Friday, 28 May 2010

The lure of the new

I've just been leaning on the side of the kitchen waiting for the jasmine tea to brew, and contemplating life and glass. I've ordered a number of essential items today - nothing fancy, just tube cutters and memory card readers. While thinking how the post tomorrow would be more interesting than just bills and junk mail, I thought how much I look forward to new things arriving. This led me on to thinking how much we glass people look forward to new glass, and then to the creative issues surrounding new products.
I read a forum post recently that suggested getting to know each borosilicate glass colour for at least a few weeks before moving on to another, so that you absorbed all its possibilities. I am nowhere near that disciplined, but nonetheless have bought very few new colours at all this year. I haven't even bought many tools, instead trying to concentrate on learning more about the glass itself and the possibilities it holds.
Soft glass varies in viscosity and reacts differently with different colour types and flame chemistries. This effect is magnified several times over with boro. Glass can be pulled, pushed and pinched into so many shapes and manipulated to give stunning effects. A pair of pliers can produce an extraordinary work of art, just by pulling and pushing, pinching and twisting. Why do we constantly lust after new things, when we can make so much with what we already have to hand?
I wonder if a constant desire for new tools and new colours can be a substitute for new ideas. If we stop buying new things and instead focus on what we already have, or even cut down on what is available to us, do we push ourselves into finding new ways to use existing colours and shapes? Would having less make us learn to do more with what we do have?

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