In the ensuing weeks that have gone by, I am struck by the variety of needs my little project of making a living with my work has required. I long for the days when, by the nature of my job description, I was paid to MAKE AS MANY THINGS AS I COULD. It was someone else's job to prepare quarterly sales tax. It was someone else's job to draft a bio or mission statement. It was someone else's job to call a manufacturer to ask why a backordered color is taking three weeks longer than was originally promised. I do find that I get a feeling of satisfaction in doing anything well, and I appreciate the broader scope of tying everything I do into an expression of my self and creativity, but I have to say... I am really really happy with really hot glass in my hands. Call me crazy. Many have.
I have had two quizzical moments of pause of late that I knew I would end up posting about.
In preparation for the opening of this year's Sign of the Dove holiday store ( Opening November 6, 2009 in the Mall at Chestnut Hill; this feels like an amazing opportunity.) I was searching for some appropriate shelves for my display. Having found what I wanted on-line, I waited perhaps a little too long to pick up said shelves when I made my decision. (At the time I thought I would save money on the shipping by purchasing directly from a local outlet , but save my hunting time to that I spent on-line.) I found the shelves I wanted... but not in the clear glass of my dreams, only in a darker walnut. Being particularly picky about the display I then began a physical hunt for something else in and around the Nashua, NH area with the scattershot approach of a shotgun. In proximity, I spied a Sears and thought, you never know, can't hurt to look. No interesting display possibilities but I walked past what I thought was a noteworthy scene. In the men's department, trying on winter jackets were a group of Buddhist Monks in full robe. One monk in particular I noticed was drinking out of what was obviously a Starbucks Coffee cup. I am still pondering the implications of this.
During a period where I can only describe as transportationly challenged (oh how one takes a car for granted when it is working properly) I found myself at Boston's North Station to catch the Lowell commuter train. Having been forcibly made to sit down for a period of time, I glanced up.
Look close. Here's a better view, one that I also am still pondering the implications of.
Had the chance to see my nephews over the weekend. The kids are doing great, just needs a crazy uncle to swoop in every now and then to get em all wound up and crazy. Seems to take remarkably little to achieve this; but then, they are my nephews....
In the last week I've made an effort to keep up with my various commitments and yet give myself a little room to rest and recuperate, thus forestalling an extreme event; say, falling face first into my flame due to exhaustion, or perhaps needing to be coaxed down from some downtown building as I fight maniacally with a cleaning mop. I am happy to say I feel more rested and refreshed, and no rescue agency has been bothered with any need for a swat team. Some of this is due to a happy event around my girlfriend's house.
Lyn Brown is, besides being artist/owner of Paper Wasp Design, a caretaker of a feral cat colony in her backyard in Somerville, MA. Besides food, she provides winter shelters, shots and in some cases euthanasia when necessary. She participates in a TNR (trap, neuter, and release) program with Charles River Alleycats which also provide rabies shots. I am very impressed and amazed that she manages this all while being a self-employed artist like myself. Last week there was a feral cat momma found in Medford, MA I believe, with five young kittens. A good person who was familiar with what Lyn does for these kinds of cats brought mommy and her brood to Lyn's house while adoptions can be arranged.
Who can stay stressed when you get to spend time with these little faces?
The note I wish to leave this post on (just so you don't think I've gone too super mushy):
This photo is of the kitten temporarily nicknamed Biscuit sinking his sharp little fangs into my toe.
My blogging brain has been swamped. Here it is June 20 (as the clock has just gone 12:15 am) and I look back and see I last posted on May 31. In truth there is great deal I would have loved to blog about at the time but I just never made it past doing some packing, or catching up on Flying Pigs and Green Frogs or, or or....and so on. Open Studio was the next big push after my Providence Show I DID post about. Perhaps a little less restful sleep happened than was required in that week, as I was preparing my piece for the Dirty, Smelly Noisy II show as well.
