“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.
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…