Like all years 2015 yielded some work we loved creating, some disappointments, and some surprises. Although we are already two months into 2016 and are creating new designs, it is fun (and occasionally instructive) to look back on the past year’s creativity.
Jay got very square. In early spring he designed a pattern based on 1″ squares to create a pair of complementary serving bowls that were to be a wedding gift. We liked the design so much I urged him to create a platter and several small pieces using the same idea. From there he continued the concept using different colors.
In the meantime I completed designs for two window commissions. One was a pair of panels to fill a kitchen window for a lovely Atlantic shore house. Its purpose, besides adding to the owners’ art collection, was to screen an undesirable view and provide privacy for the residents. The other design was for a 6′ high window for an Evangelical Lutheran Church in an Endless Mountains village. I had drafted the design the previous year but waiting for church board approval took us into winter and recurrent snow storms delayed a trip to our mouth-blown glass importer. That window was to fill the second of six plain glass openings and was commissioned in memory of the donor’s deceased husband. Jay spent the late winter months fabricating both windows. During the last week of May we installed the church window at Hopbottom, Pennsylvania. A couple days later we turned over the elegant kitchen window for installation in Longport, New Jersey. While they are very different windows for very different purposes, both lift up the heart.
When a former stained glass and fused glass customer asked us to make a modern version of a Victorian plateau, I had to do an online search to see how plateaus were made and used. For months I experimented with designs that picked up on colors of other glass in her house and suited its eclectic decor. One of my experiments was with a flower bud design. I didn’t even bother to show her that piece, which I slumped into a pasta bowl mold. Jay’s squares inspired another design that I was so sure was right that I made it into a full-size (10″x19″) plateau. We have a red, sea blue, turquoise, and amber plateau that will make your table the talk of the town! Our customer liked it and wanted us to try some variations on the same theme. But in the end an entirely different, more spontaneous design proved to be right for the table and the room.
Sometimes we’re surprised when a design we love doesn’t sell immediately. “Ten Turquoise Squares,” a 10″ platter, is one example. A 12″ serving bowl of the same design won a first-place ribbon for glass in the Pocono Mountain Arts Council’s member show last summer. While our daughter visited in November, she created a wonderful design in a set of coasters. We named it “Hiiragi,” which is Japanese for “tree of winter” (holly). The coasters are so attractive we expected them to sell as soon as we showed them at Skytop Lodge. To our surprise they didn’t sell that weekend nor during the following month in a gift shop. Our grand-daughter Maggie was delighted that both coaster sets she made sold during the Thanksgiving weekend show. However the “Hiragi” set did influence a customer to order a four-candle bridge in the same design.
Throughout 2015 we showed fused glass at B’s Floral Design, Inc., in downtown Scranton, Pennsylvania. In December we participated in the month-long Holiday Gallery at the Endless Mountains Council of the Arts Gallery in Tunkhannock, Pennsylvania. Jay and I both had fused glass pieces accepted into the inaugural show of the new Dunning Gallery of Northampton Community College’s Monroe campus. We also set up booths and exhibited in May at the American Artisan Showcase at Byers’ Choice workshop; in July at the Festival of the Arts at Chateau Resort on Camelback Mountain; in November at both Art On the Mountain at Shawnee Mountain Ski Area and the Holiday Arts Festival at Skytop Lodge. Our last sales of the year, not surprisingly, were for Christmas gifts.
Now we’re looking forward to 2016 shows (we’re into a few already), creativity, and probably a few surprises.