Work Week Austin: A Week in the Life of a Family Business


Usually, Ellen (in Berkeley, CA) and I (in Austin, TX) work together seamlessly, uninhibited by distance, transferring files back and forth and forth and back on our ftp site (our computer in the sky), but every now and then it’s nice to do certain projects eye to eye (and laugh to laugh).

This week has been one of those weeks.  Our “California office” came to Austin, and our newest studio member, sister number two, came from Virginia, with her newly acquired Photoshop and Illustrator skills, and we basically created our Surtex booth in the entry to the studio.  Surtex is a trade show in May, which seems far away, but will be here before we can blink!  We had many decisions to make: what to show, how much to show, how to show it, and the issue with which I became obsessed–how to make our booth meet the New York City Fire Department regulations even though it is made entirely of paper.  I think the best moment of this ongoing discussion was the instance in which Jim tried to show me that I was over-thinking this concern and held a match to a piece of foam core with aplomb, and we all had to quickly say, “Dad, the foam core is on fire … really, look … the foam core is on fire.”  Needless to say, I won, and we ordered every kind of fire retardant available.

I do want to take this moment to say that Jim (although a tiny bit know-it-all about the fire matter) is our biggest supporter and journeyed out on many late-night-Home-Depot runs and invented two magnificent ways for attaching our shelving and hanging our boards, as well as providing frozen yogurt for the late night workers/daughters.  Thank you Jim/Dad.
So, that was our work week, and, although I did perhaps spend too much time thinking about fire over the course of the week, we did accomplish a great deal, and we are more or less ready for Surtex.  It was a great week of making art, mocking up art, and displaying art.  We also squeezed in a few episodes of Modern Family, because we think the writers must have planted secret cameras in our house to create some of their episodes.

Here are a few photos from our studio work week, just to give you an idea of what life is like in a family business like ours.  If you see any scenes like these in future episodes of Modern Family, we will know for sure that there are some secret cameras around here!
Do you have a family business?  If so, we would love to hear about your family/business dynamics.  And, I’m just wondering: do you ever ask your “employees” to empty the dishwasher?  Just wondering.



  1. ellen March 15, 2010

    I love the fabric wrapped around Jules’s head!

  2. Muv March 16, 2010


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