Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Small Set Backs

Ever have one of those days where things just don't seem to be going in your favor? Even things you've done 1,000 times before with ease and success just don't work out?

It's been like that for me these last couple days. It started first thing yesterday morning... I went out to the studio to put a coat of polyurethane on the steel and wood pieces for my tile plaques so that they would be ready for the 2nd coat by the time I got back from the gym/errands. It was about 7:15am and just as I was feel great about being so efficient, I somehow managed to knock the can of polyurethane over - spilling 1/2 of it all over me and creating a giant puddle on the floor. It was such a huge sticky mess! Ugh!

The setbacks continued today - again with my tile plaques. After all the polyurethane dried, I glued the steel and wood together, and then (after that was dry) glued the tiles to the steel. (Just like I always do.) While I was gluing the plaques together, I ran out of one tube of silicone and had to switch to a new one. Well, for whatever reason, none of the plaques I glued with the 2nd tube dried last night! I only had about 15 completely finished, and the other 60 or so will have to be redone! Again, a sticky mess! Ugh.

Here's a picture of the Tile Plaques awaiting scraping and then re-gluing. Fun. Fun. I did manage to get the few finished ones shipped out to Curve Studios to help restock my inventory there.

Hope your day is going smoothly,
Meagan

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Monday, August 25, 2008

California Anyone?

My husband and I are going to California this fall, and I thought I'd ask if anyone has any suggestions on what not to miss. I've never been to CA, so it will all be new and exciting to me. We're flying in to San Francisco and staying in that area mostly, but then driving down the coast for a brief visit with friends in Santa Barbara/LA.

Do you know of any art galleries, fun activities, hikes, or tasty places to eat?

Cheers!
Meagan

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Meanwhile, in the Studio

What a crazy week this has been! Somehow, between helping to spread the word and support for Arrowmont and enduring the slow, lingering Tropical Storm Fay, I still managed to get some work done. A Save Arrowmont blog has been established and is providing everyone with updated information as it become available.
My piece for the HandMade House at the Ramble is finished! It will be heading up to Asheville,NC and installed for a Parade of Homes showcase in October. There were several technical concerns I had with the construction of this piece, but everything work out perfectly. Specifically, it's getting installed onto a brick wall and the client only wanted to drill holes into the morter, not the brick. So, I had that to consider when deciding where to grid the screw holes.

I also switched gears this week to glass work. (So far I've only talked about clay on my clay-and-glass blog.) But I have a line of dichroic, cast and fused glass pendants that I've been making for about 6 years now.

Here's the first step in the process. The colored sheets of Bullseye art glass are stacked inside steel molds and then heated to about 1725 F. They're then sliced, fired again, shaped, polished, fired again, and then wrapped in wire. I'll post pictures of these steps as I get to them in the next couple weeks or so.

This is what they'll look like when I'm finished. I'm still trying to figure out how to get good portfolio images of these, so if anyone has any suggestions , Please, Please share!

Hope everyone has a great weekend. And that you're at least getting some sunshine!

Best,
Meagan

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Official Pi Beta Phi Statement.

On July 28, 2002, I stood on the Parkway in Gatlinburg, TN nervous and excited about my first experience at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.
I had now idea how much my life was about to change.


The following statement and link were posted today on the Pi Beta Phi Fraternity website.

"Elementary School and Arrowmont to Benefit From Sale of Gatlinburg Property

Grand Council announced that Pi Beta Phi Elementary School located in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, will be the recipient of a $1 million gift, which is to be used for an endowment or to establish a foundation. Pi Phi has also clarified their intentions for Arrowmont School of Art and Crafts. Contingent on the contract as currently written the crafts school stands to receive up to $9 million from the Fraternity. For this and other information concerning the sale of the Gatlinburg property read the FAQ."

Needless to day, I was disappointed with this news. I suppose all change is a part of life though.

I am anxious to hear what plans Arrowmont has for moving forward. Again, thank you to everyone for your emails, letters, phone calls, and signatures in support of the livelihood of this school!

Sincerely,
Meagan


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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Insight from a Pi Phi

I received the following email and (with the permission of the anonymous Pi Phi writer) wanted to pass it along...

