“Nothing is original. Steal from anywhere that resonates with inspiration or fuels your imagination. Devour old films, new films, music, books, paintings, photographs, poems, dreams, random conversations, architecture, bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light, and shadows.”
— Jim Jarmusch
Come tax season, I’m tempted to write off everything I do, because what isn’t creative fodder? We never know what’s going to click off an association, an idea, an insight, a solution.
Can I charge myself by the hour and write off that walk around Greenlake? What about that mobile I bought in Africa? Those paper cutouts from Paris? The feather I found at the beach?
Or how about the two hours this week at the Tacoma Museum of Glass watching glass artist Preston Singletary create one of his pieces (you can click the link to see a video of him at work), and then viewing his amazing show in the museum’s main gallery?
It was so peaceful to sit in the peanut gallery watching Singletary and his crew create something from what was once sand. Singletary works with Northwest Native American motifs from his Tinglit heritage–ravens, carved boxes, baskets, a canoe, totem poles. On this day he and the crew were making the body of a raven.
It began with a chalk sketch on the floor. Then he began to shape the molten glass.
The glass etching that characterizes so much of his work will happen in Singletary’s private studio, but the end result are objects like these on display at the Tacoma Glass Museum, some barely looking like glass:
If you’re in the Puget Sound area it’s easy to look to glass for inspiration. The Pilchuck Glass School founded by glass artist Dale Chihuly was instrumental in the development of the whole American glass art movement. Countless glass artists like Ginny Ruffner, Joey Kirkpatrick, William Morris, Flora Mace, Benjamin Moore and Lino Tagliapietra have studied or taught there making the Puget Sound region a birthplace and a showcase for glass art.
There’s also the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum at the Seattle Center.
In addition to the Tacoma Museum of Glass, the Tacoma Art Museum just opened up a new Benaroya Wing based on the donation by Rebecca Benaroya of her and her late husband Jack’s private glass collection.
How many different directions can you take glass? Well, if you’re an artist open to inspiration from “bridges, street signs, trees, clouds, bodies of water, light, and shadows”, well, the possibilities are just about endless.
“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
— Maya Angelou