Studio #108 ready for visitors on the weekend of the Cleveland Bazaar Holiday Sale
Busy is good.
It has been months since I wrote anything in this work journal of mine. I know it is supposed to be a discipline, but there have been SO many other things to do. Work. Jobs for churches, jobs for other studios, jobs for new clients. I've been calling it "pleasantly overbooked." I am enjoying the heck out of it. It's never boring, and there is always something to be done.
Third Fridays, the Open Studio nights at 78th Street Studios, have been great exposure. I've met countless homeowners, contractors, realtors and design professionals who are interested in my work. The most common reaction is that people are happy to know there is someone out there still doing this kind of work, particularly residential restoration. There are so many lovely stained and leaded glass windows in the century homes of Greater Cleveland that are due for some attention and maintenance. Even the simplest of them are examples of fine craftsmanship. I am glad to be available to repair and restore them so they can be enjoyed for another hundred years.
The studio has come a long way.
The bank building at the end of the street I grew up on, as it once looked.
The work I do is generally not garish. For the most part, I help quiet, old, beautiful things stay quiet, old, and beautiful. A few days ago, I posted a picture of a gorgeous piece of multicolored glass with the caption that, "I cannot not like this piece of glass." Y'see, I am not a fan of the whimsical color splash. I think a lot of times it is just a cheap, easy way to say, "Look! This is ART!" I have tried to not like that sheet of glass, but it is just too good. There is skill and craftsmanship and an amazing amount of know-how wrapped up in that beautiful thing. It is not representative of the lion's share of the work that I do, but I appreciate the heck out of it, and it is joyful, so I share it.
Like I said, most of my work is quiet, old, and beautiful. I love the order and geometry, and the fact that it has stood the test of time. There is history and culture in the design language of these old things, so I try to learn from them and appreciate them. This week, I repaired a sweet little cabinet door with a beveled shield. Simple and timeless. It speaks to the aesthetic of the time the house was built. The homeowner said it had been in storage since they bought the house because they didn't know anyone who could repair it. Twenty-three years. All it needed was a couple pieces of glass replaced, a couple of hours to get that beautiful thing back in shape. Now it can be put back where it was meant to be, and appreciated again. Yesterday I spoke with a potential client in the same predicament. Her window has only been waiting for seventeen years.
I am heartened to see that people care about these things and appreciate them enough to mothball them until the right thing can be done. Maintenance, care and appreciation of things is complicated It takes time, money, and knowledge. Often times more of any of these than one can imagine will ever be available. Patience pays off, tho. The fast, cheap, solution rarely stands the test of time.
Studio #108 with a fraction of its eventual contents.
Last night, Friday, July 21st 2017, was my first open studio event at my new business home, 78th Street Studios. What a blast. I only received the keys for the space on the first of the month, and in the weeks between then and now, I took a long awaited vacation to Prague (incredibly beautiful and old), totaled my beloved pickup truck (small accident, big consequence), and purchased my first-ever brand new vehicle (unexpected, but super-cute and absolutely what I need right now.) Add this to a summer where I lost my Mother, left my job of 10+ years, and started a business from scratch, and it would be an understatement to say that I am in a major state of flux. "Un-moored" I told someone. But with the love, support, and hands-on help of family and friends, I (we) pulled this unruly mess together, and it's starting to take shape. The dream I've been building in my head exists in the real world. While it certainly hasn't unfolded the way I thought it would, I am beyond pleased with the way things have turned out. Opening my door to the public last night was validating. I talked with strangers and neighbors and potential clients about the work I love in a place that is beginning to feel like home. I know it's "Progress, not Perfection", but last night felt pretty darned perfect. Thanks, everyone. Onward!
A small selection of mouthblown German glass from Glashutte Lamberts.
Yesterday, I signed for and received the Lamberts Glass Sample Set that I ordered. Perhaps nothing I have done in the past few months of getting my business ready for the real world has been so satisfying. Even to order it, one has to have gotten an account and to have proven themselves to be a real business. Check and check. And then, it ain’t cheap. Deciding to purchase the set is a commitment to the fact that I’m going to work this sample set hard - that I am going to turn this box of information into serious work and profit. Commitment made.
The wooden box itself is a nice object. 11” x 13”, and about 5” deep, it is dovetailed and has a hinged top. It is built to last. The ones I’ve used in the past have been around for decades. This one is squeaky clean, and the dings and marks it will collect over the years will be mine.
It is the contents, tho, that make me giddy. Hundreds of colors. Shiny, rich, palpable colors. Each sample is only about 2 x 3 inches. From these little, hand-held samples, you order big, beautiful sheets of handmade, mouth-blown glass that measure approximately 2 x 3 feet. And, oh, the color. Sitting in the box, they are just dark and unremarkable, but in the light, they come alive. So many shades of nuanced greens and triumphant blues. Calm greys and exuberant ambers. Regal purples, natural browns, and every imaginable gorgeous shade of red. And they’re not just crayons to mark with or a fixed paint color to cover a surface. They are magic. They change with the amount of light and time of day. The intensity of each color varies by the thickness of the piece of glass. Bubbles and imperfections alter the effect of light as it passes through. It’s kind of a heady thought, but colored glass in light might be the closest we come to handling a physical representation of pure color.
And I get to play with it.
Or, um, work. Yeah. Work.
Short stories, updates and event details for stained glass and decorative arts by Bruce Buchanan.
Getting Started - ‘Scenic Slides’ Pt. 1 with Bruce Buchanan
Scenic Slide Finished Product
Visit us July 2017 for OPEN HOUSE every Friday 11 am - 4 pm and during THIRD FRIDAYS every third Friday of the month from 5 pm - 9 pm.
78th Street Studios
1305 West 80th St
Cleveland, OH 44102 USA