Good Intentions

Thanks, everyone, for the encouragement on my “Broken Hallelujah” piece – here is another from that series – “Good Intentions”:


An Unclaimed Gift of Love

OK, I don’t know if this is art or not, or what kind, but it was something I had to do to work through grieving for my friend Jim. It is called “A gift of Love – Unclaimed”. Not useful or functional and I have no idea what to “do” with it, but I made it with love and to remember my friend.

It is a slab of stained glass, rough-edged on one edge (leftovers from when they make glass – they roll it out like taffy & they chop off squares – this is the rough jagged edge leftover.) It is blues & greens & golds, all colors Jim liked. They are muted until you hold it up to the light and then light shines through & you see the textures, swirls & mottling & such). It’s about 2 feet long & 4-5 inches high. I wire-wrapped it so it could be hung.

In the middle of the glass I glued a piece of fused glass that is cobalt-midnight blue & has the words to the Serenity Prayer on it in gold lettering, about 3 X 4 inches. This is a gift I sent to Jim, to let him know we loved him and cared about him (I figured by then that he was sick and maybe couldn’t respond, or might have dementia, but it would still be a tangible token of love from his friends. I didn’t know he was already gone by then.)

This piece of glass was returned to me in its padded mailing envelope, which was all marked up by the postal people, with codes & checkmarks & dates of when they tried to deliver it, but finally decided it was “Unclaimed” – and sent it back to me. (Env. has my return address on it, with a Human Rights campaign (GLBT rights group) label.) It also has a big red FRAGILE – GLASS – HANDLE with CARE sticker on it. I thought this envelope told a story, so I attached it to the slab of glass. (I wired an agate on the glass, and glued the envelope to the stone – the envelope hangs down.)

I epoxied some other things on the slab – one is a fused glass piece with a rodeo cowboy on it (Jim loved rodeo). I glued a piece of yellow glass on it that says “Find a Cure” and a metal red ribbon pin (Jim had HIV-AIDS). Also a brass dragonfly (symbol of eternal life) & another piece of yellow glass that says “Jim”. There’s also a little bit I cut off from a magnet I had that says “Life is short”.

I really like the idea of using a piece of real everyday life (canceled envelope) to tell a story, and I did it in glass because Jim was always so encouraging about my glass experiments….

So I don’t know if that is art or craft, but it was a labor of love and from my heart…

The Art of Living the Artist’s Life

I don’t want to get to the end of my life and find that I have just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. (Diane Ackerman)

Life is your art. An open, aware heart is your camera. A oneness with your world is your film. Your bright eyes, your easy smile is your museum. (Ansel Adams)

Life beats down and crushes the soul and art reminds you that you have one. (Stella Adler)

Just living is enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower. (Hans Christian Andersen)

Life is very nice, but it lacks form. It’s the aim of art to give it some. (Jean Anouilh)

Life is a song… sing it. Life is a game… play it. Life is a challenge… meet it. Life is a dream… realize it. Life is a sacrifice… offer it. Life is love… enjoy it. (Sai Baba)

What a wonderful life I’ve had! I only wish I’d realized it sooner. (Colette)

Life is to be lived, not controlled, and humanity is won by continuing to play in face of certain defeat. (Ralph Ellison)

Life is not easy, but death is no fun. (Tomm Fennell)

In life learn art, in the artwork learn life. If you see the one correctly you see the other also. (Friedrich Holderlin)

I am not dead yet! I can still call forth a piece of soul and set it down in color, fixed forever. (Keri Hulme)

Life is pain, art is redemption. (Brian Lee Jones)

Life is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be experienced. (Soren Kierkegaard)

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter. (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

This life isn’t bad for a first draft. (Joan Konner)

You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing and dance, and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life. (Jiddu Krishnamurti)

Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans. (John Lennon)

Life is too short not to create, not to love, and not to lend a helping hand to our brothers and sisters. (Eric Maisel)

One puts into one’s art what one has not been capable of putting into one’s existence. (Henri de Montherlant)

