Sipping a mocha at my window table in The Hideout Coffeehouse looking out on the Arthouse on Congress Ave, downtown Austin. It's a chilly day in Austin. It's bright and clear--a perfect day for reflecting and planning the coming year (and the book--I have lots to plan right now).
Lori and I were privileged to spend the day with Gail Stouffer at Wired Designs Studios yesterday. Wired Designs is one of (if not the) first Bullseye Kiln Glass Resource Centers, and Gail and her partner Stacey Campbell are consummate businesswomen who have weathered the current economic downturn with poise and aplomb. As I prepare for the next stage of my business, I am very grateful for the insights Gail provided me into their business and what works/doesn't work for them, and I am looking forward to incorporating some of them into my plans for next year. I will have the perfect opportunity to work on them while the studio is closed (from the day before Christmas through the first of the year--need to get that info prominently up on the website).
And time has passed. It's now after lunch (wonderful bun at Mekong River), and I have parked myself at BD Riley's to work the afternoon away. I have a shot of Knob Creek, a pint of Woodchuck cider, and the lovely guitar strummings of Josh Allen as my background music. Oh I miss Austin! Dave's office is around the corner, the Hideout is a block away and Mekong River is across the street--a greater sensory work/playground could not be found.
I finished the morning at the Hideout by registering for Beginning Jewelry and Metalsmithing at Spruill Center for the Arts starting January 10 (and then getting Lori to join me). Then I talked to Dee about helping me put together some classes in copper and bronze clay. I've dabbled in silver clay, but never went farther than that. Dee has worked with the copper clay (and has all the tools necessary for firing it--steel tray, charcoal to prevent firescale, etc.,). When we first started offering beadmaking I had the idea that it would be nice to also sell findings so that the class participants could take their beads and turn them into jewelry when they picked up their beads, but it was the discussion with Gail yesterday that really has me ready to expand our class and materials offerings to include metals and jewelry too. So I updated the studio website today promising new classes, and... wheeeeee!
Lori also gave me a suggestion yesterday that I'm going to have to put my big girl panties on and do--even though it's going to break my heart. The nicest room in the studio--by far--is my workroom. The kiln-forming classroom is the newest, smallest, and most... challenged room. For a variety of reasons, it only makes sense that I swap out those rooms. The benefits for me will be that I will be next to the kilnroom and I can close the door to the rest of the studio. The downsides are the sloping floor, the extreme temperature fluctuations and the noisy ceiling fan (all things I should have to put up with rather than the students in any case). I also *love* my workroom with it's west-facing windows, varnished southern pine floor, and beautiful Tuscan yellow walls. The kiln-forming classroom was originally the kilnroom and it was the last one I got around to painting so it was a bit rushed and not as well done as my workroom. But if I am going to focus on classes, I need an appropriate space for them, and the workroom is as close as my studio gets. *sigh*
Okay, the day is over, the spouse will be here any second to collect me, and I have made great strides in a direction for next year (even if it did take me eight hours to write this post!)