A Long Time Ago
Published On: 05-24-2012 04:32pm
Comments: 1 - Hits: 70
A long time ago, I was only four years old and living in a body that was easy and accommodating. I could crawl into laps and find welcome there and could make a palace under my grandparents' picnic table or fit comfortably inside the old rubber tire swing in the back yard.
My grandparents lived in a tiny clapboard house in the small town of Lewis, Iowa. Pop wore overalls and a hearing aid. Ma wore an apron and horn rimmed glasses and would cackle when she laughed. I loved them. The house had old rusty color patterned wall paper in the main room and a cobalt blue glass dish high on a shelf by a window. Pop's well-used easy chair was settled firmly on the aging oak floorboards and I spent a lot of time there with him. At least, that is what I remember. Most of all, of the fading objects in that room, I remember the dish. Ma didn't have many pretty things but she cherished what she had. The dish would never be within my reach but I never wanted to touch it anyway, only look. The deep intense blue of the glass mesmerized me and I would stare at it until I fell into it's depths. No words could describe that emotional synesthesia...cobalt blue. I did not need to touch the dish to feel the blue. I could taste it and hear it too, a metalic taste and a thrum, feeling of deep peace.
Years after Pop died and Ma had packed up a few things and moved in with my aunt in Maryland, I wondered what became of that dish. No one seemed to remember it but me. I have sometimes wondered if someone rummaging in an old dump in Iowa or digging in the back yard will discover blue shards of forgotten memories.
Light and color have never failed to capture me, stop me dead in my tracks and take my breath away like a sucker punch from the neighborhood bully, who can't be ignored. After the hours I spent roaming the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC and bathing in the jaw dropping awe of St. Chapelle's great stained glass windows in Paris, my journey with color continues to expand. Light and glass. Light and glass.
And so, I use colored glass in my art. There is nothing more intense unless it is Tchaikovsky's Violin Concerto and you are sitting in the front row facing the orchestra and the tears are leaving wet tracks down your cheeks. The windows, lamps and small things like jewelry, that can go where you go, still carry the full emotion and sensation of color. A shard will do. Now, I've just made a little pair of cobalt blue glass earrings. When the light catches them, the experience of color is fully there and I'm falling.... into the depth of the deep, deep blue from so long ago.