Dan circa 1975. Forty-something years ago Bullseye’s founder couldn’t decide whether he was prouder of the ingeniously winged glass spreader he’d invented or of the factory surviving its first year in business – a milestone proudly proclaimed on the newly designed T-shirt: “Handcast Glass Since 1974”
We celebrated Dan’s 75th birthday last week with a movie, his favorite fish stew and a wee dram of my favorite single malt.
With the exception of fish, aging is a good thing.
Growing older brings rich rewards: a greater tolerance for one’s mate’s failings (mine have long been in the kitchen, his, perpetual tardiness) and the enjoyment of smaller pleasures (hummingbirds at the feeders in the morning would NOT have been a highpoint of my days in my twenties).
Factories can also benefit from aging. Hard lessons learned over time become core values. New lessons – even the most difficult – keep us young. These last two years, aging in the eye of a legal storm*, have brought unexpected joys. The greatest of these is reflection. Looking back on the growth of our creative community, the deepening roots, the spreading branches of connection, and with it the growing conviction that one’s purpose in life has been worthwhile.
Reflecting on the projects that have flowed from the Bullseye factory or, more specifically, from the material and methods it produces, many stand out. Among those, a few of note:
• The honor to have crafted period-authentic glass for the renovation of our country’s capitol cupola. After decades of technical advances, to be recognized for using antiquated methods captures much of the dichotomy that is Bullseye.
• The thrill of providing Judson Studios the glass and technical assistance to pioneer the world’s largest kilnformed glass window – a window that brings new methods to the ancient craft of stained glass.
• Our involvement with Silvia Levenson whose relentless passion over the years continues to illuminate social injustice with the purifying light of colored glass. We were honored in 2017 to be the final venue for her international touring exhibition Identidad Desaparecida.
This last is my personal favorite. Aging that keeps its eyes on youth, on making, and on identifying the values that fuel our making. But most of all recognizing that who we are and where we come from is the vital thread that we alone can – and should – weave.
*I’ll write more about our legal storm in the weeks to come. I’m still not sure why fish stew struck me as a logical place to begin.