It has been a couple of months since I’ve sent a story or an email newsletter. Normally I do as a reminder for the month’s Third Friday at 78th Street Studios, but with COVID-19, we haven’t been having those. This month the building is trying out a limited event. Shorter hours, fewer participating tenants, attendance capped at 200 tickets, masks worn, and plenty more precautions taken by all involved. I find myself wavering between whether or not it’s too soon or even a good idea, but I am part of an arts community that will have to find a new way forward somehow sooner or later. We are taking baby steps to try to see what might work. Everyone is revamping their online presence, and part of the Third Friday plan is a virtual video tour. I hope you find some way that’s comfortable for you to support your favorite 78th Street Studios artists as we go forward.
In the past couple of months, I got myself caught up on some projects, and have been doing a robust business in leaded glass repairs for homeowners all over town. I’ve done onsite work with masks, distancing, and applicable precautions. My stock of Barcode Blocks was low, so I’m working on a production run of a few hundred of them. That should support peoples’ gift giving needs for a while at least. I’ve made a few new small panels, and another dozen or so of the striped panels that have done so well. The website store is going to be doing more heavy lifting as studio events are likely to be smaller and less frequent.
Of course, the studio is open for visitors by appointment. I’m there most every day working away in solitude anyway. So don’t hesitate if you have a project you’d like to discuss or are looking to purchase a Barcode Block or Panel. I can meet you in the parking lot for a hand-off or come on in. I just ask that you wear a mask and try to practice distancing. People are resilient and flexible. We can figure out the best way forward together.
Photo by Bruce Buchanan
When I moved into 78th Street Studios last July, I already planned on making a batch of my Bar Code Blocks. I had made some a few years earlier, but never really planned to revisit them. People kept liking them and asking for them, though, and as I would now have my own studio in which to show and sell them, I figured that it was time for another batch. The wood was milled and ready to go, and I’d surely get some together by the 2017 Christmas Season.
Well, here it is March! I still hardly have the time to get these guys assembled, but I got the glass cut and laid out and am committed to having at least some ready for the Third Friday open house. I love these things. They are joyful and substantial and say almost nothing. Come and get ‘em!
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.
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Visit us 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
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Getting Started - ‘Scenic Slides’ Pt. 1 with Bruce Buchanan
Scenic Slide Finished Product