Posted by: garispang | June 18, 2009

What Has Your Work Taught You?

What have you learned from your work? Perhaps more than you think. Here’s 10 things that glass blowing has taught me.

We all learn things about the work we do and ourselves as we do our jobs. Some knowledge comes right away and some arrives with experience. It is always good to step back and take stock of what insight we have gained. It is so easy to let everyday actions slip by and miss the gems of knowledge we have picked up.


1. HUMILITY – nothing will humble you more than having your piece fall off your pipe in front of other artists. You quickly realize, your just not all that. No matter how talented or famous you become, it’s glass, and sometimes it breaks.

2. PATIENCE – you cannot rush the process or cut corners. The glass knows and will make you pay for your transgressions. (See #1)

3. CONCENTRATION – as soon as you dip up glass on the end of the blow pipe, your whole world is located at the end of that 5 foot pipe. As soon as you loose your focus only bad things will follow. (See #1)

4. COMMUNICATION – glass blowing is a team activity. You always work with at least one other assistant often two or three. The better you communicate with them what it is you are trying to achieve, the better they will be able to assist you in reaching your goal. You must become able to rely on them for the correct actions when they are needed and they must be able to anticipate when those actions will be needed. At the end of the day I always thank my assistants for the great job they did that day. Always.

5. BE OPEN TO ADVICE – be thankful when someone points out a different and often better way to accomplish a move. Consider it a blessing when someone chooses to share their knowledge with you.

6. FLEXIBILITY – realize that there are always several paths to reach your desired goal.

7. RELAXATION – to be good at glass blowing you must remain relaxed even when things don’t go smooth. As soon as you tense up nothing you attempt to make will turn out. This also goes for your assistants. If you allow them to tense up after a mistake it will just continue the downward spiral. The whole team must remain loose and relaxed for the day to be productive.

8. ASK FOR THE ANSWER – when faced with a design problem, I just ask for the answer and then leave it alone. It is when I am doing something unrelated that the answer will come to me. It usually just pops right into my mind and it is always amazing and correct.

9. BE OPEN TO ALL POSSIBLILITIES – glass is virtually invisible in the furnace. When you dip it up on a pipe it is a shapeless blob struggling to drip off your pipe. At this point the possibilities are endless. When you apply your passion to it, is when it becomes art. There isn’t anything you can’t create with it if you focus.

10. FOLLOW YOUR PASSION – follow this rule, and your life will be exactly what you want it to be.


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