Thursday, March 22, 2012

Beam Me Up, Scotty!

Coffee in the Atlanta skyline mug, the sound of the fan in the kitchen clearing away the burned smell for music. I don't know what was burning--Mom swears it wasn't the potato she put in the microwave for breakfast.

Time continues to go by me at warp speed, but I hang on by my fingernails and avoid the wake. Since I last posted, I drove to Magdalena New Mexico for a business visit with Sara and David of Creekmore-Durham Glass. They are the friends from whom I bought all the hot-shop equipment a few years ago. This time around I got two large kilns, a watchmaker's cabinet, a Giberson (the first syllable rhymes with "give") head (and a good--though off-color--story to go with it), about 100 lbs of dichroic glass in sheet and scrap, a bunch of molds including another large sink mold, and various odds and sods.

They also shared with me a luster and glass powder technique they developed so I could include it in the book. I am amping up my skills in it by teaching it this spring in the studio. Dee went with me--ostensibly to help with the driving and take dictation for the book--but I like to drive, and we listened to all three books in the Hunger Games trilogy instead.

Since my return I got the new class write-ups on the website--and discovered flaws in my provider's infrastructure. I also wrote and sent out next quarter's newsletter--in the process uncovering if not flaws, at least serious weaknesses from my point of view--in my provider's sign-up process. Yesterday was an incredibly challenging day culminating in the Apple TV refusing to recognize the format (it's code for "I won't play for you") of any of the TV shows or movies in our home library. *sigh* I worked through that one too, but not till after we had already rented the new Three Musketeers.

The highlight of the day yesterday was discovering that all nine of our chickens are, indeed, laying eggs almost daily. We have never had more than eight eggs a day--or so we thought. Turns out one of the girls has been disdaining the nesting boxes in favor of a downy nest she made under the prickly holly bush. Jessie discovered the nest on accident and we recovered 32 eggs from it! None of them are obviously rotten (none of them float or smell), but I think they'll probably end up blown out and the insides discarded unless I can come up with a use for 60(!) eggs--the current quantity in the fridge before today's production. I would be giving them away, but I'm out of cartons (ahem, people, when you take home eggs, bring back the cartons). The carton problem will be going away soon as I finally broke down and ordered a batch on-line.

At the studio we finish the preparation for Judy's hip replacement surgery. Dee is stepping in to cover for her, my Mom deciding it was just more than she could take on--and rightly so, and Judy and Dee are reorganizing the studio, preparing for the bazillion classes I am teaching now through June, and generally making sure the baton is--temporarily--safely passed. I am confident that I can ignore them and everything will work out Just Fine.

Now for me, back to the book. Deadlines loom, gallery contributors need prodding (or initial notification--I am bad AND behind), and text needs, well, written! It's going to be an exciting spring at Siyeh Glass. If you're anywhere in the area, make sure you stop in for some madness (and check out the latest newsletter!).

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Springing Ahead

I think I'll take a couple of minutes right now to post as I'm not sure when next I'll have time. The past week has passed in a blur. I can't even remember a time when I was not going full out from the second I got out of bed to the minute I fell back into it--and there is no immediate end in sight. I am in full-on author mode for the book right now and try to write for a couple of hours every morning, regardless of what else I have going on for the rest of the day. The only way to pull that off is to get up at 5:30 or 6:00 am--not my favorite time of day.

However, even with getting up that early every morning, I haven't had time to write for the past several days... What's up with that? Between the demo booth we have at the American Craft Council Show here in Atlanta, getting out the current batch of orders I have from the Buyer's Market Show, and Life (e.g., costumes for the giants and props for the dwarves for Jessie's upcoming class play, helping the 8th grade class create glass doors for the bookcase they're making for the school auction, and the silversmithing class I am taking at Spruill Center for the Arts), I have been SWAMPED! Further proof, if I needed it, that the adage "The time a task takes will expand to fill the time allotted for it" is true.

