In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1 John 4:17-19 (NIV)
Even though I am usually the travel/vacation planner, Julie took over the responsibility of making the arrangements for this adventure. She knew how much my life has been in upheaval, so all I had to do was show up at the arranged place and follow her lead. She did a lot of research on glass fuse artists who teach classes within a few hours of her home, emailing them and even making some personal visits. She selected John Phillips at Fire and Light Studios because of his own work and because he was willing to be flexible and give us private lesson so we could learn a variety of new techniques. This morning, we arrived at Fire and Light and were greeted by John, a pleasant, southern gentleman who runs a well organized shop and studio FULL of beautiful glass, art and supplies. Our first assignment was to decide on a project. Sounds simple. Not exactly. There were way too many choices. When John asked us each why we were there, Julie told him several techniques she wanted to learn. I could only say that I wanted to get my “mojo” back. You see I have not fused any glass since February. Between staff problems at work and our home improvements on top of overdoing it last fall making lots of stuff for Christmas, craft shows and the county fair, I just ran out of creativity and time. John showed me some beautiful pieces that got me thinking of all I could do, but standing in his shop trying to make a choice, I started to feel a panic that I can only compare to being on the back of husband’s motorcycle on the top of Grandfather Mountain. I was afraid that I would not be good enough. I wanted to be perfect, for John to think me a great artist. I also thought of the woman who is in charge of the crafts for the county fair who just last week told me how excited her committee is about seeing my entries in the competition this year. I have nothing to show. And I didn’t want to waste any time or materials. Working in glass is an expensive hobby. I walked around and around the shop until finally, time was up and I had to make a decision. As I contemplated running from the shop screaming, I realized how silly I was being. After all, I was there to learn not make an impression. So, I made a choice and got to work. And my skills started to come back. Later, when Julie expressed her frustration with a particular piece that was not coming together, John said something profound: “That’s why they call it artistry and not accuracy.” How true. Not only do I need to get over my fear of failing, but I have to remember that art does not require perfection. Thankfully, neither does God. He takes me just as I am. Broken pieces and all.