For my peeps and family in more West Coast environs, (WA, OR and even New Mexico... ((I know you are out there Vanessa and Cuevea!))) and my brethren still on the rock (Bermuda) Dirty, Smelly, Noisy needs a little set-up.
Dirty, Smelly, Noisy was a show hosted last June in the studio complex I rent out of, known as Western Avenue Studios. (Henceforth to be referred to as WAS.) (Don't want to lose my East Coast tribe with tooooo long a take on all this.) In a desire to improve an already vibrant and growing revitalization in Lowell; BPV Lowell, LLC gave the opportunity to intrepid entrepreneurs/Artists interested in working out of inexpensive studio space in an old mill building. Some three years into the project, the powers that be began looking to expand into live/work spaces in portions of the mill that would be good to accommodate such a thing. Well,small town politics are '
bout the same no matter the country nor region , so I think I can suffice to say some of the more entrenched attitudes threw a lot of hurdles to prevent this expansion. Their argument was encapsulated more or less by a phrase used early in the opposition. "Oh that area is just too Dirty, Smell, and Noisy to have anyone LIVE there.
I will let you imagine the rest of the tape tangled in our way.
June of 2008 WAS hosted an open invitation,
The exhibit is open to any artist who wishes to make a statement about the inspiration to be found inindustrial areas, about where artists are happy livingand working or about the difficulties that we face infinding affordable, suitable places to live and work.
The show was lots of fun, we had art coming in from from many places from around the USA and we kept hacking through the weeds until, finally, we received the proper permit to begin building our live/work spaces. Fast forward a year and there has been enough interest (and Artists don't need much of an excuse for a party) to revisit the theme and concept. Part II is up for all of June. (I will post some about Dirty, Smelly, Noisy II again soon as I have photos and some sleep deprived stories to share... but for now... I get to the reason this post is named "Where Glass comes to Life")
It is best to shoot back to my last post. After sleeping incoherently for some of Sunday morning after Saturday's Providence Open Market, I was back in the studio Sunday afternoon beginning the process of putting the studio back together for Open Studio the coming Saturday and preparing for what I was to do Monday. Monday I met with the owner of Blue Cloud Gallery in Somerville and am now selling items from her store! That was a bit of a good boost of morale, creating another income stream with future orders, but as Open Studio's at WAS is a monthly event I wanted to improve and update my display and catch up on stock that I know I was going to need for that day so it was a muted celebration in my head as I powered through a mostly reallllly long rest of the week.
The best part of Open Studio on that Saturday happened very early, just before our 12 pm to 5pm scheduled festivities. Two of the friends I have enjoyed in the Lowell area is named Dean and his daughter Melissa. They have both kept me company on more than a few Open Studios and Melissa spends time between Heather's studio and mine while I get to talk with Dean. It must have been 11:30 am on this particular Open Studio Saturday and Dean arrived with something from Melissa for me. Melissa could not come to Open Studio that month as she was elsewhere, doing something different, but she made it very clear her Dad was to deliver her work to me. I will start with the photos.
Melissa had taken my postcard photos and added a large tag line for me above them, "Where Glass Comes To Life", followed then by my name. As you can see the bottom left says Unique Glass then bottom right she signed her name for me.
I WILL say this only once, but... Aw! Thank you Melissa. After you leave the third grade maybe you can start working on your portfolio and I will hire you to do some more graphic design. Couldn't be better.
Open Studio ended well and I repeated the way my last weekend went by sleeping incoherently for some of Sunday morning after June's WAS Open Studio 1st Saturday of the Month, then I was back in the studio beginning the process of putting the studio back together and preparing for what I was to do Monday.
Monday I traveled to Newburyport, MA and met with the owners of Sisters We Three and am now selling my work of this store! PHew.
