Monday, July 5, 2010


Have you ever passes someone in the street and wonder what they 'do'. Paul Theroux spoke of his compulsion for giving strangers a 'life' beyond that fleeting moment when he crossed their path. To his knowledge, of all the thousands of people he met in his journeys he only once got it right.
Some years back I had the good fortune to meet, in person, such a 'stranger'. We had crossed paths many times in our walks along the foreshore at Nightcliff and only ever made brief eye contact as we pushed our bodies to a thinner place. I had received a request by phone to design a box for a piece of kiln-fired glass. 'Yes' was my prompt reply, knowing full-well I would be Googling before the night was over to find out 'what' and 'how'. 'I'll bring it around tonight'. There was an accent among the eloquent voice that refused to be identified.
'Oh, it's you', we stated in unison as we faced one another. And there began a collaborative and personal friendship with Andrea I will take to my grave.
Over the next 5 years we designed over one hundred boxes utilising kiln-fired glass and Australian timbers. The boxes have been put aside and yet we still find ourselves working together.

I now have the pleasure of photographing her beautiful and very useable glass art. Oh, and one other thing. This project is as a result of Andrea's bright ideas. Thanks Andrea. Yeah, right!
Andrea fills every crook and cranny of her life with her craft. Surprisingly, her workspace occupies a small corner under her house (kiln excluded). There is nothing superfluous about the space she uses. It is filled with the tools of the trade and no more.
Andrea also lives her art. She wears it, eats from it, hangs it on the wall and leaves it seemingly discarded in the most unlikely places. It colours her life as the blue sky colours the day. It shines from her as the Moon on a darkened sea. This is not the person I gave a life to all those years back when we passed as strangers. The reality is far more gracious than any story I could dream up. This is a person who gives life to all those who secure her glass as their own.

Andrea is somewhat of a ferocious worker. She seems to exhibit at a moments notice and she is a regular at the craft shows. At this very moment she is trapsing the world on a Churchill Fellowship seeking new ways to work with glass. Let me assure those who come across her as strangers: take heed; Andrea can teach you many things. So, pay attention.

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