Friday, February 13, 2009

Glass, dance, movement

"Freedom, awareness, control"
When I heard these words together for the first time in my dance class, I just knew we were talking about lampwork! But no, it was all about movement and the Barbara Mettler dance method. What an amazing thing- two things that appear so different coming together so nicely. I couldn't help but apply these ideas to my years of lampworking.
Starting with freedom- when you first begin learning lampwork, your glass flows all over the place- whether you feel free or not, your glass certainly is! And I've seen enough students starting out with that freedom- their glass is all over the place, the colors are weird and crazy, and they are just sure of where they're going with that bit of glass. But you learn a different kind of freedom pretty quickly; the freedom to let the glass go where it wants to, and to let what happens happen- at least to a point.
Then it's awareness- well, this is where it gets fun for me! You become aware of what you are doing, what the glass is doing, what effect gravity is having on the whole mess, how the colors look together, how they react with each other, and a million other things- not all at once, but gradually.
And as you become more and more aware of what's going on, you begin to learn control- make that bit of glass do what YOU want it to! We usually start out with dots, then move on to lines and pulling the glass into different designs and patterns.

The glass dance continues back to freedom- now mixed with awareness of things you didn't notice last time, and tempered with control. A different kind of freedom results- a dance where the glass still performs the same way, but you move it differently for different results. and as you become more aware and learn more control. you may find yourself becoming more free with your glass. I often have dreams- or maybe they're visions- where there is glass moving in ways I don't know how to control. And it makes me want to just run over to the torch and give it a try! This is one of the ways that new ideas are born- by letting your mind run freely through things that may even be impossible.

For more about the Mettler dance method, go to the International Association for Creative Dance here: