July 06, 2020
Our bodies (Vessels) are designed to be strong, but they also can become very fragile and injured.
They are beautifully built and are designed in so many fantastic shapes and colors.
Then life happens, and we suddenly experience how difficult it is to rebuild them.
I designed this vessel to heal following a friends spinal cord injury.
I hope the colors and design of this vessel will encourage us all to take time to celebrate and care for the wonderful vessels we live in.
They are magnificent and yet so fragile.
I used to be a spine surgeon. That is, I used to be a healer of spines. I used my mind and my body to heal the bodies of others, until my own body gave out. I guess it had enough. It had become so overwhelmed with the stress of curing other people of their injuries that I developed a spinal injury myself. I had a couple of back operations that gave me little relief. Acutely aware of the long, agonized journey ahead of me involving numerous drugs and possibly more surgeries, I chose to turn to art as my healer. Instead of putting my faith in the medical system that I had been a part of for so many years, I decided to start by healing my disconnected soul through the creation of art and I have never looked back.
The meditative process of making art mimics that found in nature. Today, technology bombards our senses with constant images and information encouraging us to buy and buy quickly. Our culture demands that we make decisions fast without thinking but taking time out to reflect offers us a peace of mind that we cannot get from the continually increasing pace of life attached to electronics.
Nature offers us a chance to take time out and reflect on the life we have. There is something mysterious in nature’s simplicity. Something we do not know. Plants and animals exist in harmony and we do not know all the reasons why, leaving us in utter amazement for the things we cannot explain. This is beauty, a beauty which an be found in art, also.
There exists a similar mystery to the creation of art. Taking time out to create art without really knowing how it will turn out can bring a similar peace of mind to the artist. You might even say, a sense of healing. Experiencing this meditation restores our purpose for being. Amidst all the busy-ness of life we can find time to create beauty, but the real beauty is not the product itself, but the process of taking the time to create it.
I work with glass, heating it at extreme temperature to fuse different elements into the glass. The process requires tremendous patience and attention to detail. During this process, I do not make quick decisions, but meticulously plan every detail and the irony is, it rarely goes as planned. That is the beauty in it all. The mystery behind it.
The spine, the backbone, gives us the ability to stand up. It is the frame that holds the contents of our bodies. If we lacked spines our organs would be all muddled up with no specific placement and if our spine breaks our bodies experience great pain and tragedy.
Like our spines, glass can break into a million pieces, but also like our bodies, when functioning properly, glass is extremely strong. A glass vessel can hold a tremendous amount of weight. They have been used to carry life granting, but heavy, water to replenish our thirsty bodies, but if dropped can shatter into a thousand pieces in a split second.
This strength and fragility can be seen in the human body, as well. The human body can withstand an enormous amount of abuse when we are young. We can eat all kinds of junk food, but our metabolisms burns it just as fast as we put it in. Later in life, it all catches up to us. The cumulative sum of our physical habits adds up and can cause us problems that went unforeseen in our youth.
Creating glass vessels is like creating a new body. Vessels hold the contents we deposit in them, just as our bodies do. We can put flowers in a vessel, or we can put rocks in it, just as we can put healthy fruits and vegetables in our bodies or cheeseburgers and fries. A glass vessel can only hold so many rocks before it cracks, and our bodies can hold only so many cheeseburgers before we have a heart attack.
Or we can nourish our vessels. When creating glass vessels, we can add elements to create greater beauty than that which already exists such as, different colors to enhance the viewers experience. We can nourish our bodies with healthy, organic food and even add vitamins to give our hair and skin a vibrant glow.
It is through the creation of new vessels that I have learned to heal my soul and subsequently, the vessel that has held it all my life: my body. Art has healed me both, physically and emotionally, and I will never regret my unexpected, new path.
January 16, 2020
such an amazing article thanks for sharing this, you’ll love to see my site sandblasting machine as well.
December 10, 2019
such an amazing article you’ll love to see my site sandblasting machine as well.
November 05, 2019
Thank you. So eloquently written. The fragility of the body often reminds me of the fragility and strength of glass.
You have made a good choise both for yourself and for us/me!
Beautiful art and reflectiones…
July 29, 2019
Truly beautiful, interesting and inspiring—-that applies to both your art and your story blog——Love Ed
Al, your artwork is so impressive and beautiful! I see you in every piece on display here. I’m so glad you are such a creative artist and wish you continued healing on your journey.
July 06, 2020
July 06, 2020
I am an artist who practiced spine surgery for many years. The serenity of nature inspires me, and I seek to express a healing presence and tranquility in my art. My work communicates a feeling of peace, harmony and a profound respect for nature and humanity. I use of color, and light to create a visceral response.
I also use my artistic voice to explore the social issues we face as humans and as a society. My works relate to the recognition and acceptance of the many wounds that have been present in our society for far too long. We all need to work together so that we all have equal access to the law, education and healthcare no matter what our race or color.
Defined by time and skill, my artistic practice demands intense patience and attention to detail. The magical pieces in glass and enamel, glow with fabulous color and depth, indicating a lengthy and intricate process, not evident by the casual viewer. When enameling, utilizing a metal substrate of gold, silver, or copper provides a foundation for the piece. Once fabricated, I apply enamel powders to the metal, then fire them at around 1300 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. The high temperatures allow the enamel to melt until it is smooth. After they cool, I finish the pieces using diamond wet saws and flat grinders in the cold working process.
Producing my glass vessels requires the use of glass sheets, as well as, glass powders therefore, the glass provides both, the support for the piece and the decorative color. Fusing these materials can take from 24 hours up to 5 days. Some pieces demand many different fusing/cold-working steps. The more colors or different types of glass used in the piece; the more steps involved in creating the final product. My work can be very complex depending on the different colors, textures and glass powders used. I try to make this extremely laborious processes appear seamless in the end.
My journey to the world of art came late in my life, in fact, I always believed that healing was my natural calling. When I was younger, I went to pharmacy school, then, to medical school where I learned to hone my healing abilities. This led to a twenty-five-year career as an orthopedic spine surgeon where I helped many people with broken and injured spines, stand up straight and regain function.
But, like the body with a bad back, life never follows a straight line. After a strenuous medical issue of my own, I found myself challenged to develop a new paradigm for life. I chose art as my new vehicle for my emotional and spiritual healing practice. Now my true passion, on my best days, it provides nirvana, peace and ecstasy. On bad days, a meditative internal mind therapy. Problems and roadblocks stimulate my creativity as I explore color, form, texture and light. I now have a new mechanism for healing through art. Not only have I healed my own body and soul, but hopefully, inspire the healing power in others through my art.