I recently attended the 2007 Art Glass Invitational (AGI) in rural Pennsylvania, hosted by Tom and Elaine Donner (aka Mr & Mrs. Wonka). It was my second AGI and the next year’s event is already on the calendar. AGI is one of my favorite weeks of the year! The week was filled with learning from both glass masters and from the attendees. But in addition to learning new glass skills and expanding my knowledge, I also find myself returning with tons of new insights into myself and my choice to create in glass.
It seems the glass world is filled with folks trying to make a living doing what they love. A very commonly asked question in both the lampwork bead community, and the glass world at large, is “should I get a day job?” There aren’t a lot of ways to support one’s self in glass, even as a master glassblower. Many glassblowers (to use a general term) make production items they may not feel enthusiastic about to support themselves so that they can simply do what they love all day.
Other glassblowers maintain a “real”job and melt glass when they can. It was Roger Paramore that brought up how valid and often necessary a day job can be and in that comment made me think about my own day job.
I feel I’m in an incredibly auspicious position, when I evaluate all the places I could be. I make beads! What a wonderful, amazing day job. I am in a very fortunate position to make beads all day, expanding my skills with every bead and I’m able to afford the time to learn glassblowing at the very same time! I once felt a lot of pressure to find a balance between learning more about all the different ways to work glass and making beads for a living. It turns out I had a some kind of balance and the freedom to perfect it the whole time… I just never took those moments to find my perspective!