Back in the spring of last year, Sherri Wexler contacted me to propose the idea of making a piece of glass for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Gala Auction. The Wexler family contributes a good deal of time and effort on the foundation's behalf, and inviting artists to make work for the auction helps raise money for the JDRF.
Together we came up with an idea to make a pair of pieces, based on my recent "reliquary jar" series that responded to kids' reactions upon being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. We asked them to say the first word that came to mind when they thought of their diagnosis. Roughly half of the responses were negative: "SAD", "SCARY", "ROLLERCOASTER", "ANGER". The other half were more positive, with a sense of determination: "COURAGE", "RESPONSIBILITY", "HOPE", "CARE", "CURE". Since a Type 1 diagnosis marks the beginning of a journey, I used the symbol of a ladder to convey personal ascent and descent, depending on one's attitude. The bright ladder jar was etched with the kids positive associations (ASCENT), and symbolized growth, while the dark ladder jar was etched with the negative ones (DESCENT) and was more austere. The pair together represented the dualistic feelings a person has that is coping with diabetes.