Kiln-cast Glass
Raku Ceramic

6.5"h x 4"w x 6"d

Artist Private Collection
Touchstone Right Touchstone Back Touchstone Left

Touchstone is a very significant part of my private collection. This piece is the result of a three week intensive program offered at the world renowned Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, WA. In summer of 2005, studying under international artists Judy Hill and Phillip Aikens, I faced the biggest emotional challenge of my lifetime. As is often the case with residential programs, it is customary to work non-stop, often from sun-up through to the next dawn, until a certain phase of a project has been completed. This program filled every moment of my time as we pushed to quickly create our ceramic pieces and then build kilns for the Raku firings. Shoulder to shoulder, we also pushed to master needed skills in mold making, to complete required glass compatibility tests and to maintain focus on our final projects. Add daily assignments to trying to get to meals on time and you end up with a head full of ideas but very little time to settle into the "creative process."

Touchstone, my final project, came to me while taking a few moments to myself just sitting high on a hill under a huge pine tree and gazing out at the breathtakingly beautiful Puget Sound waterways. I had just received disturbing news regarding a health issue and needed a moment to find my center - an altar of sorts to reconnect with my soul's spirit. Wrapped in the cloak of an uncertain future, I started to sketch. As I watched my fingers hold the pencil, I started to see a spiral mound appear; a mound of sorts that seemed to be able to absorb all my fears and anger and return those emotions back into the earth to give strength to my recovery process.

Now when I gaze at Touchstone, I can still remember feeling that huge pine swaying in the sea breeze, and the sweet smell of the fern groves at sunset. It's magic continues to ward off harsh life-changing challenges and to offer up rich opportunties to keep creating.