Bringing it all back home, for this is a looooong post (gotta post more often, more efficient), I worked the rest of this week as I am doing Providence Open Market again. I leave for the show at 6:30 am. As of this posting, it is 1:55 am.
bye for now. Hope to be sleeping incoherently some of Sunday morning, I then have a shift to do at the Sign of the Dove store in Porter Square, Cambridge (an Artist CO-OP I am in ) . MAYBE I will get into that in a post someday.
My first outdoor show of the season was Saturday in Providence, RI. They host it Saturday's until some time in the fall at Lippitt Memorial Park.
I was eager to debut a new design for my jewelry; I have been saving any scrap from my glass rods, less than perfect pieces, and those sad broken casualties from my clumsy mishandling. ( I once kicked an entire tray of Ladybug Sculptures and the carnage was unbelievable.... I almost cried.) I spent some time assembling and melting this material, added some dichroic and presto! Pendants!
I like the random element that is created by using bits of other pieces, no two will ever be alike and by being able to do this, I will no longer feel so heartbroken when I break something. It will gain new life in the jewelry department. When I am working out a new design on my bench, there is always a period of creating some horribly wonky ones until I find the balance and line that works for that particular piece, now these too will be re-imagined as well.
(at this point I feel I should apologize for the shadow in this photo...I did a quick job of taking pictures at about 3:30 am as I was packing up.... don't ask....)
Now armed with the new display that I worked out going to SoWa Art Walk (was that really only two weeks ago?) and some new work to offer,
I left at 6:30 am to make my 8:15 set up time.
I started on a good note by making my first sale as I was still setting up. The foot traffic stayed steady the whole day! Two of the highlights I want to share with this blog are here:
ZDiG blog friends, meet Max, Max, ZDiG blog friends. Max sat
like this as I did a transaction with his owner, and kept creeping
forward on his belly like this, tail beating
furiously back and forth
the entire time. What a fun dog.
This is one pug ugly kid. Wait... it is a pug.
The photo says more than I can say. I did note that there was no child anywhere that I could see. Too fun.
My neighbor at this show was another glass blower! RI artist Neal Drobnis set up and had available some amazing pieces.
I wanted to get more details on how he created this piece (as we were both busy with customers it was hard to keep talking shop...), I do know that he used a sand-cast mold to blow into to create the main bowl shape, and it looks as if he assembled the rest of the elements together hot. I can tell you this, the man clearly has wrists and forearms made of iron! That is a LOT of glass to keep on the end of a punty. You can check out more of Neal and his work at www.nealdrobins.com.
There was another glass artist set up just a few tents away. Jennifer Goodale works primarily with borosilicate flameworking but has a range and experience in furnace work as well. She is a part of a new studio in Acton, MA, and is a place I feel quite certain I will be visiting before long. You can find information about it at www.newcreationglassworks.com. I enjoyed speaking with her and enjoyed the work she had on offer.
So here it is Monday, June 1. I'm already well into the needs for this week! I am catching up on stock in general, working on an order that is going to Blue Cloud Gallery in Somerville (so happy to be showing my work there.... I need to send them some green frogs and flying pigs... I never seem to have enough of those. Good problem to have), and am looking to setting up for June's Open Studio on Saturday.
I have friends who have been or are still in the military, and have been deployed to all sorts of hairy, scary and intense places in the world. I do not always share political or philosophical opinions, but I am proud we have always been able to meet in some way, on some level, and managed to feel the respect of real friendship.
Some have said to me that this is what makes America and Americans so great. I would like to take this further and say that this is what makes being an awake and aware Human so great.
So, to all Spiritual Warriors, anyone standing for their honesty and integrity; I salute you.
Honestly... could you pass me that hot dog? Is that spicy mustard? Oh and I most certainly want another helping of that potato salad.
Thank you to all that stopped by and helped make the weekend fun!
My show season has begun. I managed to stuff the car with all my display and all my work, set up and tear down with no major issues (like the time last season I set up only to discover I had left my cash box at the studio.... Heather Wang is an ANGEL.. she split her cash with me that day) and even had the chance to walk about and enjoy the proceedings.
