Summer 2012, returning from my first work-study scholarship at Penland School of Craft, I was consumed with desire to create. I, of course, had my fused glass and my elementary teaching to focus on, but I wanted more. I did a little flame working (torch glassblowing) locally. The nearest hot shop was in Denver, 70 miles away. I saved up and signed up for a three hour lesson. At $200+ a lesson, plus the gas to get there and get home, it was pricey. So, I started doing craft shows on the weekends as another stream of income.
Friends would ask me how the show went that weekend and I’d answer by saying I made enough to pay for one lesson and two tanks of gas. Or, something to that effect. For seven months, I drove to Denver for a lesson every two or three weeks. When the school year was coming to a close, I found out that the shop was dealing with some financial challenges and cut back on hours for and eventually let go of their part timers. I also knew that they had production jobs that needed to be filled and having an extra person around the shop was needed, yet financially they couldn’t afford it. So, I offered to help. No one turns away free help.
I drove up to the shop usually three days, and put in 12-15 hours a week. It was a great solution. I could learn by being there and they needed the support. I told the owner, Corey, I would call it an internship on my resume. So as a shop tech/slave, I did whatever was needed. I worked on the production line (my favorite), inventoried product, packed product for shipping, cleaned and organized whatever they needed, engaged customers in conversation when Corey was in the shop and it wasn’t convenient to step away and cold worked glass, as needed.
A month into it, I realized that I really enjoyed being there and had the thought…”what would it look like if I lived closer to the hot shop?” So, I pondered it and looked into teaching jobs near the hot shop. I was asked to interview, surprisingly, for two different jobs in two different districts, but on the same day. Before I got back to Colorado Springs, I had two job offers.
It seemed this move was tailor-made for me. So, after 17 years teaching elementary art in an awesome town (Manitou Springs), I was moving to the big city. I needed this for my own growth as an artist. I, for years, have taught my students and the gymnasts I coached to “go big”, take a risk, put it all out there. Now, it was my turn.