Saturday, February 07, 2009

old problems, new solutions

It's been a race to the finish line all week. I kissed my work good-bye and put it on a truck first thing Tuesday morning, and it will be waiting for me in my booth in Philadelphia when I arrive this Wednesday. Do you remember last year when I stupidly shipped through the show's Exhibitor Services and my work was destroyed? That will not be happening this year. Another artist from the Bay Area rented a truck and is bringing in a bunch of people's work, including mine, and I'm feeling very confident all will arrive safely. And I got everything else done: the wholesale catalog, the website update, the communications with my wholesale buyers, and the myriad other small details.

Meanwhile, I've been training my two new people; one on production throwing, the other on production glazing. Training someone in glazing is very challenging for me. It's the end of the line with the creative process and when things die at this point I've lost all the investment. I'm a picky bitch and I want glazing done the way I taught you, which means perfectly and efficiently. It's a constant push to mold new people, especially people who have never worked in a production environment. I have to be fully present, mentally and physically, and ready to address every single detail, down to how to put the lids on the correct glaze buckets. I had to tell my new glaze assistant that there will come a day soon where she realizes I'm actually a nice person and she will probably like me, but that time has not come yet.

Despite the tension, it's also good to have new eyeballs in the studio, because new people have new ideas and a fresh way of approaching problems. One issue Sara and I had for a while is glazing my large split pods. They are 9" high, round, and full of air. Dipping them with tongs or by hand is impossible, so our solution has been to brush glaze them. Alexis was not having it. She obsessed on the problem for a day or two and then came up with the solution: a heavy duty wire, like from the handle of a 5-gallon bucket, balancing the pod on it right between the split, securing it with your thumbs on the top. It was the perfect solution and we got a two beautifully dipped large pods for the first time ever!