Nourish and Flourish: Flavors of the Season
James is trained in the classic Venetian blowing methods as well as hot sculpting solid material. Hot glass is magical to work with, and the color is mesmerizing. He loves to experience the “dance” over and over again every day. His favorite work is to create brightly colored organic shapes.
James and his wife Carol, who is the COE, Chief of Everything (and Esther, their dog) are a formidable positive force in their Escondido, California community. They attend city meetings that affect the downtown planning for growth and have been instrumental in the creation of a collaborative arts organization to leverage the marketing and business development of Escondido’s arts, museums, and historic culture to a broader audience. All of this positive energy and momentum came to a screeching stop in early 2020. Yes, another abrupt life-altering event closed their doors. Since then, they have been rallying to offer a new line of collectible wine and rocks glasses through an online subscription membership. See details on previous page.
In this new location, the studio was humming with activity. James was teaching more classes, working on commission pieces, exhibiting at art shows, being spotlighted in the press, and loving life. All was good with the world. He was interacting with people of all ages and skill sets, teaching and guiding them to discover the magic of glass and to find their creativity. “I would always ask my students what creativity is exactly and where do you find it in your body and how do you capture it and turn it into outcome,” says James. “The center of creativity is the human heart,” says Stone. “Naturally, working around a 2,500-degree furnace can supercharge your creativity with heat that blasts you with energy. To harness this inspiration, you must merge it with intention which produces outcome.”
When I asked him about the future, there was a long, quiet pause. “Wow, the future is a huge topic,” says James. “For many people, Covid-19 has been a devastating disease. All of the arts have been adversely impacted. We are in a time when we as artists need to evolve or perish. I think the greater question might be how will the arts and the makers recover from the effects of the pandemic, and what does recovery really look like? I had to reimagine my path and develop new products, studio strategies, and ways to communicate and connect with my audience and my very loyal patrons. The process has re-energized my creative spirit. I have a brain full of new ideas and creations fighting for my time and attention, poised to emerge and take form as new artwork.”
James emphasizes that he wants patrons to know that every one of them is important to him and to his journey as an artist, that they are truly valued as people. “I love to hear from our customers, whether by note or visit to the studio. I want to listen to what they have to say and for them to know how much I appreciate their support. I want them to know that every piece I make begins with the energy of love in my heart. I form that feeling into a picture in my brain, and then through the force of energy my love comes out through my hands as I create each piece for them. It all starts in the heart.”