Art and Environment

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The one-word prompt over at The Daily Post today is “Glass.” How could I not write a post to that prompt?

I’ve been neglecting this blog for a while now, but it’s not for lack of topics to discuss. It’s more because I felt the need to research topics, and to sit down and do a thoroughly well-planned post that considers all sides of an issue.

But where’s the fun in that, right? So I’ll just write with a disclaimer that everything I say has the potential of being utterly false. I think I can work within those parameters.

There’s a lot of change going on in the art glass industry here in the Pacific Northwest, and I imagine it won’t be long until the issues spread nationwide, if they haven’t already.

In some random study of moss or lichen or something (as I said, I forewent the research on this), it came to light that parts of Portland were showing very high lead content in the environments. Further study seemed to pinpoint the source of these pollutants as being two art glass manufacturing sites, who use heavy metals to create the glass.

Chromium, for example, is used in production of glass in colors of green, black, and some browns and purples. Cadmium is used for making yellows, oranges, and orange-reds. Both factories ultimately stopped production of those colors of glass while further testing is conducted to determine the actual sources of pollutants, and while installation of new emission control measures take place.

The divergent responses of the two glass manufacturers — Bullseye and Uroboros —  remind me of two cartoon characters in the children’s magazine Highlights: Goofus and Gallant. Goofus is always rude, thoughtless, uncouth, greedy… Gallant is always thoughtful, considerate of others, polite… well, you get the idea.

So, in my metaphor, Bullseye is Goofus and Uroboros is Gallant. This is the part where lack of research could get me into trouble, so I’ll leave my discussion of the two companies at that.

Another Pacific Northwest glass manufacturer, Spectrum, has gone out of business as of this month. A smaller company than the other two, Spectrum made the determination that — along with other issues — they couldn’t absorb the cost of retooling for emissions control. Spectrum had been in business for thirty years.

While I lament the changes that might curtail the manufacture of many colors of glass, I of course acknowledge the utmost importance of environmental safety. (Hint: Gallant cares about that, too.)

But think about telling Vincent Van Gogh that he couldn’t use yellow in his paintings anymore. “Starry Night” would have become just “Night.” And his Wheatfield and Sunflower paintings? I can’t imagine.

The art glass- and glass art- worlds may never be the same. I’m sure someone will come up with other ways to recreate the colors with less environmentally impactful materials, but it won’t be the same. Or they’ll come up with ways to meet increasingly stringent environmental standards, at which point the cost of manufacturing art glass will skyrocket to the point where the glass will become unaffordable to hobbyists and nonprofessionals.

Okay, I’ve thoroughly bummed myself out now. I guess there’s no use in crying over spilled – um, cadmium. The good news is that my premonitions about the future are usually totally off base. Especially when I haven’t done my research.

I’m guessing that Gallant always does his research.


The Daily Post one-word prompt: Glass

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Curved Glass Candle

.. in the making:

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The Daily Post weekly photo challenge: Curve

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Tough Choices: Glass vs. Sleep

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I was lying in bed last night, tossing and turning and mentally going over my plans for the coming day. Topping the list was a drive from Portland (Oregon) to Oregon City to meet fellow glass artist Marilyn.

Marilyn had contacted me about a fair quantity of stained glass that she is looking to sell. She estimates that she has about 70 square feet of streaky, 60 square feet of transparent, and potentially a bunch of opaque for sale. She is downsizing and as any of us that have gone through that knows, we have to make tough choices about what to let go and what to keep. In Marilyn’s case, the glass is not going to make the cut (yes, pun intended).

The asking price is more than reasonable, and with my local stained glass retailer gone out of business, this would be a super opportunity for me to stock up on some beautiful additions to my glass supply. And we’re not talking little scraps. We’re talking large pieces, even some quarter sheets.

Ah, but speaking of sheets… as I said, I was lying in bed, tossing and turning. You see, my futon mattress is no longer sleep-inducing. With a deep gulley down the middle, it’s kind of like sleeping in a roadside ditch. Minus the road. And ditch detritus. And I really don’t know how it feels to sleep in a ditch, having never done so. That I recall.

