Our bead of the week is quite special to us because it comes with an interesting story. Shown is a hand-blown glass pendant, much like those you would see in a gallery of glass art or a glassworking studio. This most delightful, deep blue specimen comes from a reclusive artisan in Crestone, Colorado, where we decided to take a side trip on a journey from Breckenridge (CO) back to Corrales, New Mexico where we live. My husband said he had hoped to visit the place for years, and for the first time ever, both of us had the luxury of extra time, so we turned off the main highway to take the trek on the very long, straight road that heads for the mountains, and ends in this very isolated town.
Crestone, CO. is quite fascinating, it turns out. A sleepy constellation of retirees, starving artists, hippies, and a smattering of delightful children appear to live there in harmony together. True, the folks who seem to have some money live on one side of town, while the others are huddled in whatever makeshift shelters are available on the other end of town. So the usual societal separation of people at disparate income levels was apparent, and it didn't look like Nirvana or anything. The day we were there, we encountered a somewhat yuppie-ish/retiree looking crowd at an upscale café, and only moments later, found ourselves at a stretch of rickety card tables with an eclectic assortment of rocks, gemstones, organically grown teas, artisans and struggling farmers, and those delightful children I mentioned.
We were on a particularly low budget on this occasion, so I was very particular about which tables I lingered at. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the one I stopped at for the longest. A relatively young man (30-ish), somewhat emaciated and intense in manner, was gently offering his basket of glass pendants. He said they had been made years ago, and he had only recently decided it might be time to come out of a time of a self-appointed and extreme withdrawal, and sell some of them. As we talked, we noticed he had a fascination with the metaphysical, and also with the specific colors of the glass in the pendant and how they had been formed. He observed about us that we had a ‘good energy’ – referring to the sort of youngish attitude my husband and I tend to demonstrate – and perhaps to the fact that I am so much shorter than he is, and sometimes this surprises and delights people. (I’m 5/ 1”, he’s 6’7”; I'm 61 years old and he's 68). He seemed very happy to have us be the owners of three of his favorite pieces (the medium-sized one is pictured here, and now it as well as the other two are available at our Etsy shop). I guess this was so memorable because he seemed a gentle soul – serious about his craft, perhaps quite a bit outside of the social norm – and perhaps having lived in poverty for a significant time. I still wish I had had more money than what he was asking for each piece, as I felt they were worth it, and he clearly needed it. But as it turned out, I had just enough for his original asking price. And oddly enough, after I had agreed to buy, he actually started offering them for a dollar or two less – and I told him no, I would pay the higher price. Sometimes you run across artists who have a sort of incredible aura and special dignity – and he was certainly one.
I am disappointed in myself that I didn't get his name, and I will be sad to part with these beautiful focal pieces if and when they are sold. But I will have this little snippet of a memory, and it will always be in my possession. J