While ‘Splash!” was on display at my last exhibit, I had many people tell me they wish it could hang in their house or at the yoga studio they go to so they could mediate on it daily. This gave me the feedback I had hoped for without me even asking…
In creating “Splash!,” I thought about a lot about what it means to me. I also thought about what I have learned from the children I teach. Children love to share what they think and feel about a work of art. Before they have any interest in who the artist is or when or why they created a piece, they want to tell you how they react to it. To me that is what art is supposed to do…make you react, think, reflect on your own experiences. Yet, as adults we so often forget to let ourselves do that and jump right to reading the notes on the wall about the artwork. In creating “Splash!,” one goal I have is for adults to experience the work of art and to give you, the audience, the opportunity to actively react to the piece. Before I share my thoughts with you, I want you to look, listen, smell and think about the piece, reflect on what memories or thoughts it brings to you, then write them in the journal. Feel free after you write down your reactions, to also see what others have written, then come back here and I will share my thoughts with you.
There are many levels of meaning that I reflected on while creating the numerous blown and flame worked glass pieces for “Splash!” On the most basic level, I thought about rain and the different reactions or meanings it may have for people. Rain can be cool and refreshing, hard and pelting, damp and cold to the bone. Some people like to walk in it, dance in it or stomp and splash in the puddles, while others hate the wetness. My favorite memory of rain is when my daughters were little girls not yet in school. As the rain slowed down or after a storm, I dressed them in their rain gear- boots, rain pants and coats and we would go out for a walk to go “puddle jumping.” They always had a great time, with lots of squeals and laughter and I loved the joy it brought them. The memory always brings a smile to my face.
The raindrops themselves were carefully thought out. I wanted each raindrop to be unique in its own way to represent the beauty of diversity and individuality in all of us. Some patterns on the raindrops are bright and bold and would stand out in a crowd. Some are soft and faint, almost shy, fading into the background or nearly invisible. Some are long or large, others short and small. They all come together to create one piece, yet can each be appreciated individually for their unique patterning, color and shape. The world would be boring if we were all the same, as would the work of art, the diversity is what makes it interesting.
Rain can also be a metaphor for life. Life brings with it both joy and difficulty. Sometimes a storm seems too much to bear and we hide from it. Each person handles it in their own way – some quietly, some loud, for some pain washes over them and they move through it, others focus on the little details meditatively, some search for the rainbow at the end, others stomp and splash in the puddles as they go. We can choose how we see the storm. Rain can be refreshing and brings new life or growth. There is a well known quote by Vivian Greene, “Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…It’s about learning to dance in the rain.” This is a good message or goal, to not wait for the difficult times to pass, but to find ways while you deal with them to still enjoy the good moments, even if they are small. Rather than seek shelter from the rain, may we find joy in the splashes or rainbows.
When I blow glass or create flame worked beads, I can be completely lost in the moment, almost meditatively, concentrating on working with the glass and gravity to create beauty. I can leave all other aspects of life and problems behind and when I finish I feel rejuvenated. Creating my work brings me peace and joy and I hope that it can help others find that too.