Letter from the Editor

Dear Readers, BronwenLetterPhotoweb

What draws us to the flame like a moth to a lamp? Recently I asked this question on Facebook and Instagram. It seems as though approximately 30 percent of the people responded, “Because,” another 20 percent, “Love of Fire,” and 50 percent, “Have To.” What makes these groups different? Hard to say with a small sample test size, but let’s take a closer look at the three categories.

• Have Tos. This group had stories such as: “Helped me focus when my mom died,” or “Keeps me calm and stops my mind from thinking of the past” or even, “When I am not at the torch, all I think about is working at the torch.” This group feels a very strong pull to the process and act of creating. The end product isn’t as important as the process.

• Because. In this group, people either found glass as a hobby and turned it into a business, or they were looking for a fun way to make a living. They are all about practice and getting your work to be perfect—spending hours and hours on the torch to create top quality pieces and have fun doing it. This group is more about the product than the process.

Love of Fire. This group finds melting glass in a flame at the torch magical and loves anything to do with the torch fire. These people love to demonstrate flameworking and introduce new people to the love of fire and glass.

While I was able to put all of the comments in my quick survey into three groups, we are people after all, and people are much more complicated. I am finding that all flameworkers have anywhere from some to a lot of each group inside of themselves. Take me, for example. I first fell in love with hot glass, that Love of Fire, watching a man at Disneyland when I was just 6 years old. He was making a ship using the old-school knitwork technique. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the flickering flame and the softened glass moving in a beautiful sweeping motion—back and forth, back and forth—as it became a delicate large sailboat right before my eyes.

In the 1990s I was working with metal as my medium of choice. I chose to use the torch as my paint brush, melting metal and soldering pieces together and was looking for a new material to set into my silver pieces. I was introduced again to glass, and oh!—the color, the transparency, the sparkle. Soon, my Because became glass, and I am making a living at it.

All through my continual growth as a flameworker I have had a need, a voice that keeps calling me to the torch no matter what I am doing or where I am. My Have To and my creative voice became clear with glass. That voice is always loud, and the only way I can make it happy is to turn on the torch and watch the flame as it melts the glass and becomes something beautiful. I love the process and the learning that happens every single day.

May each of us find our own path with torches lit and the glow of the melting glass leading the way!

Bronwen Heilman,

Contributing Editor



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