Dear Readers,

As you may have seen elsewhere, in mid February my wife and I suffered the loss of our home in a fire, in the hills of central Massachusetts. The good news is that we got out safely and had no animals in our care at the time. The fire crews were able to contain the fire from spreading, in what turned into a 3-alarm, 5-hour-long ordeal in subzero temperatures; they did amazing work, and no one was injured. The bad news is that all of my physical historical materials and research of 30 years have gone up in smoke. As a result I have decided to suspend this blog for the time being. It will remain online as a resource for those interested in the history of glass and glassmaking in the seventeenth century and beyond. I do intend to resume writing when I can, but for now my time and energy are required in getting us back on our feet.

Friends are providing temporary shelter for us nearby and our intention is to rebuild as soon as possible. To those who have reached out with a steady hand, to those who have opened their wallets, and offered advice in our time of need, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. In what are already difficult times for all of us, you have made a huge difference in our lives.

Paul Engle
6 March, 2021

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays

A heartfelt thank you to my readers for taking the time to fit this blog into your life for another year. It is my privilege to continue to bring you some of the lesser known episodes in the long history of glassmaking and glass art. 

As an artist of any stripe, the struggle for mere survival in the creative life can be a challenge; no less so for glass art.  And no less so now than a hundred or a thousand years ago. Many friendly readers here are of the the artistic persuasion, and for some, it is the time of year to entertain questions about ones future.  For those of you in that particular boat, here are a few thoughts recently penned by artist Janis Miltenberger. Please read them in the spirit of encouragement, laced with a dose of tough love. Take a few minutes to acknowledge just how much of an accomplishment it is to do what you do. Best wishes to all our friends engaged in creative pursuits. 

Artist Janice Miltenberger  with her glass topiary
"Wisdom's Invocation"
Photo by Lynn Thompson, ©Janis Miltenberger 2016

"People have their heads on wrong. If you are an artist/performer and compare yourself and career to anyone of the many college career paths, and you think you are not making it? WTF, you can't compare. Being an artist is so much work, discipline big time, fucking dedication, lack of consistent money flow, the list is long. We are looked at askance with little regard or knowledge of the work involved. Many consider what we do as a hobby. So listen up, give yourself the gift of importance, today honor the work you put into a path which is not carved out nor understood! Each of us are forging our own. Value your time your gaining of skills because if you do not, others will not."*

* These thoughts were originally posted on the artist's Facebook page (24 Dec 2016). Her work can be viewed at

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