Hello again my darling country! After cruising around the Mediterranean for four months it did my heart some good to skip down the ship’s gangway and plant both my feet on some good old Florida asphalt. I may have raised both my arms in the air and shouted “Ha!!” Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored traveling around Europe for the first time and getting to see many phenomenal sights that I had only seen in my history books in school. Being able to do what I love, blowing and sculpting glass, with a fabulous team was icing on the baklava cake for sure. The cherry on top was that we had an audience who truly gained an appreciation for the glassblowing craft and in many cases we passed on the glass bug that encourages one to be a glass addict (yay!).
The last cruise of my contract was in the Caribbean and it was an extra special cruise because we had a guest glass artist by the name of John Miller. You may have heard of him. John’s work is easily recognized for its boisterous charm and humor in the form of super-sized blown-glass sculptures of everyday items and fast food. That same creativity and his sheer showmanship easily won our audiences over in the shows that featured our resident Celebrity Solstice glass artist. It was a marvelous example of how an experienced glassblower can pick up a blow iron in an unfamiliar hot shop with a new crew and make glass magic happen. Though we did have to teach John the all important glassblower ship stance. He cracked up when the furnace door closed on him when he was gathering some glass. During his shows, John made a huge 15-gallon incalmo beer glass that impressed everyone with the sheer amount of glass he was able to lug around. He flipped the coin and made a slider stem goblet that was absolutely adorable and funny for his next piece.
Our auction to benefit the Celebrity Cruises Glassmaking Scholarship Fund was a resounding success with the addition of several of John’s pieces. One special crackle vase raised almost a thousand dollars for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Listening to the slide lecture that John gave brought me back to my formative college years and how inspiring it can be to take a peak into another artist’s motivations and processes. Having John and his dynamite wife Daniella cruise with us was a real treat not only for John’s amazing glass skills, but because they were such fantastic company to host. Daniella was ecstatic to see John don a suit (he called it a monkey suit) for the first time in 20 years and have many 5 star dining experiences. I was happy that my last cruise was by far the best one and to have had such an amazing time with talented glassblowers and a wonderful crew. Hopefully I will see some of you on the high seas in my next contract! Happy 2012!