baby bunnies joining the family as (oops) our second rabbit was NOT a girl.

We also added to our vendor relationships during the year by becoming a Delphi Elite Dealer and and Olympic Kilns dealer. We look forward to growing all of our vendor relationships more in the coming year.

1 comment:

Bill said...

May your business grow like the contents of the bunny hutch!