Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Studio Sale!

Hey Crew! I just wanted to let you know that I have decided to have my very first studio sale. (Seeing that a. I now have a studio and b. I am rapidly running out of space) So here are the deets:

When: Saturday November 29th
Where: My studio, 2 Ballarat Street, Brunswick
What time: 11am - 3pm (or until sold out)

So if you are in Melbs I would love to see you, maybe you can come do your christmas shopping?? There will be one offs and prototypes, seconds of production lines, swizzle sticks and what ever else I can find in that treasure trove. (There is one big wooden crate that has not been opened since I moved in....oooohhhh, the intrigue!)

And tonight I'm pretty darn excited to tell you that....My colab with GORMAN on a new HOMETIME range launches in their city store!! Holy crap how did this happen?! I've really busted my ass in the last three months and this is one of the projects that I am ridiculously excited for. I have loved Gorman for a long time and am pretty much beside myself that they would want to collaborate with me. ME!! I have LOVED making these works and I am STOKED with how they have turned out. Even the packaging is awesome! Gorman are such big wigs and I'm excited at what may come from this. 

I am a little nervous too.
What if people don't like them?
What if they dis them?
What am I going to wear?! (The only nice top I have is GORMAN. Is it a fashion faux par to wear Gorman to a Gorman launch? Oh man, I just know I am going to look like a nerd...)

So many questions!!

Anyways, I hope to see you on the 29th for the studio sale. All I wanna say is there are going to be some real gems up for sale and CHEAP! I am going to be RUTHLESS. I want a fresh start next year so I may have to let some of my FAVOURITE pieces go......

See you there!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

All stations are go!

It has been crazier than ever round my way.
I have been working on some big jobs and still trying to navigate my way through. First cab off the ranks is lighting for the super impressive Jardan. Jardan are in my eyes, a fantastic Australian company. They produce ridiculously gorgeous furniture all made here and are proud ambassadors of Australian made. These lights are to be launched in their new flagship store in Richmond.

The next one was making vases for Dinosaur Designs. THE Dinosaur Designs!! Another amazing champion of the Australian made. I feel really lucky to be able to work with such big wigs of the Aussie made. I am pretty proud of myself to get them x100 units BEFORE the due date. I have loved Dinos for a looooong long time and knew I could give them works which would fit perfectly with their brand. This job also gave me the opportunity to run a small team of three which I absolutely love doing. This was my first team run in Melbs and I think we killed it.

My new wheel definitely got a good work out.

Lets see what else has been happening....
. studio flooded
. more jobs coming in
. working on some sweet exhibition stuff
. trying to keep my head above water....

Oh and we bought a house!!

More pics to come....(when i get out of cardboard county...)

So it has been an epic month and there is more on the way. I have loved getting to work on these jobs. It's so amazing to work production style. Even if the works are not my style I am learning something from every piece and I think my skills develop and make me a better glass blower. From the dinos job I learnt to interpret what the client wants and make work that represents who they are. Its interesting because it's not work that I would usually make but I still think it was a really successful job. 

I have become the queen of scheduling. Seriously, I am booked up a minimum of six weeks in advance. I feel like I look at my diary about 27 times a day. I'm not going to lie, I feel stressed! I gotta learn to deal with this shit a bit better. Even though I was exhausted and go to bed dead tired, as soon as my big boof head hit the pillow, those pesky worries just crept in and started going round and round. They wouldn't stop. I think I need to have more confidence in my work and know that it is good. Some days I feel like a total hack, like a fraud and other days I feel like a real glass blower. I gotta nip that shit in the bud and get it under wraps. I think its ok to say you are proud of yourself and essentially telling yourself:
"you are a good guy at stuff".

I thought working for myself full time would be the best thing in the world. It may be the best, but that doesn't mean its easy. Infact this is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. At the moment, and maybe because I'm fighting a bogus cold, I just feel wrecked. I'm just a little ball of stress and not enjoying it. I feel the weight of all these jobs on my back and I know its me that wanted this, I just got to make it work for me. I want to remind myself that this is the dream. Think how fortunate I am to be working in my field of choice. I want to enjoy it and I want to work hard but I also want my one life to be balanced. I want to get out more and see stuff. It's so important for inspiration and well being.

Now heres my favourite pic from this week, here is a picture of my cat creeping on me in the bath.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In the words of Marvin Gaye...."Whats goin' on"

It has been so busy around these parts I don't even know where to begin! You know all those lines I had in? All those little nibbles waiting ever so patiently? Well as luck would have it.....ALL the bites are in!! It's bananas! I thought I would be lucky to get just one. Surprise, it's all the bites!

