Workshop is Open!

Carole Jean’s Crystal Collage Factory

It all started with a Waterford crystal salt shaker. The silver top broke off and the shaker was rendered unusable. Hey, I paid good money for that precious hand-cut crystal! I bought it in Ireland when I used to fly through Shannon on a regular basis. All of us TIA flight attendants did — on the way back from Europe I bought two pieces of crystal at the Duty-Free Shop, usually two wine glasses, sometimes the cute little sparkly liquor glasses every time we came through. Next stop was a lobster roll in Bangor, Maine and a box of lobsters to go.

So, now, after all these years we twenty-something world-flyers have become the seventy-something set who still lay a table with fine china and sterling flatware. I used that salt shaker for thirty years before the top broke off. Ohhh, I know, I know…I’ll glue it to a piece of glass in a picture frame and call it art! Yeah…that’s it. I may not be a Sally Bookman or a Reid Winfrey, both professional artists of renown, but I could be a creator of Carole Jean’s Crystal Collages!

I mean, after all, what do you do with Grandma’s crystal? She wanted you to have it. You have fond memories of family gatherings when she got the good stuff out. You know, the tableware she kept in the glass curio cabinet gathering dust. Today’s casual lifestyle doesn’t call for anything but Ikea tableware or paper plates. So, what do you do with the fine crystal?

How about an art piece incorporating some of those special items? The crystal collage can be placed in a window and let Grandma’s light shine through creating beautiful light shows when the sun sparkles through it, displaying rainbow spectrums and dancing shards of light.

Now, you have a chance to have a piece made especially for you. Bring me your sentimental items and I will supplement them with treasures I have collected from thrift shops, yard sales, and flea markets. I use repurposed frames, install a strong tempered glass designed to hold the weight of the individual components, many of which are heavy vintage leaded crystal. I found a gorgeous sugar bowl which turned out to be too big to use for the collage so I looked it up on ebay. I found the exact same piece listed for $295.00! I paid a whopping eight bucks, three more than my usual five dollar limit per piece. So, now I put sugar in my coffee so I can justify splurging for such an expensive item.

I’m obsessed! I have made a few for friends over the last couple of years. Then friends of their friends saw them displayed in their windows and wanted to know who the artist was and where could they buy one? Moi? An artist? And they want to commission me? How fun! The pet-sitting business is dead since everyone is now staying home and walking their own dogs. So, I bought myself a beret (at the thrift shop, of course). I plop it on my disheveled head of unkempt shelter-in-place hair, and pretend I’m working in my Paris studio while I create my works of art.

I’m thinking Art Show! By invitation only. Black tie and bubbly. Hey, I know a guy with a tux! He can be the Art Host and maybe I can get my friends and neighbors to attend. If I lure them with food, they will come, just like the olden days in real estate, when we used to conduct Brokers Open House on Thursdays to showcase new listings.

Meanwhile, I’ll keep working on my goal of thirty pieces to get ready to open shop — only twenty-two to go. By the time I’m ready, the pandemic will be over, art galleries will be open, and people will be looking to spend money after getting back to work and making tons of money. Look for your invitation in the future.

Keep me in mind as you do your spring cleaning, or should I say your covid-cleaning, as we continue to look for ways to keep busy under lockdown. Pull out your small crystal items and give me a holler. I’ll make you something special — with pleasure!

14 thoughts on “Workshop is Open!

  1. I am a fortunate person. Carole gifted me one of these pieces for my birthday several years ago. It sits in my bedroom window on the east side of the house and it sparkles, gleams and shines when the sun is up……………..then so am I. I just love it.


  2. The piece Carole made for me in remembrance of my mother after she passed is very dear to me. It is a uniquely beautiful piece of art. Everyone who sees it comments on how stunning it is!


  3. Missing a photo of you wearing the Beret. Your Crystal display looks like art work to me and good to see your dining table is holding up with all that Crystal art work in grand display. Miss you Billy


  4. Thanks, Billy! Yes, that table has been a godsend and I so appreciate you getting it for me. I will soon be posting a photo of a completed work that looks good, but pales in comparison to the real thing. Hard to capture in photos. Thanks for taking the time to comment! Hugs!


  5. Goody! Now I have an excuse to haunt the thrift shops for little glass pieces to send to “the Factory!” They are beautiful heirlooms. We can all use a little sparkle in our lives at the moment.


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