Grabbing The Love

I started out as a painter, and moved to silversmith;  my skill as a glass blower had brought me to an opportunity of guiding at risk youth in painting.   The last many years have been rewardingly filled with the business of a glassblowing studio and its production demands.  From introducing “The Glass Dress”, to the public demonstration of glassblowing techniques, I have enjoyed the evolution of my creative process.

The colors of a hot piece of glass while it goes through its changes invoke a spectacular awe.  There is no way possible to reproduce the visuals of this transformation.  I pay close attention and am a witness to the moment.  I take this philosophy with me into many areas of my life. (photo above)  

 A similar metamorphosis takes place while I continue a discipline of painting and journaling to keep current in whatever medium I am working, whether it be glass, painting, or teaching.  These techniques keep me in my flow and become a habit.  Like exercise for the body, it helps me be limber and current in the present.  In painting I take the awareness of the instant and continue through to the next indicated step… no expectation, no outcome, no demand, only the feeling, or maybe the sound, no- the pull of the brush on the paper, pulling me into a language that I speak in that moment.   Ordinarily, a “no-show” rule applies to this process…I love to break this rule with the photos directly above and below.

The same goes toward my journaling, a stream of consciousness with no care for vocabulary or punctuation, only a flow that comes through the action and brings me into the moment, which is gone as I write the word.    A “no read” rule protects me from the constant editor of my mind.

In September, 2009 I started teaching at Providence School in the Ventura County Probation Juvenile Facilities, Oxnard.  I had created a curriculum using the above-mentioned tools of painting and journaling.  Through the techniques I shared with the kids, we not only developed the use of creativity in our practice, but also a relationship with each other was sparked and deepened.  Fostering trust and sharing, we learned what it is inside that wants to get outside onto the page.  Slowly and apparently through these actions of expression, I watched the development of self esteem.  This class was a success in the facility.   In this environment, color, brush, and paper lead the artist into his own process as the painting above shows.  I also gave out journals and ask the artists to keep the words flowing when they were outside of the class.  Again, the “no read” rule applies, yet many of the participants had been compelled to share and ask me to read the fruits of their thought process.  With no comments and no critique, I was invited into their inner world.

I watched these artists in their courage and I am still amazed as I remember seeing how they bared their souls to themselves.  An experience that cannot be repeated ever, a moment that is recorded in a brush stroke or a negative space, at first a choice, and then that moment is gone!  In one case gone over for a second layer, because the artist didn’t like what he started.   I watched him build many layers as he finally gave in to a painting that he felt was finished.  It holds up a mirror to life, as our past choices are refined and transformed through the determination to follow our insights.

I remember how one artist was working out his drug addiction with paint on paper.  It takes a backbone of steel to sit for almost two hours and dip those emotions into paint and lay them down on the page:

Another aspiring young artist, filled to the brim with ideas, was finally ready to let go of painting his name over and over.   I challenged him one day to not use his name; in the first two paintings after the challenge his initials sufficed.  From that point on it was almost as if a surge of energy grabbed him and he began powering his paintings through his imagination with whirlwind emotion:

One of my favorite incidents is the case of an artist who didn’t say one word to me for weeks.   He slowly painted many cloudy skies and storms.  His paintings began to include scenes of houses and playgrounds.  His first quiet words were spoken as he painted the sun coming up through another cloud, a last-minute addition to a seemingly finished piece.

I share this story as I move to a new chapter in my life.   I recently heard someone say “grab the love that is given from the unexpected places”.   I am and always will be so grateful to the guys in Wheeler 1 for sharing their lives with me and showing me love at a time when I needed it most- and didn’t realize it until sharing this with you now.  
Thank you.
And guys….if you are seeing your work here and you are 18 years of age….contact me please.  I would love to give you credit!

Doctor di Peste-Plague Doctor

Reflect the plague-Reflect the fear-Reflect the death
I have not succumbed.  My reasoning comes in bits and pieces.
I was born on Burano.  My entire island was condemned for the Plague- I will never forget approaching the boat as my grandmother handed me a package through the means of a long stick.  “Burn the outer package.  The rest has not been touched”, she cried, and sank back into the burning island along with the rest of my family and hoards of victims.
Rowing to Murano I thought of family I had just left in the billowing inferno.  I was so sad.  I was angry.  I felt helpless.  I met an American glass artist Teal Rowe.  Her Italian was broken and I think she had trouble understanding me through my terror yet she kept insisting it was because of the Burano dialect.  She was working on making beads “mille fiore” (millions of flowers), she had bright colors, she listened to my sadness understanding my grief.  I used the fire of her torch to burn the wrapping of the package my grandmother had given me.  Inside a metal box was the lace my grandmother had created with her own hands.  Not touched by the plague.  Touched by grandmother.  Each thread had been spun, each knot wrapped by the tips of her smooth delicate fingers.  I was delighted to have these strips of lace, these memories of my roots in Burano.  The dark reflections of what affect this disease had on my family became brighter.  Through the time and colors I realized I wanted to go to Venice.  Upon departure Teal gave me a silk bag, “Open this later”, and walked away.  I could not wait.  I stopped rowing long enough to untie the satin cord and peek into the beautiful mille fiore beads that had absorbed all of the horrendous visions of my experiences.  She had given me these bright reflections.
I was a stranger to this huge city of Venice.  I decided to focus on one thing.  I studied, I dug deep into the history of the plague, into darkness, into the terror of societies, animals, families, and individuals.  I became a doctor.  Doctor di Peste.  I reflect the plague.  I reflect the fear.  I reflect death.
I am a reflection of brightness.

Hello Everyone!
I want to give you the “heads up” that I am heading to Corning, NY.
I will be teaching glassblowing/sculpting at the 
Corning Museum of Glass

My showroom in Ojai will be open by appointment (805-646-4605) until April 16.
I have many earrings, solid core sculpture, and blown pieces.
I wanted to put this out especially to the people I think are wanting a piece, but putting it off…..

If you want the paintbrushes or earrings they are well stocked by Karin at  Calais & Co
212-B E. Ojai Ave.

After April 16 my favorite form of communication will be e-mail…pictures on this blog and you can always see me on facebook.

I thank you for every single word, thought, and action of support you have given me along the way.  I am really looking forward to this next step.
Best to you,