The Light & Love Sun Disc Project
As mentioned in "Journey to Glowing Glass: The Story", my son and I created small glass discs, about 2" in diameter, and gave hundreds of them away to share Light & Love with others. This project was ultimately the genesis of our studio mission: Glass that Shines in the Dark.
In the Fall of 2015, about a month before I found out my husband had inoperable brain cancer and only a few months to live, I took a trip to St. Louis, MO to re-connect with a friend of 30 years who was a true heart sister to me. During that visit, I found a book in a St. Charles, MO bookstore with suggestions for honoring the gift of every single day of the week. The suggestion for Sunday was to create a yellow disc with an image of the sun on it. The idea captured my imagination and was very much on my mind when I found out my husband would soon die.
I love honoring artists of the past by bringing their work into the present day in an appropriate fashion. Googling "sun images", I found a copyright-free, 600-year-old, hand engraved image of the sun that was perfect. I cropped the initially rectangular image into a circular shape. During this same time, I had also been reading about ancient Mayan teachings and come across the concept that Light and Love are our most precious gifts. This idea, found in many different cultures and faiths, formed the foundation for the sun discs, (also called Light & Love discs). I used a font of my own creation to put the words "Light and Love" on the reverse side from the image of the sun, as a reminder that these two gifts from the Universe are what connect us to each other and to those who have gone before us and will come after we are no longer here.
At least three, sometimes four, pieces of glass were hand cut for each disc. An opaque layer in the center ensured both the sun image and the words Light and Love were clearly visible and didn't interfere with each other visually. Transparent glass in warm colors encased these graphic elements on the front and back of the sun discs. Both the sun image and "Light and Love" were applied by hand to the glass using a water-slide decal paper, sandwiched in-between the opaque and transparent glass layers.
Whenever I gave away a sun disc, I felt like I connected with the recipient on a truer, deeper level than is generally the case in our hyper-accelerated culture. I did not tell them why I was doing the project, just that I made the discs and gave them away because we all needed more Light and Love. I explained that if they chose to give their disc away to someone else, they could re-connect with me and I would give them another one.
I only gave them away one at a time and always in person, because I felt it made for a truer human connection. I did make exceptions for friends and family that were geographically distant. Frequently, disc recipients would indeed give them away to others, often because they felt someone else was in greater need of Light and Love. I would give them another for themselves.
It was an amazing gift to see faces light up with a smile when I explained the project. Some, especially strangers, were skeptical initially, thinking I would ask for something in return, but always accepted the gift once they were re-assured it was just that, a gift of glass, from our hearts.
I was touched to watch people's reactions to the sun disc gifts, almost like I received strength and joy in the process, despite the pain and darkness of my husband's terminal cancer journey. It was as if by giving others these Light and Love discs, I was receiving the gift of light in return.
This is the art project that changed the direction of my work as an artist. I still run into people today, years later, who keep their sun disc in a special, visible place to remind them of what is truly important in their daily lives. I am humbled, honored and forever changed by touching others' lives with these small glass discs. I still make them occasionally, but they will never be for sale because Light and Love should be freely available to everyone. Always.