"I saw your post and thought I would write you - The "It's only the land vs. Future of Arrowmont" is a calculated ploy by the Grand Council to get the Artistic community off their backs - do not fall for this. They have 2 members (Emily Tarr and Karen Price) who sit on the Board of Governors for Arrowmont. David would have to answer to the Board anyway. They have not been upfront with information and I hardly think selling the land out from underneath Arrowmont constitutes a good faith attempt to "help" the school- they are hiding behind confidentiality agreement etc. - it is not pretty. This is something that the community, artists and right-thinking Pi Phis must stand united on to even have a chance of success- they are very calculating...do not let them split you all up. There is still time to help Arrowmont later if the worst happens, but so not let that distract you now. Thanks for listening."

Thank you to everyone who has already signed the petition! We have over 1,000 signatures and there's still time to sign, pass it along, or send your thoughts in an email before the board meets on Friday!

Best,
Meagan

Pave Paradise and Put Up a Water Park?!?

I want to thank everyone for the overwhelming response we've been receiving regarding the sale of property leased by Arrowmont! There has been an amazing show of support. Thank you!

If you haven't done so, and are interested, here is the link for the petition that is being circulated.

I will do my best to pass along updated information as it becomes available to me. My current understanding is that the Grand Council of Pi Beta Phi views the sale of the property independent of the future of Arrowmont; that Arrowmont's future is beyond their control and that it is up to the Arrowmont Board to determine that future.

Does Pi Beta Phi have any responsibility or accountability for the future success (at least in the short term) of Arrowmont? Is it reasonable for Pi Beta Phi to sell this property without consideration of the impact? I suggest that you also write the Arrowmont Board with your questions and views on the subject, and to ask what they are doing to ensure the future of Arrowmont.

Below is the email address for David Willard, Director of Arrowmont. I am currently working on an email list for then entire Arrowmont Board.

dwillard@arrowmont.org

Thank you again for your support and dedication to the arts!

Sincerely,
Meagan

Monday, August 18, 2008

More for Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts

I was able to get more contact info for the Pi Beta Phi Grand Council. Please, please, write to all of them and voice you opinion regarding the potential sale of the land that houses Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts!

Grand President
– Emily Russell Tarr GP1@pibetaphi.org or emilyt@windstream.net
Grand Vice President CollegiansSusan Kingsley Robinson GVPC@pibetaphi.org
Grand Vice President Alumnae – Mary Loy Tatum GVPA@pibetaphi.org
Grand Vice President Communications – Karen Shelton Chevalier
GVPCom@pibetaphi.org,
(703) 280-1307 (fax)
Grand Vice President Finance – Karen Consalus Price, GVPF@pibetaphi.org
Grand Vice President Membership – Luellen Clymo Smith GVPM@pibetaphi.org
Grand Vice President Programming – Linda Noel Ibsen GVPProg@pibetaphi.org or Lnibsen@aol.com


Save Arrowmont!!

The Pi Beta Phi Fraternity, specifically the seven person Grand Council, has started negotiations to sell and develop the land on which Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts current leases in Gatlinburg, TN. Pi Beta Phi has owned and used this property for education since 1912 and it has been home to the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts since 1968. This sale would have an incredible impact on the School.

There is talk of the developers wanting to use the property to build new condos and an indoor water park. However there is a lot of information that is not known at this point and even more unconfirmed speculation. This news became public today as a front page article in the local paper.

Please check here to read the fraternity's statement that is the main article on their homepage:

Arrowmont posted an official statement on their website today as well. Read here.

The email address of Pi Phi Grand President, Emily Tarr is GP1@pibetaphi.org. I have been unable to find a mailing address. If you could make the time, please email Mrs. Tarr this week to voice your opinion regarding the potential sale of this property. The board will be meeting again on Friday.

Additional news links:

News: Knox News

News: Knox News

News: Z-wire

Thank you so much! We need to show our support for Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts.

Sincerely,
Meagan


Friday, August 15, 2008

Glazing New Work

I love glazing! To me it's exciting and relaxing on so many levels. My work is low-fire earthenware, electric fired to glaze cone 04. Most of my glazes are heavily textured and made to crawl and crackle. I love texture! I fired these pieces yesterday, and they're in the kiln cooling now. I'm anxious to unload, see the results, and then again.

Once my work is bisque fired, I go through everything and plan out which glazes I'll use before I even pick up a brush. It sometimes reminds me of the paint-by-number, but this seems to be the most efficient way for me to switch between so many glazes. And besides, this way lets me relax and zone out because the color decisions are already made. I find it almost meditative.

