I have always been crafty as far back as I can remember. As a little girl my parents would purchase craft kits for my younger sister and me for birthdays and Christmases. I can remember the pride of completing the craft be it wooden ornaments, tissue paper flowers, shrink dinks, plastic stained glass pieces, or more involved and elaborate items.
As an adult, the two occupations I chose were such that any sense of accomplishment could take months if not years. I turned to crafts as a means for immediate gratification and to allay my frustrations.
In 1997, my husband, Bruce, and I were fortunate enough to obtain our first Bernese Mountain Dog, a lovely wonderful tempered girl named Missy. In 2001, our Berner, Kenzie, made our home more than complete with an Airedale--Max, two Berners, and a pound puppy mutt named Mozart. Between Missy and Kenzie, my love affair with the Bernese Mountain Dog breed began and has continued to blossom over the past 16 years.
Unfortunately, in 2005 Bruce was diagnosed with late stage IV lung cancer. He fought a valiant battle against this disease but couldn’t beat it. In a six month period, I lost my mentor, my husband, my Missy, and my father.
To keep my sanity I adopted an Amish Puppy Mill Berner that was bought at auction at 9+ months old whose paws had never touched grass, had never played with a toy, and had never eaten out of a bowl. This boy was feral—if you looked at him it overloaded his senses and he shut down. I named him BARC’s No More Weeping Willow meaning no more tears and no more pain for the two of us. All my grief work went into Willow and when I wasn’t working directly with him I was scrapbooking or shadowboxing or making fleece blankets to keep me sane.
A series of health issues have caused me to become permanently disabled. One has had a direct impact on how I do my glass etching. I lost my left lung to cancer in January 2011, as such, I cannot use laser etching or sandblasting to etch the glassware because even wearing a mask the tiny particles of glass and sand can be inhaled. Therefore, my etched glass is exactly that—etched glass. Each and every piece I make is part of a relatively lengthy process wherein I handle the vinyl, the stencil that is created, the glass, and the etching materials multiple times. Unlike laser or sandblasting where there is one initial “setup” and then every piece of glass is cut and all the glassware looks exactly the same; my process creates slight modifications and differences, thus making each piece unique. The process is tedious and time consuming but the rewards are extremely gratifying. While I have primarily etched Bernese Mountain Dogs, I can and have, etched many other breeds.
In the past few years I have grown in my ability of what I can do in glass etching. Additionally, I have learned to work with the other types of vinyl to create clothing, wall clings, and permanent designs on acrylic tumblers, sippy cups and water bottles. I view every project as a challenge to improve upon what I have previously accomplished and am proud to look back at where I began and now look at what I am capable of creating.