OK, OK, so I deserted my post. It’s been a little crazy lately. I know I’m not alone when I say that. But amidst all the unpleasantness of the economic downturn, a few glimmers of sunlight have popped out of the oddest places.
It’s hardly news that kids art programs are massively underfunded in the US. At Bullseye we typically need to decline the vast majority of requests we receive for donations. Even in the best of times, we just don’t have the resources to fill a hole that deep.
So why now?
Maybe because an oddly smug sort of satisfaction comes of spitting in the face of adversity and doing something that the financial statements tell you is beyond your means.
A couple of weeks ago I said Yes instead of No. And Dan, Ted and I found ourselves suddenly buried in the middle of helping a bunch of kids at the da Vinci Arts Middle School make fused and slumped plates and bowls as centerpieces for Portland’s Young Audiences annual auction.
We can’t take any credit for the actual design or making – that was all in the hands of the kids and their instructor, Lisa Wilcke. We just provided the materials and stood back.
Well, not too far back. I did go to the school to watch one afternoon last week. It’s been years since I’ve been around kids doing art projects. There really is an energy there that is unlike anything you’ll find in adult education. I was utterly smitten.
(I got especially smitten with this chipper little bird)
But then, after smittenness comes work….the kind that Dan loves best: prepping shelves, loading kilns, playing around in the studio at 11pm and on weekends. We hadn’t done that kind of thing together in the last 25 years. It felt like the honeymoon that we forgot to take.
Even with the mid-sized BVD and Paragon Pearl kilns, it took a lot of firings to hammer over 40 pieces through the fuse and slump cycles.
We’re still slogging along and expect to be done by this weekend.
So, that’s part of where I’ve been lately. As I said, it’s been a sweet little sunburst in an otherwise stormy few months.
And BTW, I know that our project is only one of a skidzillion that are pulled out of hats by magician artists who manage to scrape together the materials and energy to give so many kids the opportunity to experience the weird science – and often weirder art! – that glass makes possible.
I’d love to hear about what the rest of you are doing with kids and glass. Any links you can share would be a treat.