Sunday, December 2, 2012

Patty Gray

Sometimes there is just a special person who appears in our lives and changes us.

It can be a mentor, a friend, a public figure (yes, there are some),  or someone we happen upon haphazardly and pause to note. They seem to almost alter our DNA.

Yesterday I drove the 80 miles down to Pacific Art Glass to see my art glass mentor Patty Gray and to deliver a new fused glass panel to be transformed into a vase by Ryan Staub. It's a busy time for me, in the midst of decorating the house for Christmas, anticipating a dinner gathering here for 14 on Monday night, my very special art quilt group.

And I knew the 160 mile round trip would be shared with all those Saturday holiday shoppers who inevitably clog the roads at this time of year. I was right.

I also knew I would not get to spend a lot of time with Patty, as she is teaching one of her advanced glass fusing classes, and her focus is always on her students, rightly so. I planned to arrive during the lunch hour, hoping I could squeeze in just a few minutes to say hello and again thank her for all she has done for me.

I got to do that. Seeing her again, and watching her with her current students, I reflected on her energy, her drive, her vast expertise. But there is something else that is hard to capture with words.

I guess it's easier to describe what she has done for me. There is a quiet way she moves about and shares her expansive knowledge, a way that not only achieves that goal, but along the way, instills confidence and assuages self-doubt.

We all want those qualities in our make-up, beyond the world of creating craft or art. We want to believe that we can do it, that we can get better, that what we are doing is worthwhile.

To be able to bring this out in others, in any venue, is a gift, one worth noting, a gift worth honoring. So while this is may be a saccharine post, it is indeed a heartfelt one.

As I look at my photos from previous classes with Patty, I am struck by how many pictures I have of her hands. I think you can see the intensity there...and the grace. Thank you, Patty Gray.

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