I also decided that I needed to re-test all of my glazes. I have 50+ yogurt containers of mixed glazes - some of which were stored outside and unused for over a year. When I went to move them into my studio, some of the containers with this one particular glaze in it looked like this.....

I don't even know exactly what this is clinging to the outside of the containers!?! Do you? But it didn't look good, and I have my doubts as to whether these glazes will fire the way they once did. But I'm hoping to take a Glaze Chemistry workshop with John Britt this fall, so that I'll be able to do more problem solving when glazes don't work as planned.

[Glaze test tiles ready for firing.]

I also wanted to share a quote that I heard today on one of the World Cafe podcasts that I was able to download yesterday. The interview/quote is referring to Sam Phillips, and it struck me so I thought I'd pass it along.

"She succeeds beautifully by doing nothing more than being the best possible version of herself."

Have a great weekend!
Meagan

Thursday, August 14, 2008

My Music is Back! Yay!

Thank you Brian and Ang! Your advice, suggestions, and links seem to have done the trick! I have recovered my "eaten" music files and changed a few settings so I can now download podcasts. Thank you! I'm off the the studio now - iPod in hand!

Grateful and loving Blogging,
Meagan

Help Needed with i-Tunes!!

Please Help!!

My i-Tunes has been doing strange things. My files seem to be disappearing!?! Well, they show up in the play list, but when I click on them it says the file cannot be found. This has happened to over 1/2 of my library. Which is days worth of re-downloading CDs! Ugh!

Did this happen when I downloaded an updated version? Does anyone know how to recover the music files w/o re-downloading them? Does my computer have some music-eating virus? If I reload the CDs, how can I keep this from happening again?

I also don't seem to be able to download the free NPR podcasts. Or any free podcasts for that mattter. I can find the subscribe button, but it isn't highlighted and won't let me click on it.

Any thoughts or advice!?!?

Musicless,
Meagan

Monday, August 11, 2008

The CEO and Janitor

[I have this art business cartoon posted in my studio]

Like many artists I know, I tend to do everything myself. Maybe it's a control thing. Maybe it's a budget thing. But when people sing the praises of the "easy" life of being self-employed vs. a traditional 9-5, I jokingly explain to them how I am both the CEO and Janitor of my business. I make the big decisions (with the help of my amazingly supportive husband), and I sweep the floors (also with the help of my amazingly supportive husband).

This can be both a blessing and a curse. Some days I absolutely love working for myself!! Some days I'm so frustrated and overwhelmed, I'm ready to throw in the towel. I've been alternating between the two quite frequently lately.

After 18 months of planning and construction, I have the new fantastic studio! But I feel like I have 18 months of artwork ideas, internet marketing needs, gallery research, studio organizing, ware-cart building, portfolio photo projects, PR packets, etc that I need to "catch up" on. And I don't always know where to start, or how I'm going to be able to do it without employing a crew of 100s! One day, though, I will be able to hire a staff to take care of the tasks I find the least enjoyable.

My latest business task has been to tackle the online world of internet marketing. This is all extremely new to me. Even blogging. I had been wondering how to increase my web traffic when I read a post by Emily Murphy about Site Engine Optimization. If you don't follow Emily's posts, I highly recommend them. She has a wealth of helpful information.

It does help to know that other artists have similar feelings. I had a fantastic conversation with my good friend and fabulous potter, Joy Tanner this morning about these very topics. What about you? How do you balance all the tasks of being a working artist? I'd love to hear any advice you have on time management!

Thanks!
Meagan

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Change in Timing

Up until about 2 weeks ago, I had a 6' table set up outside for making my clay work. I could loosely cover the pieces with plastic at night and come back the next day and they would still be at that lovely leather hard stage. I could then re-work and refine the forms, and leave them completely uncovered for a few days and they would slowly dry out. All of this, thanks to the Florida humidity!

[Six of the Eight clay forms for The HandMade House.]

Well... things are a bit different in my new studio. I'm finding that I'm stumbling a bit trying to learn the dry time for clay in there. There's no AC still (so I'm still sweating through the heat) but we've added a dehumidifier to help protect my equipment. There's a small fan I can keep going to help with air circulation too. So, the clay is drying out much, much quicker than I was used to!

Overall, I think this change will be a good thing once I've learned how to manage it. And it's a small price to pay to be able to work in such a beautiful studio.

What about you? Has a change of setting ever effected your work technique?

Still Learning,
Meagan