Meet Kathy Bradford . . .
What goes around, comes around, or so they say. We all do the best we can. We are all tourists on the planet any way.
I'm a product of the '60s, born in '45, and totally emersed in the straightforward "tell it like it is" syndrome. I come from a place where a handshake is all you need, and a promise is a promise. Free advice? Sure. It would never cross my mind to charge for such a thing.
Colorado mountain people are a group not unlike many folks throughout the land, especially mountain folks. We always bring our children to parties. Wouldn't think of it any other way. But it's not all "laid'back," "mellow out" city here. There is work -- a lot of work. If I don't have anything to do, just wait five minutes, and I'll think of something. Somehow I've inherited a strong work ethic from the past. My elders were mostly working farmers; the women always making something with their hands; the men always breaking their backs to scratch out a living. Some things never change.
One thing was apparent early on, however. The creative spirit my family somehow tried to deny but couldn't really escape, landed in my lap. Fom the very beginings of my memory, I was building, painting, drawing, coloring, planting, and creating something. My dear mother had me in extra-curricular art classes before I was in kindergarten. She drove me several miles almost every day to high school an hour early so that I could work in the art room on something - who can remember what?
Then there was the day my dad tried to bring home several 4' x 8' sheets of Celotex on top of his new '54 Chevy- But the wind caught it and sent it exploding all over the highway. I never saw a person turn so red with anger. He picked up all the pieces and gave them to me to paint on. Somehow I came up with a bunch of oil paints and painted for two summers out on the patio with that stuff. He loved everything I did as I was into painting green rolling hills with patches of trees and sunsets.
Where does all this stuff come from? Beats me.
I was always a loner. Never a social butterfly in those days, I continued to spend all of my time creating something on my own. I was (and still am) a hopeless tomboy. Boys were a lot less complicated than girls and more fun. I became a pretty good short stop, even playing in an adult league later. But where is all this dialogue going? Well, I was asked to describe myself and how I got into the glass scene. That's an even longer story.
I ended up with a degree in Fine Arts and a teaching certificate which took forever because I had to transfer in my junior year (never do that!) The result however, in retrospect, was that I received a lot of education from two vastly different universities whose philosophies were entirely different. My experiences ran the gamut, delving into all types of media and all imagery.
Drawing was always a strong suit; ceramics, printrmaking, you name it - I was probably there, and I ate up every minute of it.
Now I Iook back at projects from those days, and it's funny. I used to build a lot of sculptures with glass just for the pleasure of it.
I really think an artist doesn't always have a handle on what he's doing. He just becomes some sort of channel through which some other energy creates. And I have always considered myself an artist and that is the bottom line. I'm not a business person; I'm not a socialite; I'm not an entrepreneur. I am a teacher, however, since sharing information is something I really enjoy doing on a limited basis. There is nothing quite so satisfying as seeing those light bulbs going on in someone's eyes.
So why glass? .... To me, glass is the most complex of all media I have worked with. I'm not one to be linked into two dimensions. A two-year stint in my own darkroom showed me that. Glass is a 24-hour media; even a flat piece has that all-important third dimension - light. Glass is multi-dimensional, really. That is one of the properties that has kept me coming back for more.
Sandblasting? Well, I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but sandblasting makea up only a third of the work I do. I do roughly a third stained glass, some very traditional Tiffany-like projects which I will always love doing, and some untraditional off-the-wall stuff as well. The last third of my work has been sculptural, even before I owned any kilns.
I do not want to diminish the importance of sandblasting to me, however, as it is one of the best tools a glass, artist can have. Paul Marioni told me that the day he showed me how to sandblast -- and he was right.
Black and white line design, rendering, coloration all make up-the bag of tricks a glass artist can pull from. I've developed a lot of technique in sandblasting only because I could see almost instantly how this tool could be used in combination with glass. That was not just a light bulb flashing in my eyes - that was training from all my life experiences.
So what's next? Oh, who knows? My love affair with glass is a longstanding relationship. My fascintion with what else it can do or I can do with it will never recede.
|Russian Tea Room
Into the New
Faces of the Forest
Lobos de la Luna
Music of the Spheres
Meet Kathy Bradford
Copyright 1996, Kathy Bradford