About Me

One day in 2002, while working in a potato chip factory, my supervisor grabbed me and took me on a deluxe tour of the whole facility. I knew I wasn’t doing too well at work and figured this was her way to help me improve. Throughout the tour I was resolving to do my best and improve somehow. Then, my supervisor said something that will probably stick with me for as long as I live. She said that in order to be successful I had to have passion.

At the time, I nearly broke into tears. ‘Passion!’ I thought, ‘I don’t have any passion, let alone passion for quality control!’ The idea of having a passion, was overwhelming to me. I was in the process of recovering from a series of psychotic episodes and hospitalizations in 2000-2001 and was suffering from post-psychosis depression. Mentally, I was very far from having passion.

With time, the depression abated and I started feeling better. I was living with my mother in New Jersey when she found a job in Anniston, Alabama. I moved with her to Alabama. In 2003, I took a series of courses at the local university with the idea of earning an MBA, but decided not to pursue it further. Instead, I got a job as a front desk clerk at a local motel.

Near the end of 2004, I started thinking more and more about lampworking. I had taken a course in glass bead making in the beginning of 2000 from Mary Weiss, but never got the equipment to do lampworking at home. I was itching to melt glass again. My mother was surprisingly supportive of the idea (sorry Mom), and suggested I use my 2004 tax refund to get set up. Thanks to the earned income credit (which I still don’t understand), I was able to purchase enough supplies and equipment to start making glass beads.

I played with my glass in a purely recreational way throughout the first half of 2005. I made a few pairs of earrings, including one for my mother on Mother’s Day, but without a kiln I couldn’t sell my beads. When I did get a kiln, the thought of selling beads/finished jewelry became a possibility, but I didn’t pursue it. I was back in school in fall of 2005 with the goal of becoming a teacher.

January of 2006 found me sick again and I was hospitalized again. It was a rough year and I didn’t make many beads. I moved out of my mother’s house into an apartment nearby, and applied for disability. My new neighbors thought my glass bead making hobby was very cool and pestered me to make beads. That was pretty much the only time I made beads in 2006 and 2007.

2008 found me living with my mother again and all my bead making equipment in boxes. I was also sick with ulcerative colitis. Mentally I was doing well, but physically I wasn’t up to doing much of anything. Then, about three weeks ago, I started feeling better and began making beads again.

Now, I think I may have found my passion. I love making glass beads and working with glass. I have a long way to go to develop my skills, but it’s so much fun that I don’t mind practicing. My mother has me documenting all the beads I make in an Excel spreadsheet for reference, and when I look at the pictures I can see the progress I am making.

Looking to the future there is a faint glimmer of a possibility that I will be able to go off disability and support myself by working with glass. It is a long range goal of mine. Right now I am focusing on developing my technique. In some ways I’m still a beginner even though I made my first bead eight years ago. I have a lot to learn about glass, and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can.

February 23, 2008

5 responses to “About Me

  1. Not much to say, except that I wish you all the luck in the world with your recovery. You seem a lovely person and you really deserve live to get better for you. I hope that glass will help you with your journey.

  2. Sara Parfait

    You have definitely found your PASSION! Now, I do realize I am but a mere amatuer, but I do know one thing…and that is beauty. Your beads are beautiful and one of a kind. Though you say you are still a beginner, just wait eight more years…we’ll be waiting in line just to get a glimpse at the “Snuttjer Beads”! Instead of saving monies to go to the NAMI convention, I’ll be saving my money to buy one of your beads! Congratulations on your much deserved success!

  3. Carol Brown

    I just want to say…Good for You!!! Keep at it…depression is extremely tough- I too had many starts and stops when I was in my 20’s. I found a career I was good at in my 30’s and it enabled me to support my daughter but it was very stressfull and not my “passion”. Now in my 40’s I am stepping back and have found my passion in Lampwork! I am in the process of starting a business and am very confident that is will work. When things fall into place you can feel it. I also believe everything happens for a reason…even illness and depression. All experiences are opportunities for growth and everything you survive makes you stronger. I don’t mean to sound “preachy” but that has been my experience and I want to encourage you to keep moving forward. Doing something that you love is good for your soul…:).

    Take Care

  4. Margaret

    Robin:

    Your blog is wonderful, and so is your work!

    Don’t forget that in 2007, you took care of my newborn preemie daughter, Ginger, after her three-month stay at the hospital. You were everything Ginger and I could wish for. under your gentle, loving, and wise care, Ginger grew and flourished. As a new mother exhausted by a difficult pregnancy, and my own stay in the hospital, I really needed your help, and you came through like the real friend and champion you are. Not everyone can care for a delicate preemie, but you did a beautiful job. The proof is in the pudding — Ginger is magnificent, strong, sweet, and marvelous, all at once. Many, many thanks for your patience and generosity. We really benefited from all that is Robin.

  5. Suzanne Hansen

    I fell in love with lampwork in 2000 – I was working two jobs, my husband was dying of cancer and the beads I saw sparked passion. It is now 2009 and I have signed up for my first lampwork class in two weeks. I don’t have any equipment but am still as facinated as ever. I’ve suffered from depression for over 30 years and believe it is because I just haven’t been able to fall into full time passion. Maybe this is it!

    I came off five different anti-depressant medications all at the same time about two years ago and have been struggling to find a meaning in life. I believe I am an artist at heart trying to survive in what society insists I do to make a living. I am a data security analyst – just making enough money to live and never get ahead. I also live with my mother who is supportive of my new found hobby. Although I don’t know if she’s going to go along with having a torch on the property. It’s probably be a major milestone for her to allow it. Can you believe it – and I’m 60 years old. haha

    Love your blog and share your passion.

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