Add to everything else the same old same old of equipment maintenance, quarterly newsletter, class schedule for next quarter and payroll, and well, I'm not only in the swamp, I am also up to my ass in alligators. Friday the glass furnace went down to two working pairs of elements--just enough to keep it warm enough to blow--so yesterday morning in addition to two kiln loads before going up to the ACC Show, I had to get the relays and the repaired thermocouple back in the other furnace so Tadashi could replace the broken elements in it. Next step for me is to swap the two furnaces out Monday. However last night he texted me to let me know that two pairs of elements in the replacement furnace aren't firing even after the relays were tested and put back in and the elements were changed out. So this morning, while I wait for the kilns to cool enough from yesterday's loads to unload them, I need to see if I can figure out what's up with the furnace--loose wiring, incorrect wiring, or something completely new. If I can't get it working I'll have to run it up to Olympic tomorrow (in the copiuos free time I have left unscheduled) to have the guys there look at it so I can get it up before Tuesday.

Slipping back into marketing mode, I got all the new class descriptions written up with prices, now I have to get them scheduled on the calendar and more detailed write-ups on them done and posted to the website. People who visited us at the show are already clamoring for class times, and, as I would like to take their money (and make them happy new glass artists), I need to strike while I have their attention.

As it's the end of the quarter I have a newsletter to write--and email addresses of all the new people from the ACC who signed up to get the newsletter on our mailing list. Dee may be doing a bit more of the driving than I initially planned on the way to New Mexico so I can write. Too bad I don't have an anywhere satellite network adapter for my laptop.

New Mexico? What's this about New Mexico? Tuesday right after my metalsmithing class Dee and I are heading out to Sara and David's studio in Magdalena, just south of Albuquerque, so they can share their luster technique with me for the book and I can relieve them of more equipment--specifically big old kilns that I will use to equip the casting studio (second hotshop) that we built last year and have yet to equip. One of the kilns might also go to Montana this summer as the seed kiln for the studio there. Montana?!? I become quite the regular traveler.

Finally, in the list of oh-my-heavens-I-have-a-lot-to-do, I circle back to the Buyer's Market show. I not only have orders to produce, but I need to make follow-up calls to the people I didn't see, get the Siyeh Studio website back up, and create new 12" tiles for each colorway to photograph for said website. Yet another area wher people want access to my work and I need to give it to them.

Okay, brain (and plate) full. Think I'll end with some pics Dee took  of our booth at the ACC. I'll look at them as I sip my coffee, and I'll be happy in how much we've done without worrying about how much I have to do. Happy Spring Ahead Day, everyone!

Monday, March 05, 2012

Where You Been, Willis?

I said to Dave this morning over an omelet, "So, do you think I should say to my editor I know it's not as good a publishing time, but I think we should push back the book to a fall release date?". He said, "I think you're just panicking". Which made me think, are my feelings a product of the rational part of my mind trying to come up with something to make the irrational part of my mind feel better? I hope so. Otherwise I'm doomed.

I spent the entire weekend--including much of Friday and this morning from 6:00 am on--writing, stuttering, attempting to write, and re-writing. I am happy with the quality of the content, but I am concerned about the quantity--and concerned that my editor will be less than happy as she was led to believe (I shamefully admit by me) that there would be More.

Will the world end? No. Am I still stressed? Yes.

We had an incredible photo shoot in the hotshop last Thursday with Liam Schatten. He took over 500 photos of Tadashi doing roll-ups. Thank heaven Tadashi is so calm and confident about everything, or the shoot could have been a disaster. I wish I had taken a picture of Liam's set-up in the hotshop as, between the tripod, reflectors, the laptop and it's tether to the camera, extension cord and other electronic cables, the hotshop was a labyrinthine mess! It was amazing to see Tadashi navigate through it all and produce three amazing pieces.

Now back to writing for the book instead of the blog.