Saturday, June 23, 2012

Simplifying Production

Over the last couple of weeks, my new corner of the studio has evolved into such an efficient work area.
I have actual files for everything. Bottom drawer = personal stuff, including my long lost college transcripts. Top drawer = everything Museware. It's a much improved collection of design, marketing, licensing, web site and showroom stuff. I've relocated my stamp making equipment from next to the sink to next to my computer, cutting miles off of my stamp-making-machine commute.

This is the view from my new area. I love it over here! The light is great and I don't have my back turned to everyone all day. Most of the 8' length of my desk is taken up by my technology, but this giant 5x8 table is completely free. Everything that once lived here is now on Nicole's Mobil Painting Unit, seen here in action.

We spent last week implementing the seriously awesome idea I discovered while researching block printing: Mounting our stamps on Plexiglas. Our 2nd most popular wedding platter takes forever to paint. It includes 14 individual painted and placed design elements. We've reduced that to five. The simple change cut labor on almost half our our designs by more than 1/2. Whoo hoo! We're all starry eyed over here! Shorter production time reduces costs, which is really good for the bottom line. It also reduces lead time, which is really good for business.

I do need to put some bragging on that stainless shelf on the production table. This is half of one of our glaze racks. It's strong enough to hold stock, tall enough to see through, stores everything we need and perfectly holds and displays our work orders. Work orders used to sit underneath each piece, forcing us to pick up the item in order to read the instructions and again to check accuracy. Every minute we save on production goes right to the bottom line. We're feeling kinda brilliant.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Workspace Redesign

Last week, I moved across the studio and took over Nicole's desk. It took the entire week. That's my new stand-up station on the end. I've spent every day, all day, for years - on my ass in front of a computer screen. Because heart disease & stroke are for other people. Now, I'm on my feet all day. It's 8 feet to my printer. My feet are killing me at the end of the day. It's awesome.

The plan was to move Nicole out of this space and into my desk. Even though it's way more space than she needs, it seemed a logical choice. After a full week of moving, rewiring, reconnecting and re-conceiving, I realized there was no way I was going to fit me and our textile factory in my new corner. I started eyeballing Nicole's new desk. When I told her I had decided to make it the stitching area, she looked so downcast and homeless that I knew I was going to have to make it up to her.
Keeping this desk meant that I did not have to clean out these full wall cabinets. With the exception of my vintage 1976 Kenmore machine (which I seriously found on the side of the road and it totally works) all of my sewing stuff from home has been relocated here. Which means I can walk through my living room once again. See the singer box? It's a serger on loan from my talented altered clothing friend Diane Fishel. So that the inside of my pillow covers will look pretty.

This wall used to house my 6' x 6' design library shelf. The library part took up a couple of shelves. The rest was an impenetrable wall of fabric, tiles, art supplies and junk. The shelf has been relocated to admin - the junk, to the shelf in my area. The displaced admin desk is now Nicole's new desk. I even moved our raggedy Ficus trees over there. They hang over her monitor like she's sitting on a veranda. Same with the chair. It's a very pleasant space. I surprised her with it when she came back from the long Memorial day weekend. When Sara saw it, she smiled and said, "Now all she needs is a frosty beverage." 

Here's my Number One, Nicole, sitting on her veranda. She's worked for me for years and this is the coolest space she's ever had. She even has her own printer. And, her phone and mouse are on the left hand side. You can't see it, but there's a frosty glass of iced coffee sitting on the counter. She's all happy and shit. Which makes me happy. Here sits the most loyal, hardworking employee/friend one could ask for. Lucky me. 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sketching with Wacom

I can't face rearranging my printing area today. In order for me to set it up, I have to tear everything down. Which means I have to get dirty. My 39 year high school reunion is tonight and I don't want to have to do with a complete style reno before heading out. So that I can see people who knew me only when I was on my worst possible behavior. What fun.

So instead of keeping with the plan, I'm going with the flow. These silly little birds have been keeping me entertained for days. The top was drawn in my sketch book and edited in PS. The bottom number was born and raised in Photoshop. I sketched it using my very cool Wacom Tablet. My sketches have none of the unconscious charm of a child's drawing, though they are childlike. If I'm going to create bad art, I'm going to need to disguise the fact that it's all I'm capable of.