It feels good to be back in Edmonton. It is a city of possibility, opportunity, and creativity. Although I will admit, Edmonton is not my heart-home, it is a space bustling with creatives, entrepreneurs, artists, activists, and exciting initiatives. I love Edmonton for the diversity of its people, its proximity to green space and nature, and the access to public education via progressive social organizations.
Photo credit: the City of Edmonton.
I've always been a little bit of an insomniac. Into the wee hours of the morning, I worry, wonder, and plan.
This has been one of those nights. I tucked into my cozy bed and drifted off into slumber, but at the witching hour, I awoke. My mind began to race. I began to dream of the next day's production, what I will make. I started taking stock of the countless things that need to be done when starting a business. I envisioned finishing the half-designed banner in my shopping cart, the mountains of jewelry waiting to be created, the endless techniques I have yet to learn.
It is all very exciting and I feel very much like I've fallen in love... that tossy, turny, sleepless feeling you get at the beginning of a new and joyful relationship. Ruminating on the sensations of being together, anticipation of what's next, curiosity about how long this excitement will consume me.
I settled back in to production mode today. What a surreal sensation, to come to a much-needed halt after a summer of ups and downs. June 9, I decided to resign from a job that had promised to be meaningful, but in the end, wasn't satisfying to me. I tried so hard to make it a fit, but at the end of the day I felt drained, empty of spirit, and didn't feel I was able to contribute positivity to the world.
After a long fit of tears and the massive decision to quit, I promised myself I would become a glassblower. I had learned the foundations of glassblowing from Chris Sorensen last July, a whirlwind learning experience where we simply spent as many days together as we could - I watched, listened, attempted, took notes, and dreamt only of melting glass for weeks. After that I had bought equipment, glass, and a few basic tools, but all through the winter and up until June I had had so few free hours to work on my craft. To quit a job to try to make money off a craft that still felt so new felt almost completely irresponsible, but it also felt like the right kind of adventure at the right time in my life.
So I followed in Chris's footsteps. He encouraged me to dive in head-first, cheering me on, and warning me that by the end of summer I'd love it or hate it. It has been exhausting, nerve-wracking, exciting, euphoria-enducing, and surreal. This journey has meant leaving financial security behind (hopefully not forever!), re-locating to a town away from my partner, waking up every day uncertain of how much (if any) money will come in that day. I've felt a bit off my rocker, at times. But not once have I felt regret. I am happier than perhaps I've ever been, on this new, creative, entrepreneurial adventure.
And now, here I am. "Becoming" a glassblower. Or, more accurately, a lampworker. To be honest, I've always wanted a straight-forward title, but lampworker is not one of them. It is not a commonly-known term, whereas glassblower is familiar - with all its implied "oohs" and "ahhs". I use both, interchangeably, to make life easier for all of us.
The end of September wraps up my first season - a summer spent on Hornby Island demoing and selling glass - and marks the transition into a new season. Fall, yes. Christmas Craft Fairs, also. I have no idea what to expect. I thought I was ready to do anything - but, icicles? Lighting? Santa hats? It certainly feels like I'm going in blind. But as I sign up for Fairs I also have an opportunity to talk with seasoned crafters, and they give me snippets of golden guidance. I can do this.
It is not always easy to follow one's dreams and passions. It's not always possible; there are always barriers, restrictions and doubts that get in our way. I am thankful to pursue this passion, and I am grateful every day for the precious chaos we call life.
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“The body is not a thing, it is a situation: it is our grasp on the world and our sketch of our project”