My inspiration for Corinne's Glass artistry....
Image: Pixabay / nataliaaggiato
Ever been to a place that made such an impact on you that you've never forgotten it? I'm not talking about an island, town, or city. Just a small space that impacted you more in a couple of hours than places you go to on a daily basis?
In the past, I went to an inn in the Catskills that I frequented with friends and family once or twice a year. One of my last years doing that, we took a long side trip to a little art/cafe boutique called Blue Pearl. Owned by glass artist Ulla Darni, the little building had this air about it that all was--or at least could be--right with the world. Ulla herself was not there that day, but a friendly, bubbly, peace-exuding salesperson--I wish I remembered her name--showed us around the place and told us how she and Ulla had brought back many of the items for sale in the boutique from their travels. That idea fascinated me--and it sparked an idea for the vocation of Corinne's leading man in her upcoming novel. (And let me just tell you right here: He is something!)
That salesperson ... she was so enthusiastic and knowledgeable ... wound up as inspiration for a character in a different series and genre. And she totally touched my heart that day in a way I have never forgotten. My friend was trying on a batik dress in a curtained corner of the room and was having trouble. I wanted to help her with the zipper but my hands were full with my son--he must have been about ten months at the time. The woman offered to hold him and ... despite my being so overprotective ... I felt completely comfortable letting her. As I helped my friend, I heard her talking to him:
"Hello, Little Gift of God! What a great person you're going to be. And yes, you're such a sweetie, aren't you?" Afterward, she was complimenting me on what a good boy he was and how blessed I was. I know lots of people say that to new mothers ... but there was something different about that time. Was it the way she said it? The words she chose? The fact that she just seemed representative of the better part of this world? My coffee was stronger than I thought that morning? I'll never know.
My eyes well up with tears thinking about it, because that's exactly what he was ... my gift with awesome potential. Now in college, he's working toward fulfilling that potential. How time flies, huh? And that woman ... I didn't know her from a hole in the wall, but she became my idea of good in the world: a person who had seen it all (or much of it, anyway), offered unabashed words of kindness, and who had seemed to find her happy place. She is the woman Katherine Zabriese (Galen and Corinne's mother in my series) wholeheartedly strives to be despite the obstacles she has faced. In my experience, the people I know and have met who have traveled the world extensively just seem to be the most kind, loving, compassionate sort. Perhaps because they have actually met enough people to put the idea that we are all the same on some level to an actual test?
Anyway, I never got back to Blue Pearl because the next time we went to the Inn, nobody had time to go, and then I never got to go again for economic reasons. Oddly enough, Blue Pearl closed in 2008 for economic reasons. But guess what I discovered today? They reopened in 2015 and now I just want to scream because I can't go. It's a must the next time I get up North, though.
I adore Ulla's gorgeous artistry on glass--we actually went to her studio as well that day, which wasn't far from the shop--and one day I would love to own one of her pieces. (This sconce is one of my favorites!) Yet another incentive to make it in this writing business! Although, I just noticed she started selling phone cases of her designs so that's a thought! Anyway, the brightness of the colors Ulla uses is similar to Corinne's work, only Corinne doesn't do much with florals.
If you go to this link, and scroll down, you'll get a glimpse of Blue Pearl. Now, in my upcoming novel of Corinne's love story, Corinne's actual gallery is very open and bright, but her boutique area is modeled in a similar style to Ulla's.
Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this story background glimpse inside my head!
What small experience has affected you in a big way?