Encouraging Hospitality to People and Ideas


I believe one of the hallmarks of being human is creativity, and the success of large scale projects means being able to tap into people’s creative problem solving skills and fostering a sense of co-ownership in the team. The combination of teaching and working in glass factories were the formative experiences that led to this realization. For example, when I taught 3D Design, I not only introduced students to important formal concepts and hand skills, but also encouraged the growth of their creative problem solving by introducing them to lateral thinking using games and exercises developed by Edward de Bono. These activities helped them see creative problem solving skills, just like drawing skills, can be improved with practice. My students worked with me on many of my early public art pieces, and I encouraged them to look with me at problems in a variety of ways. Including them in serious discussions about design, fabrication, and installation not only built their confidence, but was also a big reason for the works’ success.

From my own experiences as a young artist and designer in Europe and the USA, I learned that interactions with experienced professionals, teachers and practitioners were priceless. I developed an understanding that a creative team in which everyone’s contributions are valued, was more successful than an hierarchy based on power. I learned that Hospitality and Respect are essential to successful collaboration. Educationalist and social scientist, Parker Palmer in his book, “The Courage To Teach”, describes how important it is for teachers to create an atmosphere of “hospitality to ideas”. In my experience, when this is present in all arenas, collaborators and other groups become more receptive to new ideas and taking creative risks. When people feel safe, it allows them to share what they’re thinking more effectively. When they know what they say is heard and respected, it strengthens their sense of being part of a creative community. Modeling hospitality is my responsibility. Trust is the path. Acceptance and encouragement guide the way. Understanding this approach and continually trying to implement it has been a major factor in my professional success. Students learned from working along side me, and I learned from them in return. Now I take those early lessons and implement them in my current practice.

Working Collaboratively

Teamwork is central to my artwork. As a person energized by working with others, early in my career I  co-developed and co-taught many university courses. This sense of working in a team has grown, and now the vast majority of my professional work relies on creative collaboration between local government officials and committees, contractors, other designers, engineers, fabricators