American Made

Art and Design, glassblowing

It Takes A Village


2 Comments

Ornaments@Matrix GalleryI am in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to raise resources to make repairs and get my studio operational so that I can make and launch a new product, which is a fusion of art glass with lighting.  This is a grassroots effort with national reach.  The Gaia Lamp which this project funds will get works into the hands of galleries of fine craft all across the United States.  The campaign is a fixed campaign, which in crowdfunding lingo means that this is an “all or nothing” effort.  I have a goal of $5,600.00 for this project.  If I fall short, donations, which are being held by the campaign platform indiegogo.com, will be returned. That means I am under the gun and on the clock.

Getting the word out is huge for campaigns like this.  I have tried to impress my family and friends with the thought that I am less concerned with donation and much more with their being willing to share updates of the campaign to friends.  When I have three friends that share my news on Facebook, for instance, the views of my posts will double and triple.  Imagine if I could get twenty people doing this on a regular basis!  This is something I have termed “Virality” and is what makes small things become big things.  And not a penny is spent; it is leveraging the power of the internet.  So to do that, let’s talk about what is so cool about all of this….

I am a maker of fine craft in the American Studio Glass Movement. This is one of the newest establish craft movements in the U.S. which began in 1965 when Harvey Littelton taught the first graduate program in glassblowing.  My teacher was one of Harvey’s students.  I was lucky to learn with Bill in the sunset of his career teaching at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale.  This movement has brought new ideas, new forms, and new energy into the craft movement.  It continues to grow, too!  This is really something for a medium that is sooo ancient!  I am also part of the American Craft Movement, something built on small studios that are keeping the old traditions alive in a world soaked in machine made objects.  Cheap and useful, these objects lack the human touch, the sense of design and delight.  Have you ever felt what a blown tumbler feels like in your hand? Okay, you have never felt one of MY tumblers.  I make them ergonomic and intimate to the touch.  Everyone notices the difference.  Customers speak of my tumblers always sitting dirty in their sink; they are the go-to object.  It is easy to just say that American Craft is overpriced stuff, and it entirely misses the mark.  We have been dumbed down by cheap goods.

Lana & Parker 12:20014During my campaign I have partnered with a local gallery to help spread the word.  After a reporter had been to my studio last year to blow glass, she caught wind of the campaign and spread the word to one of the reporters where she works and I got a call about doing an interview for the campaign.  That interview happened yesterday and aired on the late news.  Being able to get this kind of coverage is big and has the potential to push the campaign forward.  Every eye, every voice, every heart who wishes to extend the reach is what is needed.

 

 

Right now the campaign is at 53%. THIS is very good!  I am very pleased with the progress so far.  Surprised, actually.  But this is also the point where many campaigns lag or slow.  We are also coming up against Christmas, too, which is probably going to be like a week-long dead spot.  And I anticipated this, which is why the campaign is going until January 7th.

The interview went pretty well, all in all.  I sought to emphasize the grass roots effort, howBrie & Lana 2 this campaign will happen by every person willing to share a status or reblog a post.  Perhaps in a bid to grab attention and raise awareness, the threat of a Grinch was added into the mix. Times have been hard this year, no doubt, but its not something that brightens hearts.  What does, is my willingness to be as resourceful as I can be and continue to move forward after difficulty.  Triumph of the human spirit.

So here I am and I am reaching out to let you know that this very cool thing is happening.  You can be a part of it.  If you want to share, that would be great!  If you want to write, I am all over it. If you want to give, I would point you toward the campaign site to decide if you would like a perk. There are lots of them!

Glass GuideI have an E-book I call “The Guide” which is a compilation of all of the tips and hints I have given my customers over the years about how to clean and care for glass. This includes things many people don’t know, like how glass cleaners aren’t even used by many glass workers.  Wanna know that secret mix?  Or how about a way to clean glass that uses NO cleaning compounds at all and is highly effective?  The Guide also shows you how best to light your artglass for a variety of situations.  I show how you can decide and size a room for your glass without having to plunk down the money for a contractor.  I show you ways that you can do this in an exact way, simply and with a minimum of expense.  I include historical facts about glass and I also go into the chemistry of glass in plain language in order to help you to better understand why blown glass IS different from other commercially made glass.  Includes diagrams and photos.  27 pages.  Available for a $2.00 donation.

