( Column 4 / 2001)

"The Lost Valleys"...by...Ron Gladkowski

          "A commentary about creative people living in the small communities scattered through the hills and valleys of Central New York"
          Published in The County Review

          A man my age shouldn't be having this much fun.....I AM the luckiest man in the world.
          With the coming of this holiday season, and having just passed a milestone in my life, completing my 60th year, I'm feeling a bit reflective. For half of my life now, I have been working in a creative field.
          How fortunate I am to make my living doing exactly what I want; expressing myself creatively, and making a comfortable living while doing it. Being a successful artist, and having the freedom to do whatever I please, without having anyone determining the course of my life, I am truly "...the captain of my fate" and "...the master of my soul". The fates have been kind to me, and I will always be grateful.
          Whether creating my stained glass terrariums, designing web pages for other artists, tending to my plants and flowers, or working with my newest love; the design and creation of multi-media CD ROMs and video projects, there isn't a moment of my day that isn't filled with a childlike enthusiasm. There is a new idea around every corner, and I intend to pursue each and every one of them.           So! Why, you might ask, are these ramblings appropriate for this column?
          To understand the significance of the art and craftwork you collect, you have to understand the nature of the creator.
          I am not alone in my outlook. When I speak with my peers, a common viewpoint repeats itself. Being a creative person is a way of life! Deep at the core of their spirit is the need to create, and those who have been successful, have found the compromises that allow them to support themselves doing so. Only after life's needs are taken care of, is there is time to be more creative, so achieving this balance is essential in maintaining our lifestyles.
          We find a way of expressing our original ideas, maintaining our artistic integrity, and being unique and innovative, while producing works that appeal to a broad audience. Each of us, in our own way, strive to nourish both body and soul while enriching your life with work you can be proud to own or present to those special people in your life.
          The next time you purchase a handmade work, take the time to ask about the artist.....You will be richer for it.

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