This post was inspired by a post from the Not Throwing Stones blog. – Owen

I realize I could do about 300 days* of posts beginning with “I love {x}”, and never repeat a single x, but anyway: I love blown glass. All through my latter teens, twenties, and thirties, I had a small blown glass figure in my bedroom I bought when I was fifteen. I had bought it for a girl, but she preferred my best friend and so refused the gift.

It was a pretty good deal for me, looking back.

I’m fascinated by people who can actually make things, and I’m fascinated by those things, themselves. There are few activities in life happier than making something, and doing anything really well takes a lot of practice. So a lot of the person ends up in the thing they make, which is rather wondrous.

The first time I ever saw the process of glassblowing, live, was at a local arts festival; there were two people, a woman and a man, and they made things while those of us in gathered crowd watched. Eventually, my parents had to drag me away.

I had a tremendous desire, as a child, to make things with my hands. I wanted to sculpt, paint, hammer, lathe, even blow glass. I had no talent for any of it, though, a reality that slowly dawned on eight-year-old me before blossoming into a grief.

Realizing that we aren’t capable of achieving some of our own dreams while still young is an almost universal experience, but one we tend to overlook as grown-ups. In fact, adults tend to tell kids that they can [be athletes, be artists, be models] in a kind of thoughtless and mechanical way that only adds to the child’s grief.**

My father, who could make many things, never understood my limitations, because there was nothing he turned his hands to that they wouldn’t do for him. His mind knew no such limits, so to him there were no such limits. I’ve since seen that attitude many other times and places in life.

Within that same period of my life (ages 8-10), though, I also learned, with my mom’s encouragement, that there were many things I could do, and that my time was better spent focused on doing those.

Still — and many of you (particularly guys) may understand this feeling — the disappointment of not being good at particular things has never really left me. I sometimes think that’s where envy comes from, when that lingering disappointment in ourselves becomes anger or resentment at others who don’t have the same limitations.

I wanted to be like my father was, straight up. But my way lay on a different path.

The ultimate craft that each of us is responsible for is crafting our own lives. One of the marvelous, magical things about blogs is that we get invited to watch others in the process of doing so. I have a particular fondness for people who can write in a way that creates a window for me to picture their lives. Everyday life, to me, is the most beautiful thing in the world.

I read a blog post a few days ago that really struck me. Reading it, my mood began to change in the same way the author’s mood changed as she described it along with the circumstances of her evening. Riding a bicycle in the pouring rain for 45 minutes, then the warm bath, the conversations with friends, the TEDx talk — I could picture all of it.

I felt like I was there.

The process by which we move from someplace dark (or damp) to a place of gratitude is one almost all of us know, yet we need constant reminding that such a journey is even possible. So I was very appreciative of that post.

In addition, since the author (Jesska) has left some very kind comments on my blog, I therefore present this as a (linked) comment on her wonderful post, and want her to know how much I appreciate that she took the time to write it.

By the way, according to her “About Me” page, Jesska works as a glassblower. So now I’m envious, too. πŸ™‚

* Technically, that would be 300 more days of it, since I’ve posted about 300 already.

** Or the opposite problem, where adults discourage dreams that the child can achieve because of their own, rather than the child’s, limitations.

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4 Thoughts to “Glassblowing

  1. Wheeee!!!! πŸ™‚ Thank you πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    (and I am envious of the kind of glassblower you mean too.. I am a “scientific glassblower” – that means I have a fancy bunsen burner rather than a furnace full of molten glass – see the second picture in the Wikipedia article ). I tried the other sort of glassblowing at a [glass] school exchange to France… And was rubbish at it πŸ™ I expect it’s a typical case of needing lots more practice and lowering my expectations at the beginning, but it was quite frustrating..)

    1. You’re welcome.

      I figured maybe you did that kind of glassblowing (I looked at the Wikipedia page also before writing) but it all looks like a superpower to me.

      And thank you.


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