Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Bernadette Fuentes at the Bead and Button Show

At the Gathering last year in Minneapolis, I had intended to meet Bernadette Fuentes. In all honesty, I don't know how I missed her, but I did. She was an artist who's work I admired and had intended to find her at the Bead Bazaar, but I didn't. Even though I missed Bernadette at the Gathering, I was able to touch base with her on line. She had a bead that I absolutely loved and wanted to buy. It was a turquoise bead with a lizard on the front. In the description, Bernadette had said, that the lizard on the front of the bead reminded her of the lizards she used to see when she was growing up in New Mexico. I immediately emailed her. I told Bernadette that I had grown up in Albuquerque and wondered where she grew up. She told me Albuquerque. As our contacts continued, we discovered that we grew up within blocks of each other. She grew up on one side of the tracks, and I grew up on the other. We went to the same church. It was amazing that we had not known each other.! There is a 9 year difference in age, and that might explain why we did not meet personally. What amazes me is that our families do not seem to know each other at all. Through a few more emails, Bernadette and I found that we have many things in common, including the love of a delicious soup called posole. We both have memories of places that we used to know in Albuquerque. We both remember the wonderful Mexican food that we learned to cook watching our mothers and grandmothers cook. Posole is one of those foods. We both know what it means when a waitress asks you at a restaurant--red or green? In a more modern day, we are both lampworkers. The biggest difference is that she is Bernadette Fuentes, an internationally known artist. I am not. She is a superior lampwork artist, I am not. However, we do think that there might be a familial relationship somewhere, but we don't know where. We do have some facial similarities. I think she looks like my Aunt Sally. She thinks my son looks like her nephew. We would like to find that connection, but I'm not sure we can right now. It might take a little more time than we have right now. Now, fast forward to the Bead and Button Show. I found Bernadette's botth right away. I walked over and looked at her beads. I asked a couple of questions. She looked at me like I looked familiar. I finally said something to the effect of "Did you make these in Albuquerque?" She realized who I was. It was wonderful to meet this elegant woman in person! We visited, but she was very busy, so there wasn't much time. I bought one of her world famous lampworked hands. I LOVE IT! That aside, I found Bernadette to be a kind and loving woman. When my son came to meet me at the Bead and Button Show, she took an interest in him. She took him around to visit some of the glass blowers and taught him, (and me) a few things about glass work that didn't involve beads. I was touched by her kindness to him! He enjoyed her attention. I'm not sure he realized who this outstanding artist was who was showing him around the world of glass, but I did. This kind gesture helped him to understand a little bit more about the work I do when I make glass beads. I told Nick before we left the Bead and Button Show, "She grew up to be Bernadette Fuentes, and I grew up to be your mom. We are both incredibly blessed!" If you look in the picture, I am wearing Bernadette's hand. What I have read about Bernadette is that she had a dream about hands, and then she began to make them. Wow!

1 comment:

Deb said...

Oh WOW - will you just look at you two gorgeous ladies! What a fabulous photo & wonderful tale Mallory - it was meant to be that the two of you finally got to meet.
There is something in both of your eye's that speak volumes - both wonderful kind caring ladies, full of a passion for both life, & what you do with glass. The genuine smiles & sincerity shown speaks to me that there is a connection that goes deeper than glass. What a blessed meeting - I'd imagine the highlight of your visit to B&B :o)