Thursday, January 15, 2009

Farewell to the New Street Glass Studio

I posted earlier that the glass studio where I take classes was "temporarily" closed. The reality is, there is no reason to expect that they will reopen. They mismanaged their money for years and now the creditors are demanding what is owed.

So, today, I will call and ask for a refund on my class fees that I paid last month and accept the fact that I will never return to the New Street Glass Studio.

I stopped in last night to pick up an unfinished fusing project of mine. I was lucky enough to have a chance to chat with one of my instructors and the director of the studio. And to take one last look around at a place I had grown to love.

Based on my conversations with the studio folks, it's very unlikely that the glass studio will reopen soon, if at all. On the other hand, I'm very glad I had a chance to speak with the bead making instructor. She has her own studio nearby and is getting set up to teach classes there. So, come February, I should be able to return to the torch and get back to honing my bead making skills. As for the glass fusing, well, a friend of mine has a kiln, plus there's a local glass shop that has a kiln and a sandblaster. So, I can continue that work on my own.

But it's not the same experience as going to the glass studio. There was something special about the classes....about being with a group of people who truely loved working with glass. Something uplifting about being surrounded by creative people, some working on stained glass, some working at the torch, and of course, the magical glass blowers. To walk into the studio and smell the molten glass, to feel the heat of the furnaces, to just BE with the people who work with glass, was a very special feeling. There was a sense of community that you just don't find that often.

Here's what I will remember most fondly:
  • That first night when I went to the studio. It was raining, it was dark, I got lost and was very late to my first class. The studio was in the middle of nowhere!
  • Getting over my fear of the torch and becoming comfortable working with molten glass. It took me a long time, but now it's easy.
  • Walking up those horrible, flimsy, wooden stairs, lugging 30 pounds or more of glass supplies to my fusing classes. I was always waiting for those stairs to collapse and made sure I walked up the middle where there was the most support.
  • Opening the studio door and smelling the distinct odor of the glass furnaces and feeling that blast of heat.
  • Watching the glass blowers do their magic when I took a break during glass.
  • Gathering around the table in the flat shop as we discussed the latest results from the kiln in the fusing glass.
  • Getting set up in the warm glass shop, turning on the torch, gathering the tools, and finding my work from the previous week (our instructor would take our beads out of the annealer and bundle them up for us).
  • The bead making instructor yelling at us when we did something wrong (she did it with love, we knew that :-)).
  • Cutting my hands on the sharp edges of the glass that we cut for our fusing projects. My instructor would roll her eyes as I headed out to the first aid cabinet for yet one more bandage.
  • Arriving at class and being pleased at the results of some project. With glass, you often don't know what the results will be, especially in fusing. I had several very happy surprises.
  • The people in the classes and the instructors. Feeling that we were all united in a common cause...creating something that would bring a little bit of joy to the world. Being surrounded by creative people, learning and sharing.

Farewell New Street Glass Studio. It was here that I learned about loving to work with glass. I will continue at other places, with other instructors. But I will always remember the joy of my visits at my very first glass studio.

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