This week is going to be a crazy week to say the least....I've kind of been in hibernation since January, only coming out long enough to do my daily paintings, then crawling back in my wintery hole waiting for spring. I have seriously (albeit very willingly and consciencly) neglected my glass fusing.
A little history here: When I graduated with my degree in Art Education in 2005 (I was a non-traditional student, single mom of 4, and took the "scenic route" to finishing college.....in other words, it only took me 17 years to complete....TWICE.(a story for another time), I truly thought I would find a teaching position and that that's what I would do until I retired. What's that saying...."sometimes the best laid plans"....or something like that......
Anyway, 6 years later, with a few teaching bits here and there, I've come to the conclusion that I am destined to be an artist, not an art teacher (for now) I'm ok with that, and after much initial frustration, soul-searching, and most importantly the support of my ever-loving, extremely understanding, and supportive love-of -my-life, I'm pursuing my dream of being "just an artist". I realize now that I went the "education" route because I got divorced, and panicked about supporting my 4 kids. When I met Jim, I was given the best gift any artist could ask for: Time. (and of course a huge studio in the barn on 5 gorgeous rural acres to create, my sanctuary)
Ack, I digress....my whole point in this post was to share my glass fusing.
When I graduated, my first job as a "teacher" was at a Boys and Girls Club. If you've never been to one, or don't know what it is, I can't express enough what a haven this is for disadvantaged youth. I was a Unit Director, in charge of implenting programs at a junior high school to keep kids off the streets, give guidance, offer a safe place for them to pursue activities like sports, art, homework, and so much more....this is truly a great place to involve yourself in if you ever get the chance. Having just completed a degree in Art, I wanted to share my excitement for it and also teach the kids something they might not experience even in their regular art class at school. I had been wanting to learn glass fusing for several years, after purchasing a glass necklace at an art festival....I decided I would wear it as a daily reminder until I figured out how it was done......I believe I wore it for 2 years until I learned how to do it....with the help of several "strangers" along the way. This is actually a good story about the spirit of artists and humanity willing to share what they know, give from their heart, and expect nothing in return...a story that deserves it's own "post". Ultimately I learned how to fuse glass, and share it with the kids at the Boys and Girls club, and sell the work they created at the annual fundraiser for the club. You cannot imagine the pride in these kids to have someone buy something they made, to give it tangible value, and in a sense, support themselves.....sigh, another story for another day, and again I digress!!!....such is the mind of a truly scattered artist.....left-handed to boot!
Anyway....I spent 5 years learning the art of glass, selling it at shows locally and online, basically immersing myself in it. Not once in the past 5 years did I pause and think I would ever stop making glass. Right after Christmas, I hit the GLASS WALL. I was just done. Burned out, in a rut, whatever you want to call it. I decided to take a short break and just paint for a couple weeks....ummm....yeah. If you've been following my blog, you know a few weeks has turned into almost 4 months and I'm on a roll now...in painting that is. And I have no intention of stopping for a long time.
I was cajoled into being a part of a huge show in Toledo with a new art group I joined for emerging artists. I did not want to do this event. I politely declined at first, too busy with my painting and hibernating to bother. Then I thought about it. I have crates and crates of finished glass product gathering dust in my studio. I also have a friend in need more than I....A fellow artist and former co-worker , undergoing cancer treatment, supporting a family, and out of work with no pay until he is better. He has a "studio" in his garage that is in need of a few repairs.....well actually more than a few, perhaps a WALL, or some INSULATION, or maybe even an EASEL!!! Shame on me for letting things sit in boxes when they could go to good use in the healing process of not just a fellow artist, but a dear friend who stood by me when times were tough. "Ok", I told the organizer of the event, "I'm in"
I'm a simple person. I don't need my nails done, I get my hair cut once every 3 years, I don't wear shoes often so I certainly don't need 100 pairs , and except for the 10 pounds of weight (ok, maybe 20) I gained when I turned 40, I don't need new clothes...I'll just get paint on them anyway. A long time ago I was taught it was better to give than recieve. Somewhere along the way I was blessed to meet a giver, who gave me new life in the form of a studio, of time, and respect for what I do.....it's my turn to give back too. So here are a few examples of my "other" artform. If you're in the Toledo area and want to stop by the Artomatic 419, come say hello. If you feel compelled, buy a piece of glass....all proceeds go to supporting someone's art dream much the same way mine has been. If you're out of the area, and are interested in my glasswork, I will be posting whatever has not sold on my etsy site in a few weeks to benefit this much needed "recovery studio"......I'll keep you posted.