In December 2009 –as an extension of our work with reflection, transparent, translucent, opaque, and overlapping… along with the introduction of “change” produced by intense heat– we ventured into a new medium… glass. Our own classroom windows are inspiring as the quality of light changes, permeating the old leaded design throughout the day and the season. Imagine the joy in being able to manipulate that incredible medium! The language of glass and light became useful, without diluting the magical qualities of a liquid supercooled to an invisible flow. We met Scott at the glass shop in North Portland. He talked with us about the history of glass. The introduction of glass working dates back five thousand years, when glass was first made by alchemists and became more precious than diamonds and rubies. Two thousand years ago glass fusing became a skill that has evolved and held its roots in the works of modern artists such as Chihuly. The children quickly took to the medium and were entranced by the flame fusing of beads Scott demonstrated after our own gems were made. The day sparked a desire for even more!

Over the years, we continued to visit Scott, until the school became too big to fit into Aquila’s studio space. At that point, Scott came to us at the bakery. We embarked on a new application… the creation of salt dishes with beaded spoons to give as Thanksgiving presents to friends and family. We worked with scraps of colored paper geometric shapes, representing the glass bits we would use to design our treasures. We experimented with juxtaposing colors and overlapping shapes, imagining what would happen if they liquified and the settled into a slumped square to cradle a small bag of artisan salts. When the glass arrived we were ready. We worked with an air of practiced certainty and excitement.

As we waited for the kiln to do its magic with a batch at a time over the next weeks, we filled little plastic pouches with salt, made a torn paper label for the specific salt, and selected beads that we strung on hefty wire and twined up the length of a small spoon handle, complimenting the glass colts we had used.

When the glass returned, we could see the delightful rerun of our efforts. We wrote a Thanksgiving blessing for the recipient and swallowed the whole collection in a section of tissue paper, gathered and tied it off with a ribbon on top. Such a joyful gift, rooted in early civilization and the earth itself… etherial beauty.