AND on top of that I got orders to make from Life Instyle. One could say its on like donkey kong. (Man Life Instyle was a beast all unto itself if you know what I mean, thats another blog post all in itself....the term 'ball breaker' comes to mind as does the vivid memory of me hiding in the employee lounge cramming burger rings in my mouth and watching kirsten wiig clips while laughing hysterically with tears streaming down my face, but, ahem, like I said, a story for another blog post..)

But that being said, Life Instyle wasn't all self imposed Chinese burns and fits of hysteria. I made some good pals, got me some sweet connections and orders to make. It did though make me realise even more so that I am not cut out for the retail gig. I am a maker dammit, not a sales monkey. Which brings me to my next point, I am now proud to announce I quit my day job. I said adios to retail hell and hello to being a full time glassy! It's still quite terrifying and I think thats why I took so long to tell anyone about it, I just didn't want to set myself up for a fall I guess. Whose to say I won't need a part time job again in 6 months time? I know now to embrace change and I know what i do want out of employment be it part time or full.

Ultimately I just want to be valued as much as I give. I don't want to be another number. I work hard in whatever it is I do and I'm down for that, I just want it to be recognised. After one particularly hellish day in the retail gig it became painfully obvious that I was just a casual. No matter how you sugar coat it thats what it boiled down to. It didn't matter what I did, I guess I was under the illusion I was special. But as a company evolves I just felt unhappy with how they were moving and so here we are. Change is inevitable but if the changes are not are fit for you its ok to bloody well say so and make changes of your own. (No matter how terrifying these are.) I work for me. I am my own boss lady and that feels pretty good.

I gotta say working for yourself has its own set of curly problems to tackle. Everyday i feel as though I learn some lesson. It is still taking me time to adjust. At first I really missed the girls at work who had become my friends but as Brendan put it, you can't go back to work there just because you miss your mates. Fair point. I also thought working for yourself you would get all this time to take better care of yourself, exercise more, eat well....hah! Most days I don't even stop for lunch! What the flip is that about?!! I have to try and create my own routine now otherwise I just drift in a sea of work. 

But don't cry for me though Argentina, I'm liven the dream!

Look, I even employed this guy to cold work for me!

And this gal! I employ her too!

And this! This magnificent beast is my very first piece of machinery. A grinding wheel!

As my good friend Lisa would say "its all coming up mil house'.

(And of course if everything fails miserably, I've always got this handsome devil to scowl at me.)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

All the colours of the rainbow

Working for yourself is a funny thing. Maybe I just need some time to adjust? I am not in the zone, thats for sure. I feel like I have a million things on but they are all just hanging in the balance. They are (supposedly) on tight deadlines but not signed off on yet. Enter Amanda's rising stress levels.... But this is out of my hands yeah? not my beef? WRONG! I don't know if clients understand the time constraints I work under. I try to explain and gently push, but again I think its that little fish/big fish thing. Not really their problem? Unfortunately I don't have a glass studio in my back yard and I have to go to great lengths to try and slot in with other peoples studios. Sometimes I think it would be ace to just get up in the morning, look at my list of what I have to make and get to it!

So now I drift around waiting....always with the waiting. I would love to be able to produce work, BAM, just like that, but the reality is, it goes a little something like this....

Order colour, can take around a week or two to arrive, depending where its coming from.
Book sessions, either here or Adelaide, both have their delicacies to try and orchestrate...
Now see if this plan fits with your assistant/s. Sometimes I wish I could make the work by myself but thats only from an organisational point of view!! I love my assistants I just wish I could be selfish or have the money to employ them full time then I could have them at my backing call...(mwhahahaha...)
Drive to studios with all your tools, colour, boxes, snacks.
Make the work.
Drive back the next day to collect.
Cold work.
Pack and send.

Easy right?

I think having my own grinding wheel will help. I also think the problem is I like to be organised. Maybe I need to let it go a little? If the time constraints don't work, they don't work. My problem is I believe you should say yes to everything! You never know where it may lead. 

So today I am about to set up for my very first trade fair. I think I'm nervous.... It's times like these I wish I was a duo. I gotta go bump in my stuff in a couple of hours and then I have four full days manning a stall. Four. What in the flip have I got myself into? Sometimes the 'fear' grips me. What if no one wants to place an order? Is this a waste of $? What if peeps don't like the work? How do I deal with negative feedback? The 'fear' sometimes grips me while I'm working too. Little thoughts like "You are a hack, you can't make this" try to creep in and it's a constant battle to push them aside. I don't know where they come from. Lets hope they stay away for this trade fair...

So here we go. It's time to put pants on. It's time to get your shit together. Get in the shower. Get out the door. 

Get. It. On.


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Fishing for bites and working cycles...

