I spent yesterday watching glassblowers in a timbered shelter in the middle of old growth forest north of Seattle.
Every turn from I-5 got progressively more remote. The trees got taller and thicker, the lichens greener and hardier. Small signs warned “no visitors”, but we had an invitation (would I have been less excited if everyone could wander in? I fear I would have been…). We were a bit early, so we parked the car and stood in silence near the pond.
Silence is not golden, it’s green and lush and slick with the remnants of a rain shower.
At the appointed time, we walked in single file up the path to the hot-glass shop, where 2 teams of artists were working. It was cold out, so the closer we got to the kilns, the more delicious it felt. We didn’t want to be in the way (or maybe it felt too sacred up close…like walking right up to an altar or standing on a grave), so we stood back a bit, where cold outside air and hot fire air played tug of war. The whole space glowed orange, and all the artists’ faces seemed to beam. Maybe it was just the sweat, but surely giving birth to such incredible shapes helped. Globs of molten glass were pulled out of the oven on poles, cajoled and prodded into swirls and orbs with torches and metal paddles. How utterly improbable.
I was transfixed.
I want to do that.
I want to throw my coat off, reach toward the fire, birth beauty, and sweat and beam.
One artist looked up at me and knew me. “It’s your first time.” He grinned at my speechlessness.
“We’re just melting some sand, baby. Just melting sand.”