I first went to art school to be a furniture designer. I dearly loved the warm sensual look of carefully oiled and hand rubbed wood and the idea of creating an object that interacted so closely with the human experience intrigued me.
Things seem to be going along fairly well and although I still had not found my “voice” by any means at all…I was still slowly evolving into a look of my own. I had devolved a small fledging vocabulary of lines. I was just beginning to see the lay of the land before me when I started to notice a disturbing common physical trait among the instructors and visiting artists I was studying under. They all seemed to have bits and pieces of their hands missing. Nothing really horrific but the end of a digit here and a long scar along a finger there but it was a definite common thread among these individuals. They would belly laugh and joke amongst them selves about how they almost lost a hand in the 12 inch planner or how the grinder had “snatched” the wood chisel out of their hand and impaled it into their chest. Well those images along with the incessant high-pitched scream of the power tools had me looking for other artistic avenues to express myself. Wood working for it time honored image of being an extremely laid-back art form was way to fast lane for the likes of me.
After my wood working experience I had a brief but extremely intense sojourn into the world of one off glass blowing. Glasswork is still the most “romantic” art form I have ever encountered. I wanted to be drinking red wine, eating cheese, hard breads and fruit from a red and white checked bandana the whole time I was in the furnace room waiting my turn at the dance before the oven. Working with hot glass those days meant having someone that cared about you showing up every few days to make sure you were still okay and to refill that bandana. I’d still be there to this day but for President Jimmy Carter getting into a “pissing match” with the Soviet Union over us selling them wheat and who was going to sent teams to the Olympics games in Moscow. This international conflict resulted in a dramatic spike in natural gas prices. The sky rocketing cost of fuel had the university shutting down the ovens in just a few days. By the time six months had gone by and the price of glass melting fuels got back to normal I had found my way into the jewelry studios. Which at that time were called the metals labs.