It is totally apparent to me that I don't blog nearly as much as I used to but let me assure you STUFF has been join on. Or STUFF is maybe going to happen. I feel like I go around in these working cycles. Sometimes you are heavy on the "making cycle" (which is my favourite cycle. It's the one where I work myself to the bone, I'm usually tired, dirty and smokey smelling and I sleep good at night.) Sometimes you are heavy on the "computery cycle". This one is sometimes my not so favourite cycle. It means lots of trawling the net, lots of emailing, lots of on line applications, lots of resizing images (sorry b train). All in all the computer cycle makes me feel like I am not really achieving anything and not much of a glass blower but at the end of the day I know it is a necessary cycle for success as it leads me to the next cycle; "the all lines in the water waiting for a bite cycle" which leads me to our present.

The "all lines in the water waiting for a bite" cycle can be a tricky one. It's where you have some awesome opportunities come your way but nothing is a solid. No contracts have been drawn, no deposit paid. The horrible part is that these opportunities still have the potential to not even eventuate. (Major soul crushing blow) They all kind of drift around, just out of your reach, and its tough because at the end of the day it's out of your hands and theres nothing more you can do. I think what makes it real hard is how excited you get. Lately I've had some really interesting emails come my way from what I like to think of as "Big Fish". Problem is I get way too excited as these really are just "nibbles" and what I need is a "bite". A big meaty, latched on, swallow the bait bite and real them in bite. Thats what I'm talking about.

And these nibbles they are not even induced by me throwing any burly out!! Thats what really cheeses me! THEY emailed ME! Yet somehow it takes them maybe two months to solidify something!! But you know what?, this is teaching me some valuable lessons when dealing with "Big Fish". When dealing with Big Fish you are not even a little fish yet! You are perhaps at best some potentially tasty seaweed that might be floating around on the sea bed of life. I guess unlike me where these things are a big deal, in reality for a big company this is just a minor glitch. But, that being said all is not lost. I think persistence is the key AND having many lines in the water at once. Don't rely on having just one thing on the go have many!! And this may backfire, you may have to give something up to do something else but at the end of the day, choice is a luxury. I very recently had to give up a residency. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made and I still don't know if it was the right decision but I feel that for the longevity of my practice it was the right thing to do. I have decided to pour all my efforts into the trade fair Life Instyle which runs at the end of July in the hopes that it will set my practice up for the following year. Oh yeah, forward thinking baby.

So as I sit here on Facebook, instagram and all other internetty things watching friends and colleagues doing all fun glassy things (Pilchuck, residencies, overseas classes) I feel a little sad but then I remind myself of all the nibbles I have been getting lately and something in me thinks that the time is now for me to be here in Melbourne working my little heart out, growing my business. (As much as I would love to be sculpting glass, drinking beers and generally having a good time at Pilchuck)

So lets hope that all my nibbles turn into bites and that brings us into the beloved sweet spot that is the "Making Cycle".

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Big Hearted Business and my crush on Clare Bowditch (just like the 499 others in the room) and trying NOT to cry in front of 500

This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a little thing called "Big Hearted Business", an "un-conference" for artistic minded people who want to know more about business. It's a not so strange concept when you think about it and it is led by the awe inspiring Clare Bowditch. After this I think its pretty safe to say that these women (and it was predominantly women I saw and met there, maybe like 10 dudes) will now follow that woman to the end of the world and back. She is that big of a deal.

So what makes Clare so special? Her capacity for generosity knows no boundaries. Heres a woman who has gone I am an artist, I have worked ridiculously hard to get where I am, I am successful but thats not enough. I want to SHARE what I have learnt and HELP other like minded individuals to achieve their dreams to live a creative life. I am want to make the CHOICE to live a generous life. Now all typed up like that with a bunch of capitals it may look a bit wanky, but spend five minutes with Clare and you will know she is the real deal. I think it is because she is honest and you trust her. What you see is what you get. She wants you to succeed.

So I decided a couple of months back that I would bite the bullet and shell out my hard earned clams (for me it was a lot of money, nearly $600 clams) and take a punt. I didn't know if it would be for me and I was pretty sure I would be the only one of my kind there. When I got there I made the decision to (try) and leave my cynicism at the door, try not to be the little smart mouth dark cloud saying pfft all the time and rolling my eyes. (I think I did very well at this and it was only on the last day in the final hours that it started to creep in...) I wanted to meet as many people as I could, be supportive and mention that I was a glass blower to anyone that was listening (you never know who might be listening).

