I have been interested in fusing glass for several years and had acquired everything necessary to try it -- except the courage to face my ultimate enemy -- fear of failure.
The logical part of my mind understands that it is normal to start at zero and gradually amass the skills required for any undertaking, but the more primitive part of my brain wants to be perfect from the beginning -- failure is not an option.
The day before Thanksgiving, I finally gathered up enough courage to fuse together a few bits of glass. As often happens, things went smoothly and the pieces looked nicer than I expected.
Thus lulled into a greater sense of confidence, I fused a batch of glass every other day or so, each time, without incident. The results were satisfactory, but not outstanding.
Then I tried to fuse on Saturday.
The glass and I had a meltdown.
For some reason -- I think it was because it was a windy day -- the kiln took longer than usual to reach the first benchmark temperature.
What I now know is that the glass was thoroughly warm at that point and I should have very carefully monitored the rest of the process. Instead, I kept an eye on the pyrometer at the intervals I had found worked before.
The result? The glass -- and I -- had a total meltdown.
There's something very disheartening about opening up a kiln and seeing puddles of glass on the shelf. It's even more discouraging to see molten glass hanging from the side of the kiln lid. If you've ever seen cheese dangling from a slice of pizza, you get the idea.
After the glass and I cooled off, I discovered the results weren't as catastrophic as I thought. The kiln is still usable and I have since fused glass without incident.
So, what did I learn from this?
In most cases, it's ok to make mistakes. Don't be surprised when you do, and keep track of what you've done so you can avoid making the same mistake over again. It was easier to figure out what happened because I had started a firing log.
Don't ignore your instincts. I had a feeling that I should check the kiln sooner, but didn't. Next time, I will be more aware of all aspects of my endeavors. The past can serve as a guide, but each situation is unique and must be treated as such.
Accept and appreciate the support of your family and friends. When you are no longer rational or able to objectively look at a situation, their input is invaluable.
Don't be afraid to fail. If I succeed at everything, I have only verfied what I can do. When the outcome is less than stellar, I have the opportunity to find a way to make it better and to increase my knowledge.
I can see life as a series of adventures and seek new experiences, recognizing that I will stumble on occasion, or I can seek out the familiar and continue doing what I know without any risk of failure -- or growth.
I choose adventure!