I do not know when I developed my glass fetish; it was somewhere over the last twenty odd years in sorting through hundreds of tons of brown, green, and clear bottles for the solid waste industry. I learned that some of them were worth more than a remelt into something new. Maybe the imprinting goes back earlier to when there were still deposit soda bottles, and I could make a little extra eating and drinking money off the streets. Beer distributors were paying .40 to .50 cents a case for returns as well. I remember when the quart pop bottles had a bounty of a dollar a piece toward the end. Then everything became disposable.
There was a lull in my love affair with glass along the way.
Now that I am old and working on myself, I know that there are collectors in the world of about anything, glass included. While I am out there looking for the gems in all that cheap industrial glass, there are a whole bunch of pieces that did not make it into the current century in one chunk . Even more of those formed glass objects did not make it into the previous century. They are lying around in pieces at dump sites all around the edges of our civilization.
There are crafty things to do with all those little fragments, much like those jewelers along the coasts who are making and selling beach glass as jewelry. Yes, I have an old zinc lidded canning jar slowly filling up with that too.
I started experimenting with old chianti bottles and came up with a study in light and color called “Broken Treasures, I”. It had this layered effect of purpled and blue glass. It went for $5 at a flea market up near Sandpoint. I hope it is catching the light someplace still. I am about to finish off number V, also in layers of purpled glass with cobalt blue and red. Need to go grubbing out in the dead vehicle’s piles for more purple glass.
Now my “Broken Treasures” pieces are $10 items, and I am willing to find the light source for you if you want. You pick up the expenses of course, they can run high. Workshop and gallery visits are by appointment only. I really need to put my calling card and mobile number up on the door. I am out in the field often.
I lost my larger gallery space when I retired, so I need to win the lottery soon so I can afford to have a bigger area to display art projects. I suppose writing a best-selling novel would be just as useful as winning the lottery and serve nicely. Those 100 plus degree temperatures are a really good excuse to hide in my burrow and write. Field work can be taxing on a body.
The oldest glass I can remember seeing in my life was in a museum in Seattle. It was made in the Classical Period of Greece, and probably dated from the 3rd or 4th Century BC. It reminded me of a bit of Herat glass I have in a display case between my reproduction of a plaster bigfoot print and my stuffed allegator (a caiman really). It is a pale blue about the size of a demitasse cup, no handle. It has lots of air bubbles and looks like a breath of wind would shatter it. It is one of my treasured possessions because it is so fragile and probably could never be replaced. Looking for glass in Northern Afghanistan seems a little foolish right now.
Casinos run the spectrum of classy to sleazy; I suppose everything does. Casinos are filled with dark spots and lights flashing, coins tumbling, bells ringing and a little extra O2 in some of them to maintain the fantasy of riches before it turns into the despair of loss.
When you watch the rows, lines of slots, monoliths set off on their own like dolmen, there are always little, old ladies with a particular machine staked out as their personal property because they have plugged in enough of their coin to know that it is just about to pay out. Little old men do it too, in fact, it was a little old man who pointed out the machines that were about to pay out when I was in a casino once. I have never been lucky in casinos, and for all I know it is just a case of apophenia, unwarranted connections by an overactive brain. It is just another phenomenon in humans.
I was in a Safeway in Washington state the other day. The State Lottery has fancier vending machines for scratch tickets and print out tickets for drawings than Idaho. No need to walk up to a cashier and buy a lottery ticket unless you need human interaction. This Safeway had two machines; they must get runs on their machines. You still have to talk to a person to get the cash if you win.
I was going to put another $40 into the machine I had played the day before, but a woman had staked it out with her shopping cart and was putting her money into high dollar scratch tickets, scratching them off, and checking to see if she won on the machine. I was trying to plug my money into the same stack of tickets to see if the working theory of buying out a stack was worthwhile. Back in the days of pull-tab machines in taverns, it was a viable theory when you had enough beer in your system.
I had to go with the other machine as she was not moving. She was still scratching and checking after I had bought my next 40 tickets. My new understanding of buying scratch tickets from machines is they in general pay out $17 for every $40 you put in. Blind chance is still the governing factor. I was in the mood to gamble since none of the other cunning plans I have for supplementing my pension were working out at that moment. I have all sorts of compensation mechanisms for when my creative urge needs a rest.
Like most hominids, I really do not know what I am doing most of the time. It is at best a controlled experiment but is mostly a knee jerk reaction. That woman with the shopping cart and I have a lot in common. However, she has a better territorial imperative than I. I will probably never know if her imperatives are more successful than mine. For me in the meantime, I will get back to more pressing issues in my life as the summer heat dome tries to melt me into the floor. I cannot afford to go basking in the AC of a casino right now. I am lucky to spend a few minutes in the frozen food section of a Safeway.
The move to my new workspace is done. The van becomes a nice tool for the treasure hunting, portable living situation, and flea market sales in my fantasy future life, but it can rest for a bit. It went through four starters during the three months of move. That is on top of the first failure. Apparently, the solenoid sits too close to the manifold and gets hot. It is a design flaw.
There is a starter button on the dash now, and all sorts of shiny copper wire around the battery. Turn the key, punch the button and it fires right up. I still have to crawl under the rig and see if the wires go anywhere near the old/new starter. My understanding of electricity is minimal at best. I sure am no systems analyst, but it seems that the electrical specialists finally got around to the system was broken so they changed the system ploy.
Step to the edge of what people contrive,
no matter how pretty,
no matter how wise,
the wind will sweep
to the edge of the skies.
The storyboard is safely ensconced in my new digs. Storyboards can be a useful tools; they can also be a convenient way to waste time when you are not actually writing. Back in the days when I was working in solid waste to pay the rent and eat, I found the pieces for my storyboard. It is a fun toy now.
We were cleaning tons of paper out of the psychology department when I came across a box containing a story telling kit from the late 1940s. I promised myself that when I found a magnetic white board it would become a story creating device with lots of glued on magnets. The board finally came. It is 4 by 9 feet and weighs a ton (figuratively). I have to get a moving crew in to move the thing.
Just before I moved it, I put these figures on it as an example of a simple story. They are back on it now with lines and arrows and question marks. The story is beginning to unfold in one form or another.
One of the pieces has disappeared during the move. It was the figure of a naked little boy with his back turned. He seemed to be hiding his penis from view. I hope he turns up. I imagine psychiatry from the 1940s would have a lot to say about my noticing this.
“You can observe a lot just by watching.” Yogi Berra
The black wings shimmer as they pull up stream. The stream’s course in a channel of deep bunch grass and green willow shadows and lights, a thousand shades, an infinite shade of verdant and dark weaves. The bird is untouched by the flora. The raven winds a course between them all. It does not cry; it does not lie. It flies at the will of its own.
I dropped a hanging ball of prism crystal a little lower in the window. I used to be able to sit at certain hours and watch the rainbows dance about the room. I haven’t seen the rainbows for years. I’m afraid that the Grand Old Party is trying to blot out rainbows. I suspect they have already slaughtered the unicorns.
Shel Silverstein wrote a book of poetry named “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. It is a lot of fun stepping off the end of the sidewalk into the real world, but until you get there, there are some things to see along the way.