… Become a glass artist.
That’s what the sticker says.
I’m no artist.
But I’m giving blood.
Copious amonts of A positive which I shed across my studio (aka an unoccupied corner of my absent son’s bedroom) as I slice fingers on coloured panes of Spectrum 96 and stand in my barefeet on tiny shards that have escaped during my unpractised cutting to the floor. And in so doing I lend a new perspective to the phrase stained glass. Mine sports red smears which I wipe away with pieces torn from a swiftly dwindling loo roll at my side.
And when I am not slicing my fingers open, or piercing the soles of feet dusted in talc-sand, I am burning my thumbs because impatience means I eagerly extract fused pieces from my kiln without due care and attention. (I am the person who speeds past the Health and Safety section to the interesting bits and breaks her ankle in the process.)
I am suprised that this practical immersion in something creative sustains me as it does. I am neither practical nor especially creative. But I spend happy hours in the loftily renamed corner of my son’s room. Cutting (the glass and my digits) and stacking and musing on which colour to put with which. Sometimes I pepper the glass with multicoloured frit or spahetti it with bright stringers and sometimes I sandwich two pieces together and then fuse bright blue and bubbled for the magic I have introduced: white bubble powder which I line up from a jar with a long handled spoon, bent low over my work so that I get it just right.
And I wonder later that if Sylvester in the cut-off gumboots should spy me en route to watering the veggie patch beyond my son’s room, he might report me to Immigration for being a hard drug user. And Immigration who lurk with little to do in an Outpost mostly bereft of anybody far less anybody who is only here courtesy of hard won residence permit would love that: they’d be down here in a trice and I’d be hard pressed to explain the quantities of white powder stashed in the studio.
I wouldn’t wish my sore feet and cut fingers on Mum, but I long to be able to impart some small portion of my energy, a bit of the nervous inability to sit still, an eccentric sense of humour which means I can laugh at the vision of Sylvester in the cut-off boots copping me lining white powder carefully (so as not to waste it) up on sheets of glass. But I know I cannot. And I also know that it is precisely my experience of Depression that feeds the energy, the inability to sit still, the laughter. For it is that which keeps me running from similar beasts.