The valve is open

My art table is covered with plastic sheets and a layer of gypsum dust from all the holes in the drywall. My glass art supplies are in boxes and bags in the living room.

I cart my supplies downstairs, and dust and vacuum to make a small table space, and unearth a stool to sit on.

Creating glass pieces is a habit now, and so I do it. Despite all the mess. And the plumbers.

The arrival of the two plumbers, Darren and his father Donald, interrupts me, and they tramp through the house. They’re just finishing up some details from the replumb on Saturday.

I keep working on my glass.

It’s like water through the pipes. There’s a flow: I forget the chaos and forget everything else that I have to do this week. Despite all of it, I’m just focused on the feeling of the glass.

glass 3 for spring
Raw, unkilned glass

Donald the elder asks what I’m doing. “I’m just making some little glass art pieces,” I tell him.

He looks at me with kind of a blank face, so I add, “They’re for decoration and jewelry. These” – I point to the raw finished pieces – “go in a kiln, you know like for pottery, and it melts the pieces together.”

He’s intrigued, but Darren calls and he goes on with his work. Later he stops again and looks some more. Maybe he noticed the copper foil.

He says, “You like doing that?”

“Oh yes,” I say with a big smile, searching his face for the real meaning of the question. “I really like it.”

Donald keeps listening.

“It’s very relaxing,” I say.

He nods. “Well I bet it is, at that,” he says.

I guess that if his son, the boss, would let him, Donald would just sit right on down with me and learn to do fused glass then and there.

My Dad was like that.

When he retired from plumbing, he took up making stained glass lamps.

There’s a lot of untapped creativity out there. We need to find some kind of valve for that.

Today’s penny is a 1996. That’s the year Donald turned 65 and should have taken up stained glass.

March 14 1996