Single Mother of Two Going to Glassblowing Classes

I recently received a partial scholarship to  Penland School of Crafts  in North Carolina. I'm beyond excited for this oppurtunity to spend two weeks in July focused on blowing glass. 
As many of you know, I work primarily in ceramics. However, before diving into clay, my dreams were filled with hot glass. When I started college locally, ceramics was the closest sculptural medium offered. I immediately fell in love. Last year when I went to  Haystack Mountain School of Crafts  for a clay workshop, my love for hot glass was rekindled. I couldn't stay away from the hot shop. Upon my return home it was all I could think of. It had been 17 years since I first worked with hot glass:
(pictured above, me in 2001 just a couple weeks before I turned 18  at Avon Place Glass in Cambridge, Massachusetts). I researched, called contacts made through Haystack and eventually landed a flameworking internship months later where I was told I could exchange work hours for studio time. I thought it would be life changing. On my first day I was told I was not allowed in the hotshop because I was hired for flameworking not hot glass. My dreams were crushed, but I did not give up. I decided to apply to both Penland and Haystack in hopes of receiving maybe one scholarship. I never could have dreamed of receiving both. I received a full scholarship to Haystack and though I still need to cover travel expenses and studio fees it's certainly a lot closer to where I live than North Carolina.

Someone asked me: "Why not just go to Haystack?" Well, I've been told many times that being a competent glass blower is mostly muscle memory and practice, practice, practice. Currently, I don't have free range access  to a hot shop. Nor do I have the funds to rent studio time or pay for regular classes. However, I've heard through the grapevine that there will be a hotshop opening up in the next couple years not far from where I live. I plan to apply for a job there when they open. I want to teach others about hot glass. During my first time at Haystack my workshop teacher Sarah Jaeger said, "As a teacher I have no secrets. My job is to share generously all that I know." I've never thought more seriously about teaching than after my first day at my internship when I realized I don't ever want anyone else to feel like I did. I don't want hot glass to be unattainable for someone as passionate as I was (and am) about it. Teaching is a gift. I want to give that knowledge to others. 
Attending both Penland and Haystack this summer will get me well on my way to the experience I need to follow through with dreams of working with and sharing hot glass with others. It will also help to nurture a personal goal of someday mixing glass with ceramics.

I'm a single mother of two beautiful girls. I'm chosing to follow my passions because I want to show my daughters a life worth living and, even though I'm usually a very private person, I feel it's important for you to know the following information because it's also a driving factor on why I choose to not back down from accomplishing my dreams.
Three years ago I walked away from what started out being a perfect relationship but ended up being an extremely toxic and abusive relationship. Walking away and starting over with two kids was more difficult than words can express. I'm sharing this information not for pity but because I want you to understand what drives me to continue moving towards my dreams despite the financial struggles and hardships I've encountered. I want to show my daughters that success is attainable without having to tolerate being mistreated by a partner. I was so scared to leave, I didn't think I could do it but I did, and I am. 

Just a couple months before I left, my oldest daughter (who was seven at the time) asked me if I "had all the money in the world what would I do?" I was focused on cooking dinner so I just started listing off things I wanted to accomplish or places I wanted to go. Places far from that darkness my life had become. I didn't even realize she was writing the list down on a pile of napkins that were on the kitchen table. The first two pages of the list are pictured below. Blowing glass is listed on the first page/napkin (right  under "going to Hawaii") and going to Haystack and Penland are listed on the second.

I believe that everything happens for a reason. I found the list not long ago and though at the time it was just a fun thing my kiddo was doing, to me it now means so much more. It's a list of things that can be reality because I chose to protect my girls and leave an abusive relationship. I chose to take a stand and I told myself I was worth it. When my daughters look at me, I want them to see a woman that was strong enough to walk away from a toxic situation and through hard work and dedication was able to accomplish her dreams.

The workshops are scheduled for the first and second week of July and then the last week of August.

More than half of the money ($1700) will cover the tuition payment for Penland (due no later than June 7th). The rest of the money will go to airfare and other travel accommodations and studio fees, which, for hot glass at both schools is going to be around $300.

I'm grateful for anything you can do to help me during this time. Please share with your friends or family. And if you've read this far down, thank you, I appreciate the time you've given to read my story.
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Bonnie Farren
Henniker, NH

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