Glass art, for me, is my self care. I think it’s the only thing that will keep “Big D” at arms length. I know it sounds very strange to use very sharp glass as a means of self care, but it works for me…most days. There’s just something about stepping inside of my studio and seeing that wall of glass, seeing the rainbow of colors, envisioning what those sheets of glass will become, and bringing them to life. It gives a great sense of calm. Now, I will admit there are those times that I curse out loud like drunken pirate because the glass isn’t cooperating. It decides to break in an entirely different direction than I want it to. If I find myself too frustrated, I turn off the power to the studio, walk out, and close the door behind me. I have to respect the glass.
I have been creating glass art for nearly 15 years now. I used to just make it for myself and my family and friends. I then started making pieces for charity. That brought me so much joy. The art that helped me could now help others. About two years ago, I started Zarit Glassworks (www.zaritglassworks.com). That was both rewarding and frightening all at the same time. I made the decision to turn my coping mechanism into a business so it could self supporting and so I could donate proceeds to local charities. My goal was not to make to a ton of money, but to help.
You may wonder why I decided to donate rather keep all my profits, maybe not. I’m going to tell you anyway. I’ve always believed that I had Bipolar Disorder for a reason. For me, that reason is to help others find a way to work with their mental illness; to find the positive in it. There is always a positive to be found within all the negative. I will never be rich from art and I’m okay with that. I can help organizations that don’t get much, if any, government funding and that’s all I need. It’s my hope to inspire others to something similar. You don’t have to donate money through your art to help others. You just have to be kind. You just have to listen. You just have to be present. You just have to be mindful.
So, yes, glass art is an odd choice for coping with the day to day battles of Bipolar Disorder and Anxiety Disorder. Sparkle is my favorite and in my world it is a valid color. 🙂 When I complete a stained glass piece, I rush outside and hold it up to the sunlight to watch the way the rays of light dance through it. I’m always amazed at the way the colors change. It’s like the sunlight and the glass are doing the Tango. It’s beautiful to watch…mesmerizing really.
What do you do to keep “Big D” away? What’s your best coping skill? I would love to hear from you.