Those of you who know me well also know that I’m obsessed with animation. I’ve loved Disney and Looney and Hanna Barbera since babyhood. Yet what turned me on to computers and graphics and 3D and animation and all that stuff was a guy named Will Vinton. The idea that you can build your own world, your own stories, your own rules, well…that’s a heaven that Mr. Vinton introduced me to, long ago.

So it was kinda jaw-dropping to meet him today, judging OGG’s Fusathon glass creations. Nice guy.

Years ago, a schoolfriend’s dad was a boss at the California Raisin Advisory Board, which promotes the interests of raisin farmers. Raisins weren’t exactly cool so they’d hired a big-bucks advertising agency for image-boosting ideas, and the agency had come up with…a cartoon of dancing raisins.

Kris’ dad was dubious; long-legged cavorting fruit sounded like 50s television, not exactly the hip young image he’d had in mind. But they’d gone ahead and now the board had a decision to make. “You girls want to see this?” he asked, “I need your honest opinion.”

…and so I got an early preview of the California Raisins. I’d seen Disney, I’d seen King Kong ascending the Empire State Building, I’d seen Gumby…but nothing prepared me for those kitschy little raisins doing Marvin Gaye, courtesy of Will Vinton.

I was hooked. Since then I’ve experienced–and tried my hand at–everything from hand-colored cels to CG to stop-motion puppetry, in just about every venue you can imagine. And I’ve never seen anyone match Will Vinton’s ability to built living caricatures of the human condition. He uses shadow and form like topnotes in a fine wine.

I suppose he’s gotten a lifetime’s worth of awards and doesn’t need more, but still: Thanks, Mr. Vinton.

End of backstory

Vinton is not a glassist, though from his enthusiasm today I don’t think it’d take all that much to make him one. And I’m not gonna give away who got the very nice Uroboros prizes for Vinton’s favorite pieces; that’s for OGG’s next meeting.

But I will say that our members made some great stuff this year–probably the best I’ve seen. Amid the “yeah, now I made my Empty Bowls piece let’s SHOP FOR GLASS” work there are some real gems. I can’t wait to see how they make up into plates, bowls, sushi dishes, etc.

For those of you who participated, we’ll have a link soon showing your in-progress pieces. They’re being slumped at Aquila Glass School as we speak, and at our next meeting you’ll get to see the results and pick up your awards.

Having Vinton there was kinda the cherry on a big, gooey hot fudge sundae. Thanks a bunch, Mr. Vinton.