Three years ago I was really sick, very low in spirits and it looked like my whole world was closing down. I couldn’t see much beyond the next medical appointment. Now, I sit here, with a new business based around my twin passions of glass art and travel and a newfound lease on life. My energy is back, I’m creating art and it’s all down to glass. Glass – in the form of mosaics, kiln formed glass (fusing and slumping), glass painting and a desire to keep learning and experiencing all forms including lampworking (beadmaking) and glassblowing.
I now own and operate The Glass Traveller, a business revolving around the glass arts and setting up tours to take lots of home grown artists to visit other artists, do workshops and see the sights. We cover parts of Australia at the moment but my dream is to cover the world. I’m the Tour Curator (I find them, set them up ) and the Tour Director (I go on the tours). I’ve got a fantastic network supporting me and in turn I’m supporting local businesses including a travel agent, artists and suppliers.
Growing up, I was the academic one of the family and my sister was the creative one. I was told that all my life and I believed it. I thought I could only ever draw stick men and even they were pretty basic! So how did I get to this place where I’m creating and selling my pieces? Well, after I started to get better I figured that I had time to try out all those things I had wanted to do, but I didn’t know whether I’d be any good, after all I wasn’t creative, apparently. So how did I get here?
I tried knitting and while I could knit a blanket it didn’t float my boat and I only wanted to do it in winter for short periods while watching the TV. It was an extra but not my passion. Then I turned my hand towards silver smithing and started out by doing a beginners course. To this day those skills have been valuable but when you get to week five of an eight week course and you just don’t want to go tonight then maybe it’s time to reassess whether you’ve found your passion. Nope, interesting but not for me in the long term.
So then I tried glass mosaics and it felt so, so right. I was itching to do more, I love the colours. I made a few pieces and was then introduced to fusing where you use a kiln to ‘fuse’ together glass into patterns, shapes etc. I laugh that I started two passions – one was collecting glass and the other was using it. When I see glass art, glass sheets, frit, powder, stringers I’m like a kid in a lolly store. I have to have a list otherwise I will go nuts and my credit card will suffer!
Just a few months ago I hit on the idea to combine my two addictions and it all snowballed from there. I’ve had lots of moments of self-doubt but I keep chipping away at the to-do list and putting myself out there. I actually had to start really using social media and now I’ve got to conquer e-commerce. My world is growing really fast but the ride is fun, most of the time.
I now have a glass studio set up at home and the next purchase is a kiln, or maybe two. The next couple of months are truly exciting. I’m off to New Zealand for a glass conference and to chinwag with amazing artists – some of their talents are in another galaxy and I’m in awe and inspired! Then I’m heading to Victoria and NSW where I will get to do lots of workshops and see if I can make a tour work in this region. Hint – I think we can! Then it’s off to Las Vegas for the Glass Craft Expo to do workshops with artists from across the USA and to explore business opportunities. It’s an exciting time.
My mojo is back and I can see a totally reinvented and reimagined retirement. I’m going to be busier than ever but I have control and time to appreciate my new and wonderful life. It took me a few goes to figure out where my passion lay but after I found it I didn’t look back and I’m seeing the world with a new focus and it’s so pretty!
And the moral of the story – we have a world full of opportunities so keep trying until you find what inspires you and then give yourself space and time to explore.
If you think the glass arts might be on your ‘to try’ list then contact me and I can put you in contact with some of the fantastic glass artists we have in the Brisbane region.