Okay, let’s forget the ditch analogy. Suffice it to say, my bed is not comfy, and I wake up with neck pain and shoulder pain. I know my many-years-too-old mattress is in great part to blame, and it’s in dire need of replacement.

I hate spending money on something as boring as a futon mattress. Especially when there are much more fun, beautiful, exciting things to spend it on. Say… glass, for instance.

Hence, my tough choice. Do I want to sleep at night, or do I want to have a totally kickass glass selection at my disposal? I got up in the morning and made the only decision a right-thinking person would make. I drove down to see Marilyn and her glass.

As hard as I tried to justify buying the glass, I just couldn’t silence the little voice in my head that kept saying, “You can’t sleep on glass, you know.” And so, sadly, I had to leave. Glassless.

I stopped off at a futon store on my way back home, and, try as I might, I just couldn’t get enthused as salesman Mack explained the virtues of varying layers of wool and cotton and other stuff. I may have missed something in the materials discussion, but I’m pretty sure he mentioned plastic bottles, too.

The good news in all of this is that if any of you live near – or are willing to travel to – Portland, OR, you can avail yourselves of this killer deal on glass. Marilyn wants to sell it as one lot, not piecemeal, but she might be flexible in that. And she’s not interested in shipping it, so you’d have to arrange to physically pick it up.

If you’re interested, let me know through email or my contact page, and I’ll put you in touch with Marilyn.

Tonight, as I lay tossing and turning in my futon gulley that may or may not feel like sleeping in a ditch, I’ll be planning tomorrow’s visit to see Mack the futon guy. *Sigh* Not nearly as exciting as going to see glass. In fact, just thinking about futon shopping is making me drowsy.

Maybe I’ll sleep tonight after all.

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Wordless Wednesday 5.18.16

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What’s This?  Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge. Any guesses?

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Chiseled Features

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Art comes in many media and creative techniques. These three faces were carved from logs with chain saws, with final touches added by chisel.

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The first two represent lumberjacks. And the third is none other than Sasquatch (Big Foot) himself.

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These large carvings are on display at Camp 18 Logging Museum in Elsie, Oregon. Photos showing a more distant view of the lumberjacks can be seen in this post on my sister blog, “What Rhymes with Stanza?”


The Daily Post weekly photo challenge: Face

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Wordless Wednesday 5/11/16

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CFFC: Single Flower

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A to Z to Me

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It’s the 8th of May and this is my first post of the month for this blog. After coming up with 26 posts for last month’s A to Z Challenge, I felt the need for a break.

The challenge was fun for me. I jumped in on a whim, having never even heard of it until April 1st, the kickoff day for the challenge. I had to hit the ground running. I thought I’d focus each post on something glass/art related. That lasted until “j,” but I did manage to tie some subsequent posts into my original theme, so I’ll count that as a win.

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My favorite post to write was Light Bulb Moment

Jumping in at the last minute didn’t afford me as much time as I would have liked to visit other participants’ blogs and see how they were responding to the challenge. A goal for next time, if I participate again.

Apparently some bloggers are already ramping up for next year’s challenge. Yikes! I’ve given it a teeny tiny bit of thought, but I know that just planting that little glint of an idea in my mind will likely compel my brain to roll it over and over and over for the next 11 months. And who knows, maybe next spring my challenge posts will pop out of my keyboard like polished stones from a rock tumbler. Or not.

My current goal, though, is to keep at least some semblance of regularity to posting here. I readily admit that at this time my heart is more into my other blog, “What Rhymes with Stanza?” Probably because I don’t have any glass projects currently underway. That could change at any moment if one of my glass concept notions completes its tumbling session and presents me with a shiny design idea that I just can’t pass up.

Congratulations to the many other participants, whether they completed the alphabet or not. We’ve all earned an A for Amazing!

a to z survivor 2016

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