Here are some of the photos I took along the way.
The fore mentioned Heather Wang with her beautiful jewelry and her bright, shining smile :)
Another beautiful person with a beautiful smile ...
Liz Smith of Made in Lowell... (I have great friends and a lot of them are Western Avenue Studio Artists)
When I visited her she had a number of visitors enthralled by her felting demo.
The Skiing Weaver herself; Kristin Kelly. I am constantly impressed by her quality of work and the caring, intelligent person she is in all circumstance.
Liz Stewart, owner of Lush Beads. Liz to me is an enabler to my bead
addiction. I love making beads. Liz is surrounded by beads. How could
I not find an understanding soul in her. That and she is wicked funny.
a great combination.
Art by Verde; Vicki Green.
Dare I say it... A woman I have had a crush on since I met her. It may have something to do with the fact that I want to put her art everywhere I can
in my living space. That and she is very cool. I say this at the risk of incurring the wrath of The Doctor of Manliness himself, Bill Green. I live with the hope that my previous statement can be mitigated by the fact that, he is my only man crush I am willing to reveal. Only the truly knowing can know of what I speak. Here we have a rare photo of the D.O.M. meditating on a tome of supreme knowledge and weight, creating a cone of great density that makes all around him question their integrity.
I shared a space with Candace, the Etsy Queen. Her work as the Intuitive Garden is elegant, very unique. I have never seen work like hers, a lot of it one of a kind jewelry not to be missed. She and her husband Matt were wonderful company. I was pleased to get some advice about my intended Etsy site and found she was a fount of knowledge. Her display and range of items are very inspiring.
It is at this point I must appeal to the reader to forgive any blurry photography. I AM A GLASS ARTIST, not a photographer! In a desire to communicate myself to those interested in my work and inner workings, I pledge to improve this skill, but I urge the reader to have patience with me.
I am forty years old and I have never been to Ikea.... until yesterday.
What I believed to be a simple expedition to pick up a couple display items in preparation for this weekend's show, became a trip down the rabbit hole; a kaleidoscope of conflicting thoughts and feelings and a deep inner struggle with my very soul... and wallet.
Oh the lights! mmmmm.... the display I could create, I was transported by the desire to light my table in a manner that even the band Great White would consider overkill. And then I would transform my studio space... I would never want to leave.... (well, to be honest, most days I feel like that anyway, but oh....) the majesty of its vision left me staring vacantly, blankly creating a human sandbar in the aisle around which the river of college students, gay couples and surprisingly young looking yuppie Moms with cadillac strollers had to flow around.
My only defense is that I have spent ten years of my life away from my native United States of America, living on a small island nation, where such a place was only a fable told to envious consumers. I like to think my state of being was in part, a lingering culture shock, an over saturation of my vulnerable senses unused to the intense exposure. Who knows, I will leave that for the psychiatrists to work out.
So here I am, decidedly weakened by our Chinese Overlords offerings. I can't help but realize that Tyler Durden would leave me on the porch forever for being so enchanted.
My only solace is I had the self-control to walk away only eighty dollars lighter.
SoWa Art Walk is imminent! Friday is load-in and I'm still pulling bits together for my display.
The Show is on.
I've added more jewelry items and reduced my space to a single table, allowing me to make a good showcase, have some room for ornaments and earrings and there ya go.
Last year I attended this show and did quite well, I enjoyed myself a great deal and got some great ideas that I am now working with.
The Stage is set.
Am I blowing proportions of expectation into my weekend that will only naturally lead to a wicked headache?
Not really, in truth there is nothing to lose by being at the SoWa Art Walk group space for there was no table fee to pay!
Another reason I think this is a good show.
I will see about posting some photos along the way, tomorrow looks to hold a day of last minute display items and very little time behind the flame, so I am sure I can find a time or two to take a shot.
I will share what it looks like from behind my shield and in front of the flame. Glass enthusiasts are welcome and so are friends!