For many years I struggled with owning that I was a creative person, in fact I would defer to my sister as the ‘artist’, the person in our family who was the ‘creative one’. Eventually I was able to by-pass the whole inner debate, and came to an awareness of creativity as a force that lies within — an urge or energy that flows through and brings something forth. This energy can take so many different forms, manifest in an infinite number of expressions – not just the ‘traditional’ ones such as artist, musician, singer, writer, etc.
When someone offered to teach me how to make windows, I was flooded with excitement and anxiety (yin and yang) lest I fail!. I quickly discovered that to design a stained glass window, one must have an inner eye that knows how to play with Negative Space, to attend as much to the space between as the object itself. Although I may have in mind a particular image that I wanted to portray, I was forced to consider all of the shapes and flow of form — including the spaces that would be filled with glass.
Glass can only be cut at certain angles and in certain ways, so designing objects that supported these movements were as critical as the art itself, I had to learn to see all of the parts that make the whole! Some might say that this is the tedious part, the non-artistic part, because of its emphasis on technical skill.
Yet to sit and ponder how the pieces will fit together, to remain open to all of the ways shapes can be joined often demands you pay attention to everything – not just the uplifting, fun, joyous aspects, but to also embrace those pieces that drive you crazy! (I had a window that took me 10 years to complete because of the complexity and demand for patience, something I ran out of in my ‘push’ to get it done! I was forced to set it aside until I could approach it anew, without expectations — or I would continue to break pieces, and destroy the whole.)
Life is like that, some things come together seemingly without effort, others have their own place and time. In the end, when we behold our final product, our creation, we know that it embodies more than what others can see; it contains all of the parts (both objects and spaces), as well as the pieces of glass that shattered and the ones that survived.