May 14, 2020. Coronavirus Lockdown in Michigan.
Many, many years ago at the Tucson Gem & Mineral Show, I attended a show at the Doubletree Hotel. The company, ImpressArt, was selling customize metal “branding stamps,” kinda like a signature stamp that could be infused onto hot glass. I thought it was an interesting idea, using this tool to customize your glass, have your own little brand on it, so I picked one up. I do not work with hot glass, btw, at most glass mosaics and beads. I love Venetian lampwork beads and Murano glass, I’m just not interested in working with fire. In any case, I bought the metal stamp perhaps 15 years ago and since then it has been out of sight and out of mind. I’ve forgotten this tool even existed. But today, out of nowhere, it has turned up. The sudden existence of this metal stamp has prompted me to write this new post.
In 2016 my book was coming along and I was going to Murano frequently to do interviews and/or validate my research. I also had a lot on my mind during this period: meetings with my book designer, finding a publishing house, copyrights for the photographs, business cards, etc. I knew that once the book got published, I’d need a website. And with a website, I’d need a logo. Meanwhile, back in Murano, I stopped in the shop of a friend, Mario Cavagnis, whom I’ve known for 25 years. He makes beautiful fused millefiori/murrine plates, sometimes using old and rare millefiori/murrine slices or using his own murrine which he makes himself (versus buying or finding it). Many slices of the murrine cane are placed into a pattern (think of a puzzle ) and then put into an oven where all the separate pieces/slices are then fused together (like glue) to create, for example, a small plate or pendant. “Ciao Mario! Come va?” “Bene, bene” he says as he hands me a dog treat to give to Toby. Toby sees the treat and then “spins round round like a record baby.” (that’s an 80s song by Dead or Alive) The tourists love the dancing dog. They giggle and take photos. Toby loves the attention. He’s good for business. “Whatca’ been up to, Mario?” He shows me his new collection of fabulous, one-of-a-kind plates. Gorgeous. One is prettier than the other. He sells them for 120-160 euros each but most tourists don’t have the eye or appreciation for this rare glass so it oftentimes goes unnoticed. Besides, the plates are small and all too often tourists equate size with worth (unless you’re Japanese, who see the beauty in tiny details). Anyway, Mario probably made 12 of these plates. No two alike. Some were made with a rare cane! “I love these plates! Why don’t you put these in the window? They’re gorgeous!” But Mario, like many of us collectors or appreciators of art, aren’t always so eager to sell our stuff. Sometimes it’s nice to just have those things hanging around for a period. How often have I raised the price of a bead just so that I could enjoy it for a while longer? (and then I sell it ☹) So as Mario proudly showed me his new collection of plates, I took a few photographs. “Wow, take a look at this photo, Mario. It’d make a cool screen saver, no wait, bedsheets, not wait, jeans!” And then it dawned on me. Why not use one of his plates for my logo? I didn’t want to use the Murano Rooster (symbol of Murano) because then I’d have to explain to my customers I wasn’t born in the Year of the Rooster, nor do I raise chickens. I didn’t want a gondola either because I thought it looked a bit cliché’. I also didn’t want a bead as my logo because my company isn’t just about beads, it’s more profound than that. I was looking for a logo that could be timeless, genderless, something a bit historical, artistic, and something that could attract both the organic bead collector as well as the contemporary jewelry designer. Eureka! Serendipity! I found it in one of Mario’s plates. It’s amazing when you stop searching for something, you find it. It’s like God saying, “Geez o Pete’s girl, take it easy. Do you think I have a magic wand or something? Stay still! I’ve got this. ” I sent the images to a graphic artist, Robin Seger (contact: email@example.com), who works out of Florida. She added her magic touch to the image and designed a very attractive logo.
On the LEFT is the photograph of the glass plate that inspired my logo. © And on the RIGHT is the metal stamp that I purchased over a decade ago, L-O-N-G before Mario made the plate and/or murrine, long before I had my own business, the name of my business, the name of my book, a logo, a website, you name it. Hidden under a pile of random stuff, in a random box, on a random lockdown day (I don’t even know what day it is anymore. Maybe that’s a good thing?), somehow or another this object has resurrected. Initially, I thought it was a special tool that comes with IKEA purchases. Then I looked closely. And then I freaked out. I was amazed (and shocked) at the similarities. Take a good look at the three different murrine.
Do you see the second circle of murrine? Do you see what I see? How can this be????
I’m not a believer in coincidences. Everything happens for a reason. “Coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous,” says Albert Einstein. I thank God and the Divine Universe for sending me this “Message of Love” (song by The Pretenders, 1981). I love it when I receive messages from the heavens…or call it what you will . . . a Divine Energy, but I’ve received many of these messages and signal graces during my life and this is one of them. (Remind me to tell you about the praying mantis.) For whatever reason, I seem to attract this energy and it’s always a good sign. What does it tell me? I like to consider this “coincidence” as a post-it note from God. It lets me know of His presence; He’s closer to me than I realize. I’m where I’m supposed to be. Everything is going to be fine. “I’ve got this!”