“This is gonna be so much FUN!!! It’s gonna be like you’re going to COLLEGE again!” said my best friend. “I KNOW!” I said back. “Except it’s gonna be 10 hours of class a day!”
“Oooh, I reeeeaaalllly hope you do a blog post on this,” said my editor at Catonsville Patch. “You KNOW I will!” I said, doing a happy dance in my head.
“Better take that Ravens magnet off your car…” warned the more protective ones I told. “As soon as I cross over the state line…” I laughed.
That was back in June. First week of the kids’ summer vacation, I left them with the huz and drove to Pittsburgh. Some of the more knowing and analytical of you might consider this a fight or flight response to the kids being home, but I promise, it was not. It was me throwing myself into a week-long intensive glassblowing class at Pittsburgh Glass Center.
I began glassblowing when I was 10 as a staff brat at a summer camp called Buck’s Rock, where my dad was musical director. It’s a crunchy camp for older kids (when I attended, youngest camper was 12, though the age has since been lowered) wherein they have the freedom to explore whatever musical and/or artistic pursuits they want. Kind of like a Montessori approach to summer camp. I chose glass. I studied it every summer until I was 16, when I was a JC (junior counselor) in the shop.
Anywho, in high school and college, I dabbled…happening upon a guy who had a studio close to campus where I could rent some time. Then (to sum up…) graduate. Marry. Move to California. Move to Virginia. Teach social studies for a few years. Become pregnant. Move to Catonsville. SAHM gig for next 12 years. Neither a blowpipe nor a glory hole crossed my path any of those years. (Yes. There are lots of dirty jokes in glassblowing.)
Except every so often, I’d say to myself, “If money were no object, I’d get really good at glassblowing.” (It’s important to note I didn’t say “again” – I was well aware I was never “really good.” I was also aware, though, that I had potential.)
Maaaaayyyyyyybe approaching 40 had something to do with this, but a couple of years before that milestone, I decided I had nothing to lose by abandoning the “if I won the lottery” approach. I googled the glassblower I knew in college. Score! He was still in Baltimore! Even better, he had been experiencing success and opened a gorgeous studio in an awesome part of town, with a great staff of young talent helping him along and teaching classes.
I got back in touch (he remembered me) and sort of slowly got back on the bicycle, as it were. Over the course of the next four years I took group classes for beginners (it had been 20 years), then group classes for intermediate students, then private lessons. My teacher and I decided I was ready for the next step. This brings us up to last June, when I screeched my minivan wheels out of Baltimore for hostile Steelers country. (It wasn’t really that brave, as this was baseball season. But it makes me feel bad-ass, okay?)
To be continued…