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Gary Genetti has over 36 years in designing and making glass art. Recently he has expanded his skills to include glass fusing and kiln forming. Alongside his daughter, Gary started an upcycle glass project called Junkyard Glass making beautiful products from recycled car windows (an example is here on Amazon). In this podcast episode Gary talks about the power of maker spaces to heal veterans, guide in new directions for youth, and provide a strong backbone for an artistic revival. From his years glass blowing to maker space and other projects Gary continues to push boundaries and offer fresh perspectives on what can be done through art and the creative process. Below is the full show along with a few quotes pulled from the episode. Enjoy!

The Power of Maker Spaces to Heal

“So many veterans these days are coming home with PTSD and they are relunctant to seek treatment but I see this as a real healing community project. Everything is just non-judgemental, you come in there and make things. To me that’s one of the best ways to intervene in somebody’s return to make it a positive return to this culture rather than what happens so often these days with 22 veterans killing themselves a day in this country. It’s tragic”

Meeting People for Creative ClarityGary Genetti

“You don’t want to be limited to one product to begin with. You really want an avenue to express yourself in so many different ways. You can make jewelry and small objects in addition to expand what you do. That’s so important for young people to see that there is a creative career in doing something. It can seem repetitive but there is really room to grow and express yourself in an artistic way also. Even if you have a catchy novelty at first, it’s very important not to limit yourself to that”

“People want to hear a story behind what they are buying. You can do that to a certain extent on the computer but to me I learned so much about myself, it was so motivating to my creativity to have exchanges face-to-face with people and to really feel their appreciation for what I did”

“Even if you have an Etsy site, go out and shake some hands and have people look at your work. Then give them a card for your Etsy shop. If they don’t want to buy it right then, that personal contact is going to be so important to developing a loyal audience for your work as you move along that will follow you as you move along in your career”

Getting Fresh Perspectives

“It could be in the junk yard but if you have a fresh perspective, and I saw it through my daughters eyes, something new will come out of it. It’s really to stay open. Sometimes it takes other people to keep you from your [habits]…you don’t want to be too habitual in your approach to art for sure”

Recognizing Failure as Part of the Creative Process

“It took me years and years to justify spending a lot of time and justify failure. That’s probably the hardest issue an artist has to overcome is the embracing failure as one step in the process. With production work you are just getting it down and doing it. Failure is a small fraction of the process but in the creative world, in the creative process you have to really learn to embrace failure as a necessary ingredient because it really makes you strive harder and push further into the unknown that is the source of creativity”

Maker Space Links

Open Works in Baltimore

Artisan’s Asylum