Neon Legacy

Growing up I'd come home from school everyday and run into the garage where i'd find my mom in her workshop bending neon sign glass tubes over a fire.I would sit in there with her for hours watching with fascination as she shaped those glass tubes into art pieces. Creating 3 dimensional glowing images for her clients.
I got to witness my mom take her creative abilities and make a business out of it. She apprenticed for a short amount of time, before she took that knowledge and built her own glass bending shop from the ground up, all by herself! Driven by the desire to be available to raise my brother and I.
When we weren't in school she would take us on neon sign installs. Tattoo shops, pizza shops, karate academies, you name it! She made neon signs for businesses up and down the tri state area and beyond.

I will never forget the looks on peoples faces when they saw a black woman with 2 children and a ladder walk into their establishment telling them she was Empress Signs and was there to install their neon. Doubt and disbelief was written all over people's faces. My mom would get on her ladder, get up in their ceiling, rewire their electrical to feed it to the transformer that would then power the neon sign that she mounted in their window.
For the grand finale, she would pull the transformer cord and BAM their entire window lights up with her art. Jaws always dropped. SHE DID THAT, with her little helpers, of course.
I got to witness this over and over for 14 years of my life. 
Unfortunately with the changed times, neon signs took a back seat when cheap plastic LED's arrived on the scene. My mom wanted to stay ahead of the direction of advertisement and shifted her entire business towards print work but I can see how it lacks her artistic fulfillment.

Fast forward to today, I've settled into a home that my mom and I spent 2 years remodeling. 2 miles from the home I grew up in, where my mom still lives.
I've been fantasizing for years about taking up her neon bending legacy and now I'm in a position in life to take it on! She is also ready to teach me everything she knows! 
Mom still has most of her equipment. We just need the facility.
With these funds we plan on building a 24x24 glass blowing workshop on my property and reopening empress signs, together! I can then follow out my dreams of making glowing colorful neon sign sculptures and help mom with fixing and revamping local neon signs, that she still gets calls about to this day! We are going to keep the beautiful art of neon alive and take it to new levels!

Here's the portfolio of my mother's past neon sign creations:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/q9ER9AXeVjuGWu3D9

Donations

  • Zach Young 
    • $100 
    • 22 d
  • Christopher D’Emilio  
    • $25 
    • 25 d
  • Samuel Zettell 
    • $50 
    • 25 d
  • soni laseau 
    • $20 
    • 26 d

Organizer

Lauraine Cofer 
Organizer
Lindenwold, NJ

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