Maybe I should start by telling you a little bit about me. I’ve been pursuing the arts for most of my life in one form or another. Creativity seems integral to my well-being.
I didn’t truly find my niche until a little over 9 years ago…and it happened quite by accident. I was mourning the recent death by suicide of my best friend from childhood, Christine. She only got 35 birthdays. As I thought about her, I couldn’t help but reflect on my father who died of cancer. He only got 38 birthdays. Somewhere in between both of their ages at 36, I really started thinking about where my own life was headed and things started happening as a result.
The first of those things was a rather off the cuff decision to take a class where I would learn to make glass beads after I saw a flyer at the bead store that had become my new favorite source of materials to fill my insatiable hunger to make stuff — and beading was my newest obsession. I got the last spot in the class.
As I walked into the class, I saw around me a bunch of women from different walks of life, all with much more of an understanding of what we’d gotten ourselves into. Hot glass. Blow torches. Kilns. It was all new to me.
The instructor, Amy Lemaire, walked in wearing a t shirt with the following slogan:
“You will get cut. You will get burned. Become a lampworker today.”
If words fail to express how that statement has become my mantra for living, just know that this slogan changed my life by expressing what I began to realize after Christine died. Life is exactly the same way. We all get cut and we all get burned…so why do we keep going?
The answer to that and to why one continues to play with molten glass and blowtorches even though pain and disappointment are inevitable is simple: because sometimes out of the pain and difficulty, something beautiful happens.
In 2011, I found myself getting cut and burned quite a bit by life. I had moved to the Midwest from Colorado to be closer to my family and to a man I was in love with. I did so without getting a job first. So I guess what happened next was inevitable. The man broke my heart. Employment was hard to come by…and without money, no studio where I could melt glass. I was devastated and frankly, a bit broken by life.
But as has happened before when life burns and cuts, something beautiful came out of the pain. Quite by accident I read an ad for a new arts community forming in the heart of downtown Saint Louis Missouri…live/work lofts for creative people . Of course, there was an application process and I was honored to be chosen.
Shortly before that, a job in the non-profit field also found me after eight long months of unemployment. It was wonderful to be back to work…and even better for me, given the state I was in, to be doing something that helped other people and helped me stop focusing so much on my own problems.
And that brings us to where I am today. All of us have scars from life…and some of mine are more visible than the scars others carry simply because of how I have chosen to use these days I have been granted on planet earth. I’d rather suffer the cuts and burns of glass than to live without it…and I’d rather endure life’s cuts and burns than to sit on the sidelines.
Since I’m talking about life’s cuts and burns and the beauty that results, I can’t think of a better picture to start my website off with than this one. It’s a piece I did in honor of my father, Christine and my grandfather for a Dia de los Muertos show. It’s the culmination of everything I’ve been preaching here. I got burned and cut a lot making this piece — both physically and emotionally – but it’s beautiful.
So here we are. A new town, a new studio at Leather Trades Artists’ Lofts, and my own website. Thanks for joining me on this journey. Let’s see where it takes us and what beauty lies ahead…