I stopped in my tracks and pressed my face against a small shop window. The sun was shining on a large strand of handmade glass beads and I was enraptured with the intensity of the colour!
A gentleman invited us in and showed us how he made the glass beads with his torch, using long thin rods of Murano glass. He must have noticed my instant infatuation with the art of lampwork because he walked to the window, lifted out the heavy strand of beads, and put them in my hands. He told me to go outside and see them in the sunlight.
I ran off with them, yelling, “Start the car! Start the car!”
Okay, maybe that didn’t happen – there are no cars in Venice and “Start the gondola” just hasn’t the same effect.
I’d come to Venice and Florence to witness, in person, the “rock stars” of my art history and design education. For me, to stand before a genuine piece of art I’d studied – to see it with my own eyes – might be how meeting a rock star would feel. Standing, in the Brancacci Chapel in Florence, on the same floor as Michelangelo, Raphael, Botticelli, and DaVinci, soaking in the same frescos that inspired the Renaissance was a “rock star” moment for me… ah… but I digress…
The point is – here, also – on this fine day in Venice, I had that same “rock star” moment watching the light and colour play through the glass in my hands. I had a choice to make –
a) I could run off with these beads, or,
b) I could learn to do this lampwork thing myself – because, in that moment, I knew, “I want to create this kind of beauty, I want to wear this light and colour. I want to stare at this every day.”
Welcome to my self-indulgent, but law-abiding, plan b…