“That is not glass,” the man said flatly, “The label’s wrong.”

Well, yeah, it IS glass–I kinda gave birth to it–but I didn’t contradict him. I was having too much fun.

His wife edged up to the pate de verre panel, until her nose nearly touched it. “No, I think it *is* glass, honey,” she said doubtfully, “I can see light through it.”

The man thwocked the piece with thumb and middle finger–I winced–and it rang satisfactorily. “I guess you’re right,” he said, and they moved on.

Listening anonymously to other people discussing your art, I’m finding, is one of the true joys of being an artist. I got a lot of joy tonight; I was at a reception for the Beaverton Arts Showcase with two pieces in the show. They’re both 9×9 pate de verre panels from my Emergents series, and I got a kick out of the number of folks who saw them and did a doubletake. “That’s glass?”

By the end of the evening I was tempted to put up a sign: “Yeah. That’s glass.”

They seemed to like them, though, and I’m slowly getting used to sticking little pieces of myself all over town in hopes someone will pay money for them.

The night before my first show, I bloody near threw a brick through the gallery window to rescue my poor bits and take them home. Now I’ve learned to keep my panic to myself. And when someone admires my work I say “Thank you! I’m so glad you like it!” instead of “Really?”

Of course, it’s nights like tonight when I see just how much I have to learn about this artist-who-doesn’t-starve stuff. For example, cream-colored works are probably gonna be stuck on a white wall, where they’ll have a devil of a time showing up. Before they go out again I’ll make a brief detour to the metal shop for some black steel mounts. That way, they’ll stand out on ANY wall.

And I’m finding that artlovers fall into one of three categories:

  • Those who gush compliments all over your work but don’t buy it
  • Those who buy it (whether they gush or not)
  • Those who say, “What the hell is that?”

So far the first vastly outnumber the second, probably lucky because if it were the other way around I’d have chapped lips from all the foot-kissing. The third category doesn’t count.

It’s been an artful week. We took down the Oregon Glass Guild’s exhibit at the Museum of Contemporary Craft, and transported it to City Hall, where it’s now living in the mayor’s offices until April 1. (The blurry guy in the photo is eMerge finalist and OGG vice prez Dennis McConnell, who was helping me set up the display–you’re seeing it from the back.)

OGG is making a strong push to get members showing and selling their work this year–we’ve so far identified 14 venues and we’re looking for more–which is going to make 2010 very, very busy.

It stayed arty all week–we investigated venues for shows, met to discuss shows, I went to buddies’ art openings, saw cool stuff at the Bullseye gallery, and finished up models for two of the five more sculptures I need for the show at Guardino’s in April.

So I arrived at the reception tonight feeling mighty arty. I crossed the street with a man and his two children. “Why are we going to the library?” he asked, just as we stepped up to the crosswalk.

“Because reading is fun,” said the little boy, about five.

“And because,” his older sister reminded him, “Boys and girls who can’t read don’t make any money.”

I chuckled, and the man looked over and smiled. “That’s very right,” he assured them, “but tonight we’re just getting books because it’s more fun than a movie.”

We all walked toward the library entrance and he stopped. “Closed for private party?” he asked, dismayed.

“It’s an art reception, and there’s lots of good art inside,” I said, “Maybe your children would like to see that?”

He thought for a moment, “You’re right. C’mon, let’s go see the art.” And they strode inside, looking determined.

I saw them later, examining an encaustic of a rooster. The man explained that it was made of wax, just like a candle, and the children’s eyes grew wide. “Will it burn up?”

“No,” he said, “but in the summer it might melt. Then we could make it back into a candle.”

I pondered on chicken candles as I headed toward the exit.