The Zen of Fusing

Here’s what I really like:  the feeling of “flow” when I’m working on glass. Making fused glass art involves many steps, starting with researching and drawing the pattern design, then cutting pieces out of the various glass colors, grinding rough edges off the pieces, cleaning glass pieces thoroughly, assembling the  finished product, adding frit, stringers and other details, and finally loading into the kiln. Once I start cutting out the pieces I find I enter a special “glass zone” where I lose track of time and am absorbed by what I am doing. I’ll think “Eighteen dragonfly wings, this will take forever!” and before I know it I’ll have them cut and ground and won’t really have noticed where the time has gone.  The concept of flow was defined by psychology professor Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as part of his theory of happiness. He has described flow as”being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.  Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.” Working in fused glass can definitely bring happiness, especially when you get on the “flow train”.