Yarg (and come to the show…)

>, casting, pate de verre>Yarg (and come to the show…)

You can take the girl out of the newsroom, but you can’t take the newsroom out of the girl, it seems. No matter how many days/weeks/months/years I know in advance, I don’t zoom into high gear until it’s down to the wire deadline time.

And so I’ve got four pieces due at the gallery by 11am this morning, and I will just exactly make it…with three.

Quick commercial break: I’ve got three pieces in the Guardino Gallery on Alberta Street, for their Pacific Northwest Sculptors show. Lots of great stuff in it, including far more illustrious artists, so it’s worth a look. Reception tomorrow night. Here’s an invitation–please come and support my morals if you’re in the area and have nothing else to do.

One sad note: The image on the invitation is the fourth sculpture, the one that WON’T be in the show (sigh). She suffered an unfortunate accident–I dropped the drill on her while making a totally unnecessary but typical me-with-too-much-time-on-my-hands adjustment–and is now in no fit state to be seen or sold. Stay tuned to see her arise from the ashes in a rather different style; I’m kinda excited about where I’m going with her but she’ll take awhile. In the meantime, here’s her before picture (she’s about 8 inches deep, maybe 14×16):


Hmmmm. I’ve been told by about a bluejillion people that I shouldn’t talk about this stuff in public. I’m either (1) giving away my studio process secrets or (2) showing just a tad too much of my own creative process, including the flubs, which should be kept dark and mysterious.

I pretty much ignore the first. I’m not really inventing anything new (and whenever I think I have it turns out the ancient Mesopotamians or somebody got there first) so I can’t claim this stuff as “my” process anyway. And I’ve noticed a curious phenomenon when people ask how I do this stuff, anyway: When I tell them all the steps, they generally say “you’re crazy,” and walk away shaking their heads.

Maybe they’re secretly plotting to steal my methods…but I doubt it.

The second, now that’s more valid. Like the cat who slides across a polished kitchen floor and crashes into the refrigerator, I should probably get up, brush myself off calmly and say, “I meant to do that.” I should never show the interior bumblings and fumblings I go through to deliver my art, right? I should have awakened in the night with the precise vision shining in my head, made exactly that and smugly tell awe-inspired patrons that my muse spoke.*

Maybe. For me, though, the actual creative process is far more interesting. You bumble into something good, then you figure out how to make it great, and incorporate it into your work. That’s what makes it fun.

How boring to pop little artworks out of your head exactly as planned, one after the other, without giving them (or physics) a say in their own creation! We have assembly lines for that kind of thing.

Making art is very different (for me, at least). And so for the time being, I’ll go on journaling the journey–and the flubs–as well as the end result. If it helps somebody else, great. But mostly, this is for me.

And now I’ve wasted a whole 20 minutes typing this up, the deadline is ever nearer and I haven’t even taken a shower. –sigh–

*and it does happen that way sometimes, except for the part about the awe-inspired patrons



  1. Rinee March 27, 2009 at 7:38 am - Reply


    Congratulations on your show!! Your work is fabulous and every time you share, you inspire. Please don’t stop sharing. I cant do what YOU do (and dont want to-its not for me) but you inspire me to do what I can do and do it better.

    Its OK-breathe and pat yourself on the back. You’ve done good!! Mom and dad (and all your friends) are sooooooo proud!

  2. robin g March 26, 2009 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Congratulations on your show! I would love to go to the opening, next time…
    I also totally agree on sharing your methods as no one else will do what you do. I love to teach what I do as I learn and get inspired by my students as much as they do in a class. They can’t do what I do as it is all in me and ever changing as the work evolves.
    Have a great time at your opening.

  3. cynthia March 26, 2009 at 6:55 am - Reply

    Kathleen, Jenn, Ed, thanks as always. Oh, and BTW, welcome, Ellen! I love your work. (she gushed..) I have a theory about glass sculping process that one of these days I’m going to diagram (being a geek) and probably do an essay on, but “creative problem solver” will be right in the middle of it, particularly for pate de verre.

    I’ve got a theory about this stuff: You can copy the process, you can copy the craft…but you can’t copy the art. (I suppose you could forge it, but that’s a different story) As long as we’re pushing the ragged edge of your own creativity you don’t have to worry about anybody “stealing” your stuff. Nobody else can keep up with your brain and your hands.

    Only a theory, of course…

  4. Ellen Abbott March 26, 2009 at 6:05 am - Reply

    I’m with you Cynthia. If people think they can copy my work, then more power to ’em. And I want people to know how hard it is, how many tries it took, if it came out just as planned or needed some (or a lot) of creative cold work. When I teach, I talk about this because when you work in glass, you have to be a creative problem solver.

  5. Kathleen Krucoff March 25, 2009 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    Hey Cynthia,

    First I’m sorry to hear of the accident with this piece, but I am definitely looking forward to seeing her ‘after’ picture.

    And I wish I lived in the area so I could go to the gallery and see your works in person, along with the others on the invite.

    I for one am grateful that you share your process. It helps me to know what others go through in their creative process. And I have found that the truly talented are willing to share and teach others. They aren’t afraid that someone will steal something, it seems like they know that their students will go off and make their own spin on what they’ve learned. At least that has been my experience with the classes I was able to take last year with Kent Lauer and Patty Gray. You seem to be that way too and I am grateful for that.

    Hope the show goes well and everyone enjoys. And I hope you continue to share your experiences….whatever they may be.


  6. Ed LaPlante March 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm - Reply

    When we started our sign business 25 years ago we would take a job and then run home to try and figure out how to do what we just promised. Doing things that way is a pretty good way to learn to work under pressure and also to learn how to improvise. I gladly share my sign building mistakes, Donna is not quite as open in the glass shop but she is getting better. Hey, none of this stuff is done by robots, that’s the meaning of “hand done”. Like I say often, if this stuff was easy you could buy it at Walmart and then where would we be.


  7. jenn March 25, 2009 at 10:39 am - Reply

    I am glad you type about your fumblings and bumblings – makes me feel better about my own- or least that I am in the same boat.

    Best of luck with your show- if I were in your neck of the woods I would stop by.

Comments welcome! (thanks)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: