I know, I'm repeating myself. But, it occurred to me today how lucky I am to have a public access glass studio in the south bay. For me, glass has become a welcome respite from the stresses of the week. Family, work, social commitments, all take their toll on my inner balance. Glass has a way of putting that back in place.
I haven't been blowing glass that long. I started in February. But, it is something I have always wanted to learn. Maybe it’s because I’m crossing over that line between my 30’s and 40’s this year, but I’ve been trying harder of late to do the things I’ve always told myself I was going to do. One of those was to learn how to blow glass.
I became fascinated with glass in my early 20’s after walking into Orient & Flume glass studio in Chico. For those who have never been there, they have an impressive little gallery in the front with what I thought at the time were some of the most beautiful pieces of art I had ever seen. At that moment, I knew that learning to work with glass was something I had to do.
So, after talking about it for 20 years, it was my wife that finally made it happen. She bought me a gift certificate to BAGI’s Glassblowing 1A class for Christmas. Next to the orange bike I got on my 6th Christmas, I think it was the best gift I have ever received. (It was a really awesome bike.) Treg was my instructor and after the first night I knew I had found something I would never put down.
After the class I spent as much time in the shop as my wife and bank account would allow. I was hooked. Then, one night, I opened my email to find a message from BAGI. OH. NO! BAGI cannot close. This cannot be! This cannot be! I know, I’m repeating myself again. To make a long story short, I walked into the studio the next day and found Treg sitting there with a look on his face that just spelled frustration. I asked how I could help.
As chance would have it, I had been working for a small startup in Mountain View that began to experience serious financial challenges. I was laid off in February with about five of my colleagues. So, I was fortunate to have a good deal of free time on my hands and a burning desire (pun intended) to continue to have a place to practice my new obsession. I started spending the entirety of my days at BAGI trying to figure out a way to turn things around.
I won’t bore you with the details now, you’ll get plenty of that in our upcoming community meetings and various other ways we plan to continue to engage and inform the BAGI community. But, needless to say, we do seem to have turned things around.
BAGI’s Treasurer, Robert Knopf, reported in our board meeting this week that for the first time in a while we are in the black again. BAGI has more money than debt, and that is a welcome feeling. There is a great deal of work yet to be done and many more uncertainties ahead. But, I am confident that as a community we can overcome them. As BAGI’s new Executive Director, I am working very hard to not only make sure we stay in the black, but to make sure we all have a place to blow glass after work.