Friday was a successful day in the hot shop which was both satisfying and a relief. With so many factors having the potential to go wrong during the making process, hot blown glass has a 50% success rate - those who have watched ‘Blown Away’ on Netflix can appreciate this! These photos show a commission I was working on, the piece that I got too hot and it collapsed before my eyes into an…. interesting sculpture… You will see that I was trying to make a plate… the second had a hole, third time lucky.
The final piece that made it YAY!
As a woman blowing glass, I am so grateful of how privileged I am to be working with this fascinating and magical medium. Firstly, as an extremely arduous job, historically it was nearly exclusively male and in Murano, women were not allowed to work at the furnace, therefore there has never been a female master glassmaker; at least not documented. Even as recent as 2 years ago, my then new colleague from Slovakia came for an interview and commented that I was the first woman he had seen in a hot shop! That blew me away!!! 😁 I had taken for granted how far women’s liberation had come and how many places it still had not reached. Some of the most amazing glass makers today are women, they bring a different voice and a female intelligence to hot glass. My glass hero is @rikescholle, kickass glass blower and wonderful human: https://www.heissglas.de/ .
I also consider myself lucky to work with glass because in the 1200’s, glass blowing was a well-guarded secret in Venice. In 1291, glass furnaces were ordered to move to the nearby island of Murano for two reasons : firstly, to prevent fires consuming the city of Venice full of wooden buildings and it was easier to keep their secret art contained on a small island. To prevent potential competitors from learning their expertise, glassmakers were not allowed to leave Murano without permission or reveal trade secrets. The price? Punishment by death. Or a lesser penalty, having your hands chopped off and your family imprisoned. .
Even though glassmakers would enjoy many privileges and were well rewarded, is it worth being confined to one island your whole life? As someone who has travelled around 4 continents and lived in 6 countries, the richness of experience and learning from different cultures far exceeds any monetary value. I cannot imagine a world where I am not allowed to cross borders and explore the majesty of this beautiful earth. Yet still today, many women do not have the opportunities to leave the village where they were born or suffer discrimination because they are the ‘weaker sex’. It is up to us, to spend our privilege wisely, support our fellow humans as they are also a part of us - in different circumstances, we could have been born in their shoes.
In solidarity for our fellow sisters who could use our help, throughout 2021 I will be donating 10% of profits to Women for Women International https://womenforwomen.org.uk/ and 10% to Wonder Foundation https://wonderfoundation.org.uk/.
Please join me in empowering women, as we are ALL connected - if they thrive, we all thrive. Even a small drop in the ocean has a ripple effect ♥️ onelove
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