If you follow Stafford Art Glass on our Facebook page, you will know about the slew of delays I have had in getting the studio back online again. It has been kind of exciting, in a weird way, if only because of the significant improvements I have been able to work into the studio while waiting. Oh, and the fingers I broke last Fall are doing very well, thank-you (the first of a few of the snarls time-wise!).
Myself, I have tried to remain as Zen about this as possible. While I very much want to have glass available to an eager group who has expressed interest in it, I also know that once I get in the thick of things once the furnaces are turned on and the gas bills keep climbing, it will be harder to make the changes that I have made this past Spring and Summer. These are all great changes, they just took some time (some longer than others!).
As I sit here, the furnace is actually on its second melt, which means that it is producing excellent glass, the doors to all of the furnaces and a kiln have been hooked up to pneumatic foot control (nice for when you are holding a blow pipe),which means they open and close without having to muscle them open and closed by hand. The vent hood has been enclosed for more efficient ventilation, a fan has been wired in for that vent hood, and some other equipment have also gotten some upgrades.
Over the course of the last several months I have ordered over 50 new glass colors, and I put in another order for over half of that amount just yesterday. I have ordered glass color that I think will make for really interesting pumpkins as well as expanded color choices for ornaments, increasing the choices ten-fold. Some of these colors are ones I have not used in my own professional production over twenty years of working in the field (so this is a big step). None of this has been cheap, but it makes for a better experience for all of the people who are eager to sink their teeth into some exciting new offerings at the studio. One of the upgrades has been making sign-up for classes or workshops something that you can do from your phone or computer online.
Beginning the first of October, I will be rolling out my new internet booking calendar. This calendar will be available right here on this blog at www.staffordartglass.blog. This calendar will allow you to book classes from the comfort of your mobile device or from your living room. From now until the calendar goes live, there will be upgrades and changes being made to the calendar to make it more useful for most of the classes that will be taught at the studio. Even though it is up right now, changes are in the process of being made, so it is not just yet ready for prime-time (but soon!).
Here are some of the classes that will be offered beginning October 1st:
- Blow Your Own Pumpkin – offered from October 1st through to November 18th. You can pick a thirty minute slot for a small pumpkin or two slots for a larger pumpkin (I will have examples of these two sizes when we get closer to our class roll-out).
- Blow Your Ornament Ball (BYOB) from November 30th through to December 22nd.
- Make Your Own Paperweight – available year round.
- Make Your own Suncatcher – available year round.
- Weekend Glass Blowing Intensive – the first weekend of each month (subject to minimum enrollment).
- One-Day Glass Blowing Intensive – the second Saturday of each month (subject to minimum enrollment).
That said, this schedule is just a guide to make things easier for all involved. However, if someone would like to make a pumpkin in January or even in May, all you need to do is look on the calendar and see if the time is available. The same goes for ornaments. If you would like to blow an ornament in October to avoid making something in December, you are welcome to do that. The way the calendar and the classes are set up for single items, I have those designed so that an ornament can be made within a 30 minute booking session (which is how the first calendar is set up—and yes, there may be individual calendars for different classes but I have to work out the coding for that first). Since all classes are individual and include one-on-one instruction (except for the one and two-day intensives) this makes scheduling much easier. In truth, it might only take 15 minutes to make an ornament or suncatcher, but I give you that time to make sure we cover all the bases while each and every person is here. Likewise, a small pumpkin can be made in thirty minutes and a large one can be made in an hour (you would book two thirty minutes slots and let me know that you want to make a large pumpkin when you arrive). The elegance of the way these experiences are set up is that by doubling up on two 30 minute slots is you get the right pricing and enough time to make your piece. It is a modular system I developed that makes scaling up simple and easy.
There are many things I do not know just yet about the full functionality of the calendar and how many options I will be able to include, but right off the bat I know that there are some options as I write this that will be available. For example, this calendar will be able to utilize coupon codes so those of you who follow Stafford Art Glass at Facebook or on other social media sites like Twitter can grab coupon codes that will be announced there and bring them here for making your final booking. To take advantage of these, go to the site for Stafford Art Glass on Facebook, hit “Like” and get the latest codes and updates. We are located on Facebook here:
In instances where the calendar does not allow for the type of flexibility that I might have hoped, I will be announcing work-arounds in the event that someone wants something custom or different from the norm. But as of right now, I am still learning how to make this calendar as flexible for your use as possible. I am using one of the highest rated booking calendars out there available for the Word Press platform (it even takes payments) so I am expecting a high degree of functionality once I uncover all of the bells and whistles in the next few weeks. Given how this past year has gone, I am a little gun shy about making promises about exactly how I expect something like the new booking system will work. I just know that once I sink my teeth into it, I will be able to work through the software to help bring value to my customers.
If you subscribe to the blog, you will be kept up to date about any new classes or events happening that involve booking your place for an event. While there will also be updates on Facebook, these can easily get buried under new posts. Word Press makes it so that you can receive updates through email as well as SMS (text message to your phone) which can be even more convenient for many of you. I can also provide class descriptions here that may be too lengthy for Facebook readers.
You will find that prices are inclusive for all of our classes. That means no pesky add-ons that you have to worry about. Anyone taking a class also receives 15% off all merchandise in the gallery as a special thank-you for educating yourself about what it takes to delve into the world of glass making.
In the meantime, until we reach the first of October, I will be working to produce samples of a full line of ornaments that will make deciding on an ornament color combination easier once you show for your time slots. I will do the same with sample pumpkin color combinations, too. Then, if you get here and can’t decide what colors you would like, I will have some samples that might make deciding easier.
Thank you all who have been following along for your patience! My hope is that the changes will be welcome and will make everything just a little bit more easy. Here’s to a fun and exciting Fall!
Keep It Hot,
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