losing ones marbles

i am surrounded by glass.

there are windows on three of the four walls in the room in which i sit.

my computer, cell phone, tablet. the hand-blown vase and bowl in the corner, the glass that covers the mantle clock we were gifted as a wedding present. the window on the woodstove, the printer/scanner, the paper weight. the kombucha brewing in the glass vessel in the corner. the eyeglasses on my face. the water glass i'm drinking from. even - perhaps especially - a big glass urn filled with glass marbles.

i am surrounded by glass.

we've arrived at the fourth blog about glass. we've looked at its chemical make up. we've followed a few of its milestones through history. and peeked at lampworked glass as a craft.

as i said, sitting here, i am surrounded by glass. but the glass i love the most, are my marbles.

different styles glass marble
so many different sizes and styles of glass marbles - anything goes and each one is beautiful!

i'm not a serious collector, but a collection is what i have. i guess it started years ago stumbling across, and buying an assorted bag of marbles.

since then, the marbles have just accumulated.

i do have a few beautiful handmade ones, but mostly people give me the marbles they find laying around their house.

i like to hope some are from my own childhood.

handmade blown glass marbles
some of my collection of handmade, blown glass marbles.

there was a narrow alley between the school's gymnasium wall and the outer fence. it was out of the way and unpaved. at recess, you could find us there. playing marbles.

i have a lot of cats eyes in my collection. most of them actually. i've never been much of a gambler, so i never lost big in the game of marbles. but i never won big either.

honestly. i don't remember the rules. i don't know if someone taught us or if we made it up. will future generations play? who will teach them?

maybe the game of marbles is actually just any game that involves marbles? as unstructured as the marble itself?

i suppose making marbles is a natural progression in lampworking. i can't help myself - i seem to always make a few a month. aside from being round, making a marble has no rules that i know of. a marble has always felt like a great place to experiment with colour and technique. 

for me, a marble is a page of a glass sketchbook rolled in a neat little ball. maybe this is why we can find marbles throughout history, without really knowing anything about their origins.

wild and wise handmade glass marbles
a selection of unique handmade marbles off of my torch. each like a little sketch in colour and form.

so listing things i love about glass doesn't seem to be too difficult, but i stumble a bit because i believe that people have an inherent connection with nature and the natural. and glass is man-made. 

man-made, but like metal and stone, there is an elemental appeal to glass that is so intrinsic that even popular stories and movies rely on the mystery and intrigue of glass.

in the epic fantasy world of Game of Thrones, Dragonglass is one of two known substances that can kill a White Walker.

it sounds like a wonderful fantasy but glass does occur naturally.

obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic (or maybe dragon fire?) glass once used by tribes to make spear and arrow heads. Another naturally occurring glass is  called tektites (also known as lybian or darwin glass) which is formed by the heat of a meteor impact on the earth fusing sand and other nearby minerals.

obsidian blade mesoamerica
Pre-16th century Mesoamerican Obsidian Blade, photo: The Met Museum

so, if meteors can form glass, why not lightning?

if you've seen the movie Sweet Home Alabama and are anything like me, you've wondered if you'll ever be lucky enough to stumble across a glass sculpture made from lightning striking the beach.

imagine stumbling across a piece of naturally occurring glass?

it can happen, although the resulting glass is rare and fragile. this Scientific American article has some pics and explains what actually happens (if the stars align) when lightning hits sand in just the right place, in just the right way.

so it seems unlikely that i will stumble across a piece of naturally occurring glass but all glass is made up of, and impervious to, the natural elements. glass gains its strength from the earth. fragile, yet strong.

i set out on this blog journey wondering why glass? why does it hold our attention? in a world of plastics, why do we continue to surround ourselves with glass? why do so many of our technological advancements still involve glass?

i think that everything from the properties of glass to its elemental appeal is what keeps glass and its production at the forefront. with an answer that is so far from being straight forward. i've decided that rather than losing my marbles over it, i think i will just be content being inspired by glass.

i believe that a creative life is an amplified life and so maybe by taking the time to look a little more consciously at the materials around us, we can stay curious. discovering and exploring different mediums to spark creativity indefinitely.

glass marble collection


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