Day 10: The Barbara Dowling
This post is dedicated to Barbara Dowling. I will say right now that this one may not be eloquent or well written but please know that it is particularly dear to my heart and particularly difficult to write. I know I have mentioned Barbara Dowling in the past. She was my stained glass professor at the School of Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. She was far more than just a professor though. She was one charged glass of water who became my mentor in art, men, life, etc. She introduced me to the glass world, taught me to take creative risks, and the ground work to the business of the art world. But to a young woman coming into her own, she taught me that it was okay to be myself. Coming from a high school experience that sent me home crying every day coupled with teenage years that lacked a creative mother figure, she guided me while I figured out who I was. She helped me find the balance between my incredibly wild side and just as incredibly sensitive side. The one thing I cannot thank Barbara enough for was helping me reconnect and build a strong relationship with my mother.
I got word last week that Barbara passed away. I am still a part of the email thread that spread the word and while everyone is sending their condolences, I find myself completely unable to say anything on the thread, but yet, I can write here. I didn’t shed a tear when I first got the news, but I find as I type this note with every key stroke I fall more and more apart.
I realize that this is Day 10 of the 12 Days of Crafting and not the 10 run on sentences of sadness, but it’s Christmas time and we should be celebrating the ones we love, whether they are here or not.
When I got the news of Barbara’s passing, I pulled out pictures, notes from her lectures, and a few remaining stained glass projects I had packed away. One project I found was a box of glass bells. As many of you know, I play music. When I was in college, I was just really starting to perform and have shows. Barbara challenged me to make music with my visual art. I ended up making a collection of 50 glass bells. I hung them in a few trees in the park where there was lots of foot traffic and spent hours recording the sounds of the glass bells clinking together in the breeze, cracking against each other, crashing on the concrete, and the comments of passers by.
I have since lost the audio and photos of this project, but I have a few remaining bells. I have turned these bells into candle holders. I want to share these with the world and hope that they bring light to someone else’s life like Barbara brought light to mine.