August the 1st. Arrived in Germany. The culmination of months of work and I was there to help set up my first solo show at the Galerie am Museum, Frauenau.
Bild-werk glass academy was in full swing with students and tutors from all over the world descending on this small town in Bavaria to learn, exchange ideas and experience the unique atmosphere. If you haven't been, I urge you to go if you can. I have taught there myself a couple of times so it was beginning to feel familiar, like a second glass home.
It was during my first teaching week last september that Sissi Zizlsperger, the manager of the Galerie an Museum invited me to have a solo show there. I almost bit off her hand!
I spent most of this year in the UK in my studio, didn't see much of my husband in the UAE or anybody much at all. Head down and immersed in glass. Veering wildly from crippling self doubt, to euphoria when things went OK, then back to sleepless nights... repeat until exhausted. Eventually though, I just had to crack on.
Logistics always baffle me, and the thought of shipping all this work to Germany was worrying me. I'm a pretty good packer (no bubble wrap or polystyrene chips for me, oh no!) but things can break or get lost in transit so I was very grateful to have an offer from friends to hand deliver the whole lot. Utterly Brilliant. Dear Jacqueline and Mark Cooley I am so grateful. Jaqueline is a professional glass artist and Mark has in the past been a professional driver so they had to be the dream team!
Engraving on clear glass has some very specific requirements that don't apply to colour or cameo work, so when Sissi said I could display the work any way I wanted, I didn't hesitate. The room had already been painted black some years ago for the 2007 exhibition "1000 glass miles - from Stourbridge to Frauenau" but we went a step further and blacked out all the windows as well. Quite dramatic. But there is was, the atmosphere instantly became still. When the glass was spotlit, the focus was entirely on the engraving. It was just as I'd hoped it would look when I was planning it all in the barnio, probably better. All thanks to Sissi and Pavel who brought their perfectionism, attention to detail and patience.
We were all chilled, even when a heavy glass cabinet door fell off its hinges and landed inches from all my work waiting on the floor. No damage done and only 3 heart attacks.
All done! A very special afternoon spent with Erwin Eisch and a private walk through of the exhibition.
I think it was at this point I went up a hill. Always my instinctive reaction when I need to get some perspective and calm down a bit. A gentle slope up with a nice bar at the top for a cold beer.
Finally. Opening night. Lovely introductory speeches from Eberhard Eisch, Alison Kinnaird and dear brave wounded Sissi Zizlsperger, and I even had a go as well, briefly. I appear to be holding hands with myself (well what do you do with them?) but no nerves at all even though I am painfully shy.
Bild-werk turned out in force and we all went off to the BBQ afterwards and sat round the fire with a beer. Top night!
You can see all the work here