Life is easier than you’d think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable. (Kathleen Norris)

the War of Art- Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it. (Steven Pressfield)

Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself. (George Bernard Shaw)

The best things in life are invisible. Laughter, love, the wind, and life itself – all are visible only through the things they animate. (Timothy R. Thies)

To affect the quality of the day, that is the highest of arts. (Henry David Thoreau)

When we remember we are all mad, the mysteries of life disappear and life stands explained. (Mark Twain)

My aim in life is to make pictures and drawings, as many and as well as I can; then, at the end of my life… looking back with love and tender regret, and thinking, ‘Oh, the pictures I might have made!’ But this does not exclude making what is possible… (Vincent van Gogh)

I’ll tell you what is the highest work of art – it’s of the soul – listen to this: A truly beautiful life is the highest work of art in the world. (Boris Volkoff) –

The Shoes of the Fisherman – It takes so much to be a full human being that there are very few who have the enlightenment or the courage to pay the price… One has to abandon altogether the search for security, and reach out to the risk of living with both arms. One has to embrace the world like a lover. One has to accept pain as a condition of existence. One has to court doubt and darkness as the cost of knowing. One needs a will stubborn in conflict, but apt always to total acceptance of every consequence of living and dying. (Morris West)

The secret of life is in art. (Oscar Wilde)


I dream of glass…


I dream of glass – things I want to make, things I want to try, projects that went well, what I would do differently next time…

I love sunlight coming through stained glass and light bouncing off dichroic glass earrings and pendants I made when I see someone else wearing my work.

I love to look in the kiln and see the heat and the glass starts to bend and flow.

I dream of things that don’t exist and how I’d like to take a concept and give it life, with glass as my medium.  This morning I was dreaming of doing chanoyu (Japanese Tea Ceremony) in glass – the spirit of the ritual, not tea pot and cups – I have some ideas…

When I don’t create I get crabby – just ask my partner!  I wander about the house puttering and sighing and complaining that no one cares about my work, that the world really doesn’t need another piece of glass jewelry or a tile or a trinket – the world may not need it, but I need to express it – the muse always gets her way, sooner or later.

When I “do” glass I am playing, learning, burning, cutting, mixing, matching, contrasting, inventing, solving problems, testing colors, trying techniques, comparing textures, wondering what would happen if…

Sometimes I am amazed at the beauty of what I’ve made – and sometimes I quietly sweep the exploded scraps into the wastebasket – usually I find a way to re-use what didn’t work out how I intended – but always, always, glass teaches me – about beauty and fragility and strength and heat and patience and endurance and knowing when to stop, flash vent, cool down, and walk away slowly and let the glass anneal (heal itself with time) .

Kerry Ellen 2011

Broken but beautiful – transformative power of art


Let’s make a pretty simple glass dish.

Cut one 5 inch square of pretty green & teal & white & aqua System 96 COE glass.

Cut another square.  Pick the prettiest side. Oops, I goofed – now I will have to piece it.

OK, use up the black stringer, since you are piecing things now.

That looks good – fire away!

500 degrees, 1 hour

 1000 degrees, 1 hour

Get sidetracked – uh-oh, 1800 degrees –

Glass is bubbling like lava –

Shut down the kiln, close the lid, walk away…

Peek next morning – no surprise –

Everything is in bits & pieces.

Great, colorful, curvy swirls of color –

Just recycle, reuse, repurpose…

Put bits on a black base, arrange,

Try it again.

Watch temp carefully – wait –

Open the lid & it’s breathtaking & beautiful!

Let it cool slowly, gently, wash & display.

Admire my work.

Next day, a big crack runs through –

Stress fracture in the glass.

I’ll glue it & clamp it, fix it –

It’s still so beautiful –

Like people, even a bit cracked,

Beautiful nonetheless.

We all have scars,

Stress fractures,

Even with a fairly solid base to build on.

Life is sometimes hot, hard work.

We are tried in the fire and made strong.

Not perfect, or without damage,

But beautiful in ways never imagined

Before the blaze.

By Kerry Ellen, 2009