When creating things, I lean towards making what is real. In the beginning, most of my fused glass pieces had an aura of nature. I cut the shapes of butterflies or dragon flies from thick fabric that was resistant to the fire of the kiln. When placed underneath a piece of glass, the heat melts the glass around the fabric. Once the cloth is pealed away, the glass holds the design. I traced horses and hearts out of copper layering them between two pieces of glass. I sawed glass into shapes of mountains, meadows, sky and river and fused them together to produce the view from the dining hall porch. I liked what I made, but my teacher, Beverly, pushed us to think beyond what we could see into the abstract. On the first day, just as an experiment to see how the glass would melt, I layered three pieces of glass into a triangle and separately, put one piece to test the fact that glass, no matter what shape it begins will become round if fired long enough. When done, I had two pieces, one odd three sided and a button in the same color. Walking by my work station, Bev casually laid the button at the top of the triangle and turned two misshapes into a work of art. I saw in it a diagram that our Sunday School teacher uses to illustrate how a married couple’s relationship grows stronger the closer their relationship with God becomes. When I hold the pendant with the button at the top, the circle represents God. The farther up the side of the triangle each person moves toward Him, the distance between them shrinks. It intrigued me that what had no purposeful design could still inspire me to see a vision within it. That lesson inspired me to abandon my impulse to make everything realistic and see what I could do with shapes and colors. As the week progressed, I thought more and more outside the box. On the last day of firing, I took some small scraps of cranberry and ivory colored glass, ran them through the saw to make irregular shapes, smoothed them down in the grinder and layered them on top of each other in a haphazard seeming way. Once fired to a soft fuse, each piece of glass retained its distinct shape, yet they stuck together. I did not have a particular image in mind when I made it, but after firing, I could see within a person dancing with arms outstretched. Perhaps in joy, perhaps in worship, perhaps a little of both. Sometimes, we look at our circumstances, and we cannot see a purpose in them. “Why, God?” we demand an answer. Not everything immediately makes sense. Yet, if we watch and wait, eventually, even the abstract has meaning and value. I wear my necklace with its dancer and remember to praise God Who has all things in His control even when I cannot see the answers.
Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him,and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)