I must be a special kind of hopeless procrastinator. Because during my last year of graduate school, when I was supposed to be writing my thesis on “Bacteria from the Sea Ice of Antarctica”, I decided to teach myself how to work in stained glass. I don’t remember how I got started but soon enough I was elbow deep in sheet glass, the smell of kerosene, rolls of copper foil, and the greasy feeling of flux. My fingertips were always sore from the inevitable little cuts and slices. And every window in my apartment was filled with my stained glass panels.
I soon grew past the simple patterns available at the local store and I ached to combine colors and shapes to create things that would make my heart soar. But this was before the internet and I didn’t have much inspiration. I was young and rigid and I had narrow ideas of how stained glass should be created. Still, I found ways to create in my own way. The nicest thing I made was a calla lily panel that I sketched by copying an image off a friend’s vase.
In spite of the distractions (yes, that’s plural, I was a professional procrastinator), I managed to graduate and soon entered the adult world of work obligations and being too exhausted to do anything. My stained glass tools remained packed in their boxes through three moves across four states. They stayed there for 15 years, in fact. I finally unpacked it all when I got divorced and moved into my own home. I set up a makeshift workbench in the unheated and uncooled garage. And I started to think about creating.
That was a few years ago. I kind of got derailed by marrying the love of my life and raising teenagers. But I’ve finally got my own studio space. And now my only limitation is that I have too many ideas and I’m busy doing polymer clay right now. But soon. Soon I will get my tools out and play with my glass. I think it’s about time.