ANCESTRAL GROUNDS, HOMEPLACE, REUNION
Summer of 2014…I really, really needed a break…some call it a vacation but, just a break from the normal routine seemed it might be the respite needed. I decided to gift myself with time to just ‘play’ in the studio… no pressure, deadlines or expectations… just whatever happened would be ok.
There were piles of dusty old window sashes saved just because they were interesting and I knew I would do ‘something’ with them in that elusive ‘someday’. Bins of ‘scrap glass’ were stacked everywhere…the collection of all the chips of the rainbow kept for that same ‘someday’.
I began to ‘play’… Glass on glass mosaic is a technique that allows not just the surface beauty of the glass to be shown as in traditional mosaic work, but since the glass is glued to transparent glass and then grouted, each tiny piece of transparent color becomes a window allowing light to shine through. After cleaning away years of dust and refinishing the sashes, clear glass was cut and placed into each window pane, glued securely to the wood sash. Therapeutically, I began washing, cutting and snipping and chipping tiny pieces of glass and gradually, as if creating a puzzle, a design began to form. No expectations meant not having a preplanned design or drawing. A hoarded piece of antique glass was the perfect sun. ..a bright beginning. Once glued in place I had officially begun. As the days flowed into weeks and months the window sashes filled with tiny chips. Such a multitude of colors and types of glass were in these bins of treasure. Often a scrap would cause my mind to replay memories of past projects, people, places.
The center two sashes were finished first. They had become the rolling wild flower covered hills of Orange County, the Piedmont where we had lived for so long and had raised our family. The sun, the life giving force that still guides our rural farm lifestyle, burst with color and shone on the flowers swaying in the breeze under a swirling Carolina blue sky.
This was really fun…I wanted to do mountains next. We love the mountains of North Carolina and they have special meaning to our family. My mother’s grandmother and grandfather were Cherokee and walked these same places that we now enjoyed. On it went… chip, snip, glue, chip, snip, glue. Surprise jars of tiny fused glass pieces and became centers of flowers and stars. The moon slivered and hung in the sky over the Great Smoky Mountains…such peace.
The third set of windows began as the Piedmont slid down toward the Sandhills and the rivers flowed to the beaches of the Atlantic Ocean. Living near the Haw, Eno and Cape Fear river basins makes us so aware of the bond to our surroundings and how all things depend on one another for life. And so the chips of glass became rocks and grass and sand and sea. Annual reunions with family on the beaches off Emerald Ilse had provided a multitude of treasured shells and small rocks that made their way into the design until one day the last piece was glued… Not done yet. Each panel had to be grouted, cleaned, cleaned, cleaned… well you get the idea, but it really took weeks to finish this part of the process. One year later and they are here to visit
.Enjoy the journey, I surely did! Susan Jo Milne Hope- 2015
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