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A Glasswork Blessing

In Stillwater, Oklahoma, two glass plates led to an unforgettable experience for assistant editor Daniel Kessel and his mom.

Blogger Daniel Kessel's mom holding the brightly colored glass cross.

Today’s guest blogger is assistant editor Daniel Kessel.

Last week I wrote about my vacation in Oklahoma and the strange voice that urged me to take a later flight home. It wasn’t my only Mysterious Ways experience on that trip. My mom’s search for the perfect souvenir ended up providing both of us with some unexpected blessings.

My mom and I stood before a showcase in Multi Arts, a publicly run art gallery in Stillwater, Oklahoma, and admired the different pieces for sale by local artists. Handmade ceramic vases. Pieces of pottery coated with shiny glaze. Tiny paintings on miniature easels.

One item caught Mom’s fancy. A square glass plate. Melted into the plate’s center was a multi-colored cross, made from different shards of glass scrunched together. “How pretty!” she exclaimed. She pulled it off the shelf and tilted it in the light.

Mom was enthralled. She wanted to buy four plates just like it–one for herself, and one for each of her three close friends back in New Jersey. We searched the shelves but only found one other plate that was similar. Disappointing–Mom takes souvenirs seriously!–but two were better than none.

The sales clerk at the register smiled. “You know,” she said, “if you’re interested, we offer a beginner’s glassmaking class at our workshop. The next class is this Saturday!”

Mom and I exchanged glances. A glassmaking class? We’d never done anything like that before. We signed up on the spot and looked forward to the workshop all week.

Finally, Saturday arrived. The instructor stood at the front of the room and greeted us. “Today, you’ll learn how to make one of my favorite pieces…” She held up a sample of the day’s lesson: A square glass plate with a multi-colored cross melted into the center.

Mom nearly fell out of her chair. She was so excited. We spent the next few hours cutting, carving, and arranging colorful shards of glass over our plates. For one of my pieces, I crafted a landscape with grass, sun, and clouds.

As for Mom’s handiwork? You guessed it. She made two plates, exactly like the other two she’d bought at the gallery. One for each of her friends back home. A souvenir that was clearly meant to be. 

Have your own story about finding the perfect gift? Share it with us!

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