Broken windshields at the dump. Sifting up the glass and letting it pour out of our palms slowly to the ground, eerily saying, “Jeeeewwwwweeelllllllsss” like pirates at a treasure chest.
The tone is a cross between a bull horn & fog horn. It is LOUD. Since last May it has yelled in my ear that it is time to get up. It could be heard as charming and quaint history that the once factory town woke it’s workers.
To me, it screams “Work Ethic” plain and simple.
You are born, grow up, the factory calls, the product must be made, time to get up, time to get there, time for lunch, time to go home.
Waking each day to the sound triggered my inner rebel who says, you go on to the call of the bell, I’m going to go and do my own thing.
My “own thing” brings me to Hammondsport, NY. Where the chimes wait until 8 am to sound from this church. And I have to laugh that the 12:00 chimes are sounding as I write this. They will sound for the last time of the day at 6.
It is musical chimes! Like someone in the basement actually playing a song from their heart. Just joy. Light hearted joy.
Now, what do I do with that?
And, now the job is over, I allow my foot to heal here at the southern end of Keuka Lake, NY, one of the most spectacular places I’ve seen. Fall is on the way. Fall is here. Daily.
- Since the big question has been “Where did you get the idea for ‘The Glass Dresses’?”
- Here, I give you the short and photographic version…..
|Photo by Ann Cady @ ARC Photographic Images, Corning/Elmira NY
The latest glass dress 8/2012
In Ventura CA approximately 2004, my hot shop was glowing brightly. After finishing the work of the day I would go to NIA, a dance /movement technique led by Kate Nash of Ventura NIA Center. Kate, in front of the class, moved her body light as silk in the wind and was able to quickly change those movements to a razor sharp intensity that could slash a cinder block in a second, all the while with compassion, guiding us in our own dance.
At this same time Ventura County Women’s Professional Network was holding a wearable art competition. I, being a clothes maker, wanted to make something out of glass. My challenge was the model…Who could pull off wearing glass? Then I realized if anyone in the world could, it would be Kate.
Not knowing her very well at the time, I sort of tip toed up to Kate after class asking if she would be willing to model for this upcoming competition….”ABSOLUTELY” was her deep, beautiful, british voiced response.
It became a collaboration. We chose the music Carmen’s Bizet- Maria Callas, I made the dress for Kate and she wore it, but what really happened is is that she “danced” the piece….jaw dropping danced it! We won 2 beautiful trophies- People’s Choice and Best Interpretation of the theme, which was “TheTalk of the Town”.
Around this same time Focus on the Masters was having their first Annual Open Studio Tour and my studio was on the map. I wore this dress for the gala opening of the tour at the Ventura County Museum. When people came to my studio the next day they were coming to see the dress. They said they were afraid to appear to be staring at me at event the previous evening. I still don’t know if their fear was because of how revealing the skirt is, or how intense the piece looks in real life.
Photo by Paul Nissen
As I write this, so many vignettes come to mind centered around wearing the dresses….I will tell you about them in time.
As for now my friends….
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.
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.
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.
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!
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,