I often wonder whether I am obsessed with glass, or simply in love with it. I’m certainly in awe. I can while away hours humouring myself with dreams of my next piece which will usually be a magnificent sculpture of a wave lifting itself from the sea and collapsing into a spray of foam on the rocks.
And thinking about glass takes up a large part of my day, in fact everything concerning being a glass artist takes up a large part of my day, from designing, making, planning, buying, selling, teaching, looking at what everyone else is making, talking about it, thinking about it and running a business doing it… and of course dreaming about it.
Two of my granddaughters have different opinions about my relationship with glass.
Heidi, 9 ¾ years old, recently presented me with a video she’d made entitled ‘A Glassy Affair’. Set to a tranquil orchestral score, the video contained clips of me, my glass work, my workspace, me making glass, me looking at glass, my kiln, my tools and more of my glass, subtitled with a story of my search for love, my discovery of glass – my love of glass, and me and glass joined, never to be parted, as she states at the close of the story, ‘a future love affair!’
Older granddaughter Aimee, aged 11 and having a much more utilitarian attitude than Heidi, tuts and rolls her eyes at Heidi’s efforts. Aimee is academic, Heidi is creative. Aimee reads a book, Heidi dances around the room to classical music. One evening as we sat down to dinner together, I asked ‘what should we talk about?’ Aimee swiftly replied, ‘Anything but glass!’ I think says it all about how Aimee views my relationship with glass. Aimee sometimes loses patience with me when I declare ‘I am having a day off’, and she finds me at my desk making something, or in my garage sorting out another over-full shelf or drawer, or cleaning my kiln. To Aimee taking a day off means watching a movie, lazing on the sofa, leaving the chores to another day, to me, and with Heidi’s blessing, taking a day off means devoting the day to my glass.
‘Love’ causes a chemical reaction felt physically in many ways, sweating, butterflies in the stomach, heart rate rising, loss of appetite, general euphoria. That feeling you get when your stomach lurches, your heart pauses as you think about your beloved, or when you see them walking towards you, smiling their love for you… I feel that. I feel it when I make the first score into a large sheet of glass, the trepidation of what it might become, when I close the kiln on a new project, and especially when I open the kiln to see the how it has worked its magic, I feel all of those feelings of ‘love’.So maybe it is a love affair, maybe I am obsessed, maybe I’m just infatuated. It matters not, because it is my passion, it makes me happy, and that makes me a better person, a better grandmother and a better glass artist.