Never had I been in a place where people are so friendly! You could just start up a conversation, Hi! I'm Amanda! Easy. I guess everyone there is going for the same reason. I did have some success and met some interior designers, architects, even landscape designers. But really I was there to hear the speakers. Some of them I knew, some I had no idea who the hell they were. One of my favourites was designer Beci Orpin. Man do I love that woman! So talented and just plain awesome. Her talk really resonated with me because I guess she was telling me things I already knew. Be different (only glass blower in the room), get involved - do stuff who knows where it will lead, say yes to everything, be flexible, reward yourself for the wins, keen learning, collaborate, listen to your instincts, be nice and work hard. I know all these things. I do all these things. But it was nice hearing one of your idols telling you that they do them too.

I started to get that feeling as I listened to them speak, that I was doing the right things. A dude from Australia Council came to talk about writing a good grant application. At question time I didn't even have to raise my hand, I knew all those things! I got a couple of good tips from the editor of Frankie magazine about submissions and I got to listen to Pip talk about blogging. One speaker who was ridiculously captivating was Danielle Laporte. Don't worry, I had no idea who this chick was either, but man she is one fiery woman and man does she have a cult like following. That bit I'm not so keen on, but hey each to her own. I guess she's kind of like an inspirational speaker (at one point she did that squat to listen at a question thing and my dark cloud was just like, see? fuck this we are out of here, but i subdued her with a gummy bear and we listened) She kinda had that american (even though she's canadian) self help-y thing about her but she was pretty raw and she swore a lot so I liked her. My favourite though was a woman called Fabian Dattner.

Fabian was captivating like no other woman I had ever met. She was also celebrating her 60th birthday on that very day! To me Fabian was like the Ruth's of Clare's I had met. A total force to be reckoned with, a powerhouse of everything a woman should be and a fantastic role model. So as I listened to all these amazing women speak I just felt a sense of what i was doing was right. Those before me had walked very similar paths. And I know it all comes down to money. EVERYTHING revolves around money its just that simple. But as I started to listen more this started to slip away. Now I totally had a moment, and it may have been that residual espresso martini creeping in from the night before that I should NOT have had, but you and try to keep your wits intact as you stand amongst 500 others harmonising in unison, singing, as Clare Bowditch rips over the top telling you YOU are somebody and fuck the others who tell you you can't. I welled up like a baby.

So thats what i want to take away.

I am somebody.

My contribution is valid.

I am important.

I think it was that feeling of connection. All these creative people striving together to achieve what they want in life but helping each other along the way. And for me it's happiness. Thats what I want. Thats what I choose.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Adelaide wrap up yo

These are a few snaps from my last trip to Adelaide. I can't remember if I talked about this or not.....I'm going to go with not. This was my very first solo drive over in my very new ute, Stevie Nicks. I am very proud to say we made it over in one piece and lil Stevie kept me safe, even in torrential rain. My husband had his doubts about me driving alone and rightly so seeing as I seem to turn into Rip Van Winkle as soon as we have pulled out of the driveway.... but I did it. Next time I think a pal to keep me company on the drive home would be best, that bit I was real tired and it felt a whole lot longer.

I got to hang out with my family which is always awesome. I always wish it is for longer. There is nothing like being home. The sights and smells are so familiar. Only thing that would make it better was if my sister was there too. And a dog. I think my parents should get a dog....

This magnificent lagoon is my nan and pa's pool. 

And this gorgeous creature is my very dear friend Lisa. Lis is such a champion. I miss her all the time. Lucky for me she is coming to visit next week!!! I can't wait.

And the Fringe was on while I was home so I totally lucked out! Adelaide fringe is incredible. 

But lets not forget why i was in town, to puff some glass damnit! And puff glass I did. Me and my trusty team of Dani and Jaan also with the additional sub of Georgie. I just love working with those guys. They are such skilled makers and they just make my entire session a dream to work. Not only are they my mates, they work ridiculously hard for me. And Dani lets me stay with her! I sure do love them a whole bunch. If only I could get them to move to Melbs....

I feel so torn at the moment. I love Adelaide and all it has for me. Family, friends, work, but I love Melbourne for all it's potential and opportunities. I feel like in Melbourne I am back to being a little fish in a big pond. It's tough out there when you run your own business. I just feel like I need a little break, some inspiration, a little silver lining to my cloud. Sometime I feel Melbs is just too cool for me and I get sick of the hype and the hunt for the next big thing. You know, the cool factor, I'm over that. I just want to be happy with what i make and have avenues for it to flourish. I'm a hard little worker bee and I enjoy working hard but I just need some ease to be injected into that work life, I can't have the struggle all the time.

This is taken from one of my very favourite places, Hillside Herbs, a giant succulent and herb farm. So beautiful and every species under the sun. 

And these are some new pieces I have been playing around with.

I'm not exactly sure why I keep this blog, I think it must be just for me? I know people read but I'm curious as to why no one really comments. Must be just for me. Good job me, your'e a good guy at stuff, chin up kid. (Thats what I would comment anyway..)