Glass. It is a wonder of invention. Its origin is in nature, deep inside the earth’s mantle, and perfected through volcanic catastrophes. Its beauty was conquered by the Egyptians, who found the way to make glass, and cherished it more than gems.
Throughout history, glass has been treasured. It has been made into vessels for precious liquids such as wine and perfume, windows stained with color that tell stories or ward off dark spirits, beads and imitation jewels for all states of adornment. It boosted visual acuity (and still does). Empires were bought and sold with it.
In modern times it provides shade from electric bulbs (also made of glass), transistor connections and stuff I don’t understand. Sheets of glass offer barriers to nature for our homes and businesses, and become artificial homes for plants grown out of their habitats. Glass is celebrated as art. The sea transforms the shards of glass it ingests into precious prizes, presenting lucky finds along the shore for beachcombers.
Now glass is so common that we don’t give it a second thought. All glass containers we discard with no conscience today would have been greatly coveted centuries ago. So many colors of glass are unremarkable in our throwaway culture, but think of the struggle to find a way to color glass when no formulae existed!
It feels solid, yet is considered a liquid. Add lead in some alchemical magic spell, and it becomes crystal, the most sparkling, light-reflecting and beautiful of all glasses.
Anyone who has seen me in the course of a workday knows I pile on glass/crystal nuggets with great joy and even greater abandon. I love glass. It is magical.
We are very lucky to have a famous glass museum within a quick drive to visit, marvel, and expand our wonder of glass. Take the time to reflect (no pun intended) on the qualities of glass in and around your world!
Caroline Poppendeck, Librarian