Emily F. Balivet
Last month, I got the opportunity to tackle an artistic fear of mine: hot glass. The Pittsburgh Glass Center offers classes ranging from beginner to expert from some of the greatest glass makers in the world and I'd been dying to try something since the center opened 5 years ago. I pictured myself as a brilliant glass artist, making beautiful objects I could never quite picture fully in my head, and showing at the lovely glass gallery down on Ellsworth. Of course, now that I live an hour away instead of walking distance, I finally got my chance via a short 3-hour workshop to create a garden float.
Why so scared? Well, a lot of reasons. One would be my asthma and fear of not being able to blow (I didn't have to, thank goodness!) or having an asthma attack from the heat. Another fear was being burnt. This may seem silly, but I am also famously the person in Tom McClelland's "Intro to Bronze" class that ended up in the emergency room for foolisly thinking I could use my bare fingers to wiggle off a bit of metal flashing I'd been grinding and ended up with hot bronze slivers under my skin. (Tom wouldn't let me back into his class without gloves after that). Plus, there is something scarily seductive about hot glowing glass that makes you want to touch it. And that would be bad.
But the biggest fear? Lack of aptitude. I was lousy at bronze, although I'd give it a go again in a heartbeat. I was never terribly good at printmaking either since I couldn't wrap my brain around why I'd want to make multiples of anything. There is a very good chance that I will be utterly crap at glass as well. I still haven't seen how my globe has turned out since it had to go straight to a kiln for a controlled cool down. But I am so glad I tried it despite the fear-and the heat. And if I stink at it, at least I'll know.
What artistic risk have you been putting off?
1 May 2008
Get out of the vacuum and express yourself!