There are many other perks that include glassblowing.  I had someone today asking if they could come blow glass for a day class.  I suggested we settle on a price for it and that he consider paying for it by donating to the campaign, explaining his  perk would be a class that he and three others would set up.  If the campaign made it, great.  We would look forward to a class sometime in the next two months.  If not, he would not be out anything.  In fact, giving to the campaign would move me ever closer to my goal.  This is how a crowdfund is a win-win.  It is the kind of thing that doesn’t just give for one person.  It can give a multitude of times.  I would urge anyone thinking about a day in the studio blowing as much glass as humanely possible and learning more stuff than you could ever believe, to contact me before donating so we can work out the details.  If you are out of state, I can also arrange to have you picked up from our local airport in Roanoke.  The possibilities are endless.  You can quite literally make your own perk; it is worth it to me, but let’s talk to make sure we are all on the same page.

So this is why the recent interview was a big deal in my area.  The local news did it, and I

Brie Jackson in Matrix Gallery taking an obvious selfie.
Brie Jackson in Matrix Gallery taking an obvious selfie.

am incredibly blessed that they did!  Newspapers have been contacted, press releases have been sent out.  For now I am relying on the power of the press and media to help me. So far, though, half of the effort has come directly through the internet and by sharing emails and links with friends and even family.

So if you would like to see the interview you can go HERE.  To go to the campaign itself you can go HERE. You can use indiegogo’s share tools to share the campaign.  You will discover and learn and find out if this is something that this is something you want to get behind.  It could be something that you could crow about; you got to be a part of it!

And whatever you DO decide to do, my thanks in advance!

 

~Regards,

 

Parker

Art and Design, glassblowing

The Gaia Lamp – Calling All Believers!


3 Comments
©Parker Stafford
©Parker Stafford

A few weeks ago I wrote a post detailing a project I was doing for a customer.  I was taking a vase and drilling it to allow for a light kit to be placed within.  It was the culmination of a dream I have had for my work that is years in the making.  The pics were shot from my phone camera, good enough for the freshness of the moment as I went along.  But what began so simply has grown legs and sprouted beams of light!  This job has become the genesis of something much larger and now I am crowd funding the production costs for this project to bring this much needed piece of beauty to the market place!

The effort has behind it a wonderful piece of artglass that uses a proprietary process that makes the glass look dimensional, like…well…earth….except this all happens within a layer of glass that is less than 1/16 of an inch thick.  This line of work was first made in 2003-4, so in a sense it is a seasoned performer for me in my glass studio business.  What’s new is how the glass looks when it lit.

First, the piece shoots a diffuse shaft of light up onto the ceiling.  The color of that light is white while the rest of the light radiates through the body of the lamp, turning the light also into a room centerpiece.  If you like the feeling of a warm fire at night, this light is just for you!  The feelings that have been used to describe this light is “calming,” “centering,” “warm,” and “great for meditation rooms!”  It is both artglass and light feature all in one.

Lamp 1

To read up on the beginning process you can read the post titled “Getting Lit” HERE.

The large lamp (shown) uses a 60 watt fluorescent bulb, is U.S. electrical code compliant, and is switched on and off from a handy switch on the cord. The cord is 9 feet in length.  Every piece is also signed and dated by the artist.  The design also makes changing the bulb a snap.  I am currently in the process of garnering support from bloggers, friends, and lovers of all things light and glass to help spread the word.  Raising money in the way that I am means a community.  Ready to change your concept of what community is all about?  Is community local?  Is an idea local?  How do we make an idea one whose time has come?  THAT is where you come in, dear reader!

In the days that follow check back here to this post to find new links to the campaign, more pictures, videos, as well as to find out what is in it for you (like glassblowing opportunities, custom made work, a special limited edition Christmas ornament or sun catcher!), there will be a bunch of juicy premiums I will be giving out for those who donate and who want to take this effort to the next level!

The first link is to the preview page for the campaign.  As of this writing, it is mostly text, but that will change as videos and pictures are added.  See the campaign on Indiegogo HERE.  My hope is to spread the word about this project and product and if you are a blogger with an interest in making American Made a priority, or if you love all things artisan or glass, or cool design, this is just the arena for you!  Fire up the engines!  Calling all believers!

You can also get updates via facebook by “liking” the business page for this campaign HERE!

©Parker Stafford
©Parker Stafford

This is a copy of the campaign poster in its current state….

Glass Lamp Small