I recently took a leap of faith and submitted a proposal for an art installation using a media I know nothing about. I called the piece “Vision Quest” and the plan was to create a ladder with stained glass between the rungs. Well lo and behold, the piece got accepted into the Journeys exhibition at The Cheese Factory in Pt Reyes!
Here is my original idea sketched on a post it note.
I never worked with stained glass before. I started my journey by googling how to drill holes in glass and then how to frame glass. Next I discussed my piece with other artists and got a variety of ideas like build a new ladder for the piece (which I wasn’t thrilled about since I’m about using found objects if I can) to collaborating with stained glass artists. I then called Bay Area stained glass studios and stores.
One place recommended Cradle of the Sun in Noe Valley. I remember visiting this store years ago. So I went over and met Dan Gamaldi. Dan is a true master and fortunately for me, took an interest in my project. I came back with my ladder and templates for the glass, along with a design plan. Dan spent almost 3 hours with me, selecting glass, cutting it, and testing the placement of it within the ladder. We also discussed different ways of installing the glass. While this was going on Dan’s wife opened a double layer box of macadamian nut chocolates and we proceeded to eat the whole box! Finding Dan was a true gift. Not only was he knowledgeable, patient, and kind, but he was truly respectful of what I was trying to create and my artistic integrity. I highly recommend working with him at Cradle of the Sun if you have any stained glass needs. Here is a video I found online of Dan explaining how the store got its interesting name.
I guess my lesson from all of this is “do not let what you don’t know hold you back”. I actually got this advice from an 80-year-old artist who worked in many different media. Let your dreams become a reality. You can find a way and there is always some one out there who knows more than you and is willing to help. My next task is installing the glass in the ladder. I’ll let you know how that goes!