Several times over the past few years I've read Facebook posts by glass artists who were fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, thereby acquiring a windfall of glass supplies and equipment. Often this was the result of another artist deciding to retire from the craft for one reason or another. I was simultaneously tickled by...and envious of...the recipient's luck.
Last weekend it was my turn to receive such a windfall. The wife of a friend had decided that her health issues had progressed to the point that she could no longer work with glass safely, and I was offered the opportunity to explore the contents of the studio and purchase whatever was of interest. The result was that I bought every. Single. Thing. This included an older Paragon kiln, stained glass supplies (the gateway drug, as we all know), cutters, grinders, the works. The most exciting thing in the mix was a small Bullseye crate absolutely full of mixed half sheets of Bullseye glass. The crate was purchased by my friend's wife back in the 90s from another artist who was retiring HIS studio. The crate lid had the address for D&L Glass in Denver. I haven't yet had a chance to explore the glass in that crate, but I am beside myself with curiosity.
What I did not expect to experience was the sadness that accompanies the ending of a chapter in someone's life, that moment when they realize that an activity they once loved is no longer feasible. I felt the melancholy of time passing and opportunity missed. I thought about the day when I might be forced to take the same action and pass my own lovingly-hoarded glass on to another artist. It's not a day I look forward to. The artist letting go of her studio was much more philosophical than I would have been, and handled it with grace.
As 2021 begins to reveal itself, I am grateful for this precious treasure trove of glass. I am resolved to use it to catalyze a new level of creative expression, though currently I don't know what form that may take. But I have the gifts of time, health, and ideas. It's a not-so-gentle reminder to me that it's time to abandon the doom-scrolling, energy-wasting, anxious focusing on issues that I can't directly influence. We artists are at our best when we are making art. It's the purest expression of ourselves. Let's get back to it, shall we?