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Project Resilience: Glass Bowls, Angels And Random Acts Of Giving

Mary Heers

When glass artist Dana Worley was explaining to me how she had made the glass bowl I was admiring, she said something like, "It slumped at full fuse."

I was pretty sure she was speaking English, but didn't understand a word she said. All I knew is this bowl looked to me like Dana had scooped up two handfuls of the Mediterranean Sea and frozen it in time. Patiently, Dana explained that what looked frozen in time had actually been heated in a kiln to 1460 degrees (otherwise known as full fuse). Eventually the flat piece of glass had relaxed into the bowl shaped mold (otherwise known as slumped)

Credit Mary Heers

Perhaps it was COVID making us all a little crazy, but I was suddenly seized with a wild desire to eat ice cream out of this bowl. Better yet, invite friends over, when we can finally safely do this, and celebrate with everybody eating ice cream. For starters, Dana agreed to make me a set of four bowls.

I turned to admiring the 83 angels that had recently come out of the kiln. I was musing how these 3 inch angels—a circle,3 pieces of circles, and a splash of paint—would look great on anyone's Christmas tree, when Dana mentioned, almost as an afterthought, how she was part of a new movement among artists.

She would take a dusty piece of art off her shelf and abandon it—as a gift—to whoever found it.  She began by leaving a small dish in the crook of a tree on a hiking trail. Last week, she left a piece of glass jewelry on an empty bench in Logan's Tabernacle Square—with the usual note to please call her. The phone soon rang.

"It made my day," said the happy voice on the phone. "I don't wear jewelry, but I'm going to give it to my mother. She'll love it."

It reminded me of throwing a pebble into a pond. A local artist tosses out a piece of creativity, and it ripples out into the hearts and homes of our community. An ever widening circle of giving.

Then my phone buzzed. Dana had sent me a text that the ice cream bowls would be ready to slump in 24 hours. I looked at my watch. Time to start smiling. COVID or not, Christmas was coming soon to my house.

Mary got hooked on oral histories while visiting Ellis Island and hearing the recorded voices of immigrants that had passed through. StoryCorps drew her to UPR. After she retired from teaching at Preston High, she walked into the station and said she wanted to help. Kerry put her to work taking the best 3 minutes out of the 30 minute interviews recorded in Vernal. Passion kicked in. Mary went on to collect more and more stories and return them to the community on UPR's radio waves. Major credits to date: Utah Works, One Small Step, and the award winning documentary Ride the Rails.