Number Two in my little List of Irritations is the crabapples who accuse Bullseye of being a hotbed of elitist snobbery with no interest in the beginner or hobby user.
An obvious diss to anyone working out of a QuickFire, Bullseye has clearly lost sight of the noble masses who wouldn’t dream of making whole walls out of glass threads.
I had planned to challenge that slur by talking about our basic company philosophy – a belief that accomplished and talented artists in glass having success on the national and international level adds to the richness of the field for everyone, including beginners.
I was going to argue that public awareness of kiln-glass as a medium deserving of museum and high-end gallery attention brings value to the craft on all levels.
I thought I’d point out that most of the artists that Bullseye exhibits and promotes at its gallery have active teaching careers along with their studio work.
And stress that many of those artists share their knowledge with newcomers to the field through short-courses, lectures, and technical support of all forms from Internet bulletin boards to their participation in educational conferences.
After over forty years in the field and arguably the most distinguished career of any artist working with our glass, Klaus Moje still shows up at the most obscure ends of the earth to share what he knows with all levels of kilnformers. North Lands Creative Glass, 2005
I’d point out that Bullseye regularly captures the technical information gained from working with major artists and publishes it for the benefit of beginners and advanced makers alike. How many coming into the field today realize that Bullseye’s work with Moje in the early 1980’s led to the development of the world’s first line of Tested Compatible glass?
I’d explain that many of the methods taken for granted in this field resulted directly from Bullseye’s work with major artists.
Let your reach exceed your grasp… I’m guessing that a lot of newbies have no idea that the Vitrigraph kiln came out of a project at Bullseye in 1993 with Narcissus Quagliata and Rudi Gritsch?
Finally, I’d argue our belief that the profits made from hobby sales need to be poured back into the field at the gallery and research level in order to support the growth and longevity of the medium for everyone.
That’s how I THOUGHT I’d address this attitude of hostility that festers just below the surface of our community and periodically boils up onto an Internet bulletin board or percolates at a corner table of whispering malcontents during an otherwise pleasant glass conference.
I figured that I’d pull out my weathered little soap box and launch into the most important rant of all: the need for all of us to push ourselves out of our comfort zones; to accept the virtue of one’s reach exceeding one’s grasp…until I realized that a quotation from Robert Browning would likely just put another nail in my hoity-toity coffin.
See, I believe pretty ferociously that the problem isn’t with the so-called “elite” – whom I’ve never heard describe themselves as such – but with the insecurities that grip all of us in the face of others’ success.
Well, folks, embrace it. There will always be people who are more talented, more admired, more popular, better connected, richer, smarter, thinner … than we are.
And we just hate it, don’t we?
If not, why are we all so gleefully gaping at pictures of celebrities with bad – or no – hair trudging back into rehab clinics?
Then somewhere along this mental muddling it suddenly occurred to me that I could be missing a major commercial opportunity. There is clearly money to be made off this simple but disturbing realization.
Forget about questioning yourself. Why reflect on the psychology of your resentment when you can BUY a remedy from Bullseye’s newest product line: ELITE-AWAY. I haven’t tested this stuff out with our Research and Education department yet, but I’m guessing that our marketing manager can whip up the extra catalog pages pretty quickly when she sees the vast commercial potential of my product offering:
ThickSkin: Does the success of others leave an unsightly residue on your ego? A single sheet of ThickSkin will leave your bottomside unchapped when you get that tenth rejection letter from the New Glass Review.
GlassTact: a dose once a day and you’ll be able to say things like “You’ve got a solo at Heller? I’m thrilled for you” without gagging.
EZ-Lose: Embrace your ignorance. A software program that takes the sting out of being a fusing ignoramus. Just punch in the “Gargantuan Bubble” cycle and relax. You’ll soon be giddy with delight at having blown up an $80 sheet of dichroic. An upgrade to the program includes a set of tail-wagging schedules guaranteed to tickle your inner Beagle.
Quik-Ire: Plug in to any 110 outlet and enjoy the surge of Instant Outrage at the thought of people buying glass sheets that cost more than a 6-pack of Safeway soda.
System86: the WMD of glass class warfare. One shot and everyone making work of greater aesthetic value than a refrigerator magnet will become radioactive dust. Propels you instantly to the top of (what’s left of) the field.
But I’d better stop here. I’m clearly at risk of exposing the cutting edge of our research efforts. Yikes! We could get co-opted again by the ever-vigilant competition.
And worse yet, I’m treading dangerously close to the edge of my next bitch: Fusing for Dummies.
As always, I encourage your comments, death-threats, confessional soul-searches, admissions of elite-o-phobia (c’mon someone’s got to admit to this), and financial donations (buy some Bullseye, support a blogger)