Thursday, May 3, 2012

iLearn - Adventures in Stained Glass

I have realized lately about myself that I'm not generally crafty, creative, or artistic. Don't argue, Mom. It's true. Drawing mermaids really well when you're 10 doesn't mean you're artistic. I don't have the overwhelming desire to make everything around me beautiful. I wish I did. I totally admire people who do. I'm pretty freaking jealous of a lot of my friends' adorable seasonal items, their knack for finding amazing things at thrift stores that I never notice or never think of using in my decor even if I do notice them, their ability to make cute things out of everyday household items, the way everything in their houses seems deliberate, like they PLANNED OUT their decor or something wild like that. No, this is not where my talents lie. I appreciate but cannot create this type of artistry. I am far too pragmatic to be truly artistic or original. If it isn't practical, I can't get myself to do it. The only creative projects I take on, the only hobbies I undertake which can be considered artistic or crafty, are those which also have a purpose. Like soap. I had a good run of 4-5 years there where I got really into making soap. Because soap, if you don't know, also has the purpose of making your hands really dried out. See? Pragmatic. I have also made little decoupaged flower pots for growing herbs (post on that to come as soon as my sister takes pictures of them!). I sewed some little birds for my baby's room, but only because she had a blank wall that needed to be filled. Anyway, you get the idea. Beauty for beauty's sake? No. Beauty with function? Possibly.

So I have come to accept in my life that I will never be a great photographer, a painter, a ballerina, a chef, an opera singer, a ballroom dancer, or any of the other great artistic things I have at some time aspired to. I am, alas, a Jane-of-all-trades, mistress of none. I dabble in just about everything--languages, cooking, gardening, writing, dance, travel, yoga, cello, piano, singing, baking, photography, etc. but I am not amazing at any of them. I think my talent is not in the thing to be learned, but in the love of learning. And I learn well. Well and fast. I understand things quickly (not math). I'm a great test taker. I can remember long strings of numbers. I imitate accents well. I can remember useless facts. I adapt easily to different situations. I can watch the National Geographic Channel for hours without getting bored. I'm fearless about trying new things. I love all people. Those are all very handy, but not something you can show off at parties or collect trophies for. But that's who I am, that is where my talent really loving, embracing, soaking up learning.

My newest adventure in learning? Stained glass. You might say that stained glass is not a pragmatic craft. And you might be right. It certainly isn't trendy. But I've always loved glass--the way the light comes through it, the way it twists and bends images. The variations in the thickness. The smoothness. The way it amplifies light. The sparkle. A few years ago I had a roommate who created stained glass objects for a living--ornaments, garden stakes, mobiles, etc. She paid me to do some of the legwork, like cutting the glass and putting the copper foil on. But I never got to MAKE anything, to put it all together. So now, years later, I'm taking the opportunity to learn that final process. Stay tuned and I'll do a few blog posts walking my readers through the process. No, it may not be an apothecary jar full of hand-made marshmallow starfish, or an antique dresser with with just the right amount of paint peeling off and adorable pulls made out of hand-pounded railroad nails that I found at a swap meet for $12, or cupcakes with crushed Oreos and fondant tops that look exactly like spring tulips emerging from the dirt. But it will be my sort of art...and maybe you'll like it.


g said...

Gosh! How did you KNOW I would contradict your assertion!

Well, maybe you aren't as crafty as some, but you are so broadly talented it mind-boggles! Just look at the list of things you really CAN do. Look at what a fascinating mind you have, and how much you know.

I think you are flat-out marvelous. But I might be biased.

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