It started as a small, niggling yet urgent, irritation in my dreams. Like an itch I couldn’t quite reach or an unremembered name. A germ of an idea was grinding in my brain like sand in an oyster. Grudgingly I awakened and lay there thinking…. could I return to sleep? If I do, will I be able to capture it again. What was going on tomorrow; and if I get up now, how tired will I be in the morning? Is this grain of sand worth going downstairs to my studio? Will it become a pearl or end up as a crumpled ball of energy thrown with the rest into the wastebasket of my mind?
But the voices of the colors are too strong and sleep will not return, and so I am at their mercy. In the dark I grab clothing trying not to wake my softly snoring husband. As I go down the stairs to the studio my steps lighten with excitement… the glass is waiting for the colors!
Jars of crushed glass frit line the shelves standing at attention in their rainbow hues. Like good friends, my favorites leap into my hands: Pumpkin and Tangerine Orange, Emerald and Spring Green, Gold Purple and Pimiento Red dance onto my canvas of white glass sparkling like tiny jewels. My hands move them into patterns, layering, shading, tinting… knowing how it’s supposed to be.
But wait, what if……I come out of my dream-like knowing and begin to doubt. The doubt allows the canvas to mock me with its stark emptiness, daring me to violate its pristine white. Yet the colors call, “Come and play!” And play is what I must do. I grab the joy and silence the doubts and jeering canvas. Triumphantly I cry, “Ha! Who’s in control now?”
My art professors voices ring in my ears. “Don’t get too careful too soon!” “Work the painting as a whole!” “Use the golden section in your composition!” “Let the painting speak to you.” On and on it goes and though it’s all good, I must not let the rules drown out the colors. So I let them play: Green joyfully bodyslams into red, blue encircles yellow and sweet shades of orange romp across the space with several shades of purple.
The professors again: “Don’t use colors straight out of the tube! Mix using hues opposite the color wheel!” My thoughts: “Will this sell? Will it match someone’s couch? Do I care? Does it matter?” It’s a delicate dance with intuitive creativity partnering with artistic training. I am the choreographer and the music is the color….expensive music, as it happens. I firmly push worries about the cost of the materials I’m using and the doubts about saleability out of my way and continue with the composition, putting in darks and adding highlights.
Finally it’s finished. Satisfied and exhausted I open my kiln and gently lay the piece inside. Like a mad scientist trying to bring life to inanimate tissue, I punch the complex schedule into the kiln’s computer in what I hope is just the right combination of heating and cooling. Latching the coffin-like kiln lid, I say a prayer to launch the bits of glass on their metamorphic journey. Twenty-four hours and up to 1420˚F will melt them into what I hope will be the beginning of a beautiful new series of Anne Nye art.
Smiling, I climb the stairs to see if I can grab a few hours of quick sleep. The dawn’s colors stream through the windows bidding me farewell……. until the next time.