I learn new lessons about life from glassblowing every day. It’s a wise teacher, the art of fire: penetrating, powerful, and poignant.
Today’s lesson is probably the hardest: You need to work in a community. Shaping glass from a furnace is difficult to do alone. I am a loner and a very independent person, so I have to bite my lip when I ask someone to flatten the bottom of my piece with a paddle. In order to make a useful vessel, I have to depend on another to attach a punty (an extra piece of glass and pipe) so that I can open up the original end. Beautiful pieces I may be able to manage on my own, but usefulness requires community.
When two people are in the studio it gets complicated, walking around with hot glass. You have to watch each other’s moves and look before you step, much like a dance. If you need help, you ask for it, and if you have a free hand, you offer it. Good lessons on life, I think. That’s how I know I need glass–it stretches me into something I wasn’t before. Like the little glowing orb on my blowpipe, I am molded too.