Me and My Shiny Objects

While majoring in finance at a liberal arts college, I was required to take a Fine Arts course. Which to me felt like disaster waiting to happen. Honestly, stick figures stretch my artistic abilities. Ceramics seemed the best option, though I couldn’t imagine producing anything that resembled ‘Fine Art.’ With little choice and no idea what lie ahead, I pressed forward determined NOT to allow a failure in Art to ding my GPA.

As it turned out, I LOVED Ceramics. Loved molding the clay with my hands and using the potter’s wheel to guide hunks of sludge into lovely shapes. And I got to slather glaze onto gray clay, turning my projects into Shiny Objects! Even better, glazing was an imperfect science back then. The final result of each masterpiece was a surprise. Pulling them out of the kiln was like opening a gift.

At the end of the term, I headed home eager to share my rather mediocre–but respectable enough for an A–creations with my family. I rushed through the back door with my box of projects cradled in my arms. And stumbled into the kitchen, sending all of my hard work into the air. In a split second, my almost Fine Art was a mess of colored clay chunks, scattered across the kitchen floor.

It is true that I am a disaster with delicate items such as pottery, china and glass—and yet they have always fascinated me.

The Family Silver: I remember asking my mother if I could ‘pretty please’ polish the dull silver. Seeing her chance to avoid a task NOBODY enjoys, she quickly gathered a heaping tower of silver, the jar of goopy cleaner and plenty of rags for me. My mom was just helping me out, sort of like giving me Play Dough or a toy.

A delicate & beautiful Johnson Brothers china plate. Recently found at an antiques store. Currently unbroken...

The China Cabinet: We never used our Lenox China. NEVER. As a young child, I was forever dragging out teacups, plates, and saucers to run my fingers along the patterns and to enjoy their cool smoothness against my fingertips. I occasionally insisted on using several place settings for a meal, knowing that I would be hand washing them. Looking back, I cannot fathom that I never damaged any of it.

My Mother’s Engagement Ring: My mother used to smile indulgently as I slid her Shiny Sparkler onto my finger. When it wasn’t on her finger, she kept it in a little box on her dresser. I must have been about 4 years old when I took the ring outside to play. And LOST it! Though we never found the ring, she never got angry or made me feel badly. Thankfully, I have managed to hang onto its replacement.

My Grandfather’s (rather extensive) Carnival Glass Collection: Nobody spared it a glance. Except for me. I studied it, appreciating the rich colors, textures and intricate designs. After he passed away, I inherited several pieces—but only because nobody else wanted “that ugly crap.”  I still display his glass treasures in my home.

Lastly–The Glitter Obsession: My daughter was exasperated by my affinity for glitter. I felt the need to add a dash of sparkle to each and EVERY elementary school project she completed. I won’t lie. I sometimes unloaded entire bottles and tubes of glitter. “Just a touch of shimmer. A little something extra…” I remember saying. This went on for years until she finally put a stop to it. She still cannot stand glitter.

With my lifelong passion for Shiny Objects, carving out a career in glass, china and antique collectibles makes Perfect sense. I am cautiously optimistic as I continue to move forward each day—and backwards on the rough days. Unsure of my destination, but knowing in my gut that it feels right. Just like the clay in my hands many years ago and the feeling that flares up with the discovery of each new ‘Shiny’ treasure.