I’ve been trying to expand my horizons lately – it might be a bit of a mid-life crisis, it might be because I’m bored with the status quo, or it could be that I’ve finally realized that the only person who can make me happy…is me. So, I’m stepping out of my comfort zones, making some new friends, joining a few clubs, taking classes to learn new things. That’s how I came to be sitting in a strange woman’s home last weekend, learning how to make fused glass jewelry.
I found out about the class through Groupon – Edyth was offering half price, 3-hour long classes about fused glass, where attendees would make a couple of pendants and a set of earrings. The pictures looked pretty, the price was right, and a few of my friends were also interested – so we signed up. I was expecting the class to be taught in the back room of a small shop or in a charming studio – but instead, I arrived at a modest home in an older section of town. As I rang the doorbell, I was greeted by a massive hound, with shaggy hair that nearly covered his eyes (yet he still managed to stare me down from the other side of the screen door). You may know that massive dogs and I have a less than stellar history, but about the time I was thinking it might be best to get back in my car and head home, my friend Chris opened the door and assured me that I was in the right place.
The dog, Julius, was actually very friendly and butted me with his head, demanding some attention. As I scratched his ears, I noticed that he had that very distinctive “wet dog” aroma – even though he seemed dry. My hand also came away from his head a little greasy and fragrant. As I wiped my hands on my jeans, Edyth invited us into her “studio” – which was also her laundry room. Apparently there had been a scheduling snafu, so instead of just the four of us, there were eight students crowded around the table. It was a tight fit – especially when Julius decided that he was going to join us, laying down half under the table and proceeding to fall into a deep, doggy slumber.
As Edyth told us about the history of fused glass, I caught a whiff of a pungent, unpleasant odor. Someone had a bad case of gas – silent and VERY deadly! It seemed to be coming from nowhere and everywhere – I cut my eyes right and left, making brief eye contact with other students. One was wrinkling her nose and frowning at Chris, who was sitting across from me. He, in turn, was glancing at her and then to the woman sitting on his left, who was also looking confused. Another woman, at the head of the table, tried to hide her smile as I made eye contact with her. Was SHE the one?
Thankfully, the smell faded and I was able to focus on our teacher again – but as she began to explain about dichroic glass, I started to hear a strange background noise. I stopped listening to her as I tried to figure out what it was. What the hell WAS it?? The sound repeated, louder – there was no doubt about it this time…it was snoring…it was the DOG and the dog was SNORING! And these weren’t cute little murmuring snores – Julius was snoring as loudly as The Loser after a bender.
Edyth raised her voice so that she could be heard over the snoring. But then, another invisible cloud of lethal fumes wafted over the table, so strong it just about took my breath away. Quite frankly, I kind of wished it WOULD take my breath away, because I really didn’t want to inhale again. However, I quickly figured out that holding my breath wasn’t really feasible if I wanted to stay alive, so I took a small sniff. Oh, God! If anything, it was worse – and it finally clicked in my brain what I was smelling – dog sXX. My first thought was that the massive hound had taken a dump in the “studio” earlier in the day and Edyth hadn’t seen or smelled it when she set up. But then the smell dissipated for several minutes before returning in full force. I could see comprehension dawning on the faces of my classmates – the smell was emanating in silent, periodic bursts, directly from the still sleeping Julius. I think we were all relieved to finally figure out who to blame (and that it wasn’t one of us).
The toxic fumes persisted for some time, making me feel a little faint due to all of the shallow breathing. In my head, I alternated between singing, “Smelly dog, smelly dog – WHAT are they feeding you?” to wondering WHY in the world Edyth wouldn’t just wake the slumbering beast and escort him from the room. Maybe after long-term, repeated exposure to the sulfuric fumes, her sense of smell had been permanently damaged?
Eventually, Julius managed to pass enough gas to fill the Hindenburg. Apparently, that was enough, because both the farting and snoring stopped. Delightfully unfragranced air filled our lungs once again – just about the time we finished up our projects and were ready to leave. Was it worth it? Just look at my shiny rewards!
I’m kind of in love with fused glass-making now. I’ve decided to invest in a small kiln and I have visions of making beautiful glass jewelry for everyone on my Christmas list (I just have to convince my brothers that pendants are super-cool for dudes to wear). Who knows, maybe it will pan out into a money-making venture – and I can find a charming little studio on a beach somewhere, turning out tiny pieces of art while sipping margaritas for the rest of my days.
What crafty things did you learn how to do and then loved it? Do you STILL love it?