Contemporary Art Glass
Before I married my husband, Frederick G. “Rick” Heath in 1997, we jointly purchased a Stephen Rolfe Powell blown glass vessel. We laugh in saying that we had to get married as we could not decide how to separate that art object. Soon afterward we started exploring and educating ourselves in the contemporary art glass world, and have amassed a sizable collection of contemporary art glass.
Most recently I was elected to the Penland School of Crafts Board starting November 2022. I was Past-President of the board of the Art Alliance for Contemporary Glass from 2018-2020. Before that, I served on the board of the North Carolina Glass Center. I am a past board member of the Creative Glass Center of America. In 2010 I co-chaired the Glass Art Society Conference which was held in Louisville, KY. From a more general arts perspective, I have past service on two boards, one serving the nine southern states and one serving the Louisville arts community: South Arts and the Speed Museum Board of Governors.
In 2012 my husband and I succeeded in visiting our 7th continent, Antarctica. When we married in 1997, we promised each other that we would work hard and travel in between. Before COVID-19, we would oftentimes work 7 days a week for several weeks and then take a week to 10 days off to travel as we crossed off those locations on our bucket list. Venice is a treasured spot, and we have returned there often. Visiting glass artists and collectors is usually a component of our travels, and we have explored many exotic and out-of-the-way places in search of remote artists in the hinterlands. In 2016 we started taking grandchildren with us on some special trips. 2020 stopped our travels. I did take a granddaughter to Paris in December 2021, and we have a trip planned to Portugal in October 2022.
Many of our trips have been memorable, but the trip to Rwanda as one of the first tourist groups post-genocide was one of the most poignant. We visited Dian Fossey’s gravesite, saw the grave of her beloved Digit, outside of Kinigi, and then traveled back to Kigali to spend the evening dancing with the President Paul Kagame to the music of the Kigali Rotary Club President’s band. Complete with pigmy warrior dancers, we experienced both the joy of a newly reborn society and then later on the devastating sadness of the ravages of the genocide with a guide who had lost his wife and daughter to the slaughter.
With a mother as a gourmet cook, one would think that I started cooking as a child. However, the truth is that I always told Mother that I would grow up with a cook and a housecleaner, so there was no need for me to learn those skills. Living in near poverty in my first marriage turned me into a gardener of food we could consume and save for winter. Learning how to cook became a pleasure, and to this day, I still like nothing better than whipping up an impromptu dinner for 8 or 10 out of what is on hand, or picking fresh vegetables from my garden and creating a colorful and healthy meal from garden to table.
My creative landscape is, indeed, just that. From my first home of my own on Glenmary Avenue in Louisville to my current residence in Asheville, North Carolina, I “paint” outside. Visual is so important to me, and the landscape provides an ever-changing palette that lives and changes with each season. Spring woodland wildflowers have always been a component, but so have meandering paths and constant blooms and splashes of color mixed with a variety of textures. Because I have sun at my home in Asheville, I have planted a pollinator garden to attract a great variety of bees, birds, and bats.
Spring Woodland Wildflowers
Although fleeting in beauty, there is nothing more spectacular than watching the forest come alive after the winter to a wide variety of native woodland wildflowers. In the 70’s and 80’s when my children were young, I led springtime walks for the Louisville Science Center in the forests outside Louisville, and in local backyard wildflower gardens. I also spent many spring weekends for several years utilizing the Girl Scouts and local developers to transplant native wildflowers that were set to be demolished by construction. Those wildflowers were transplanted into an area behind the Louisville Science Center for preservation. I have “cultivated” native wildflower gardens wherever I have lived, and continue that practice. My last Louisville home had one of (if not THE) the best woodland wildflower gardens in the city. Since 2013 I have been working on spreading wildflowers to my Asheville, North Carolina home. Not as successful as I would like, I am hiking to places in North Carolina where wildflowers are abundant. Joyce Kilmer Forest is so far my very favorite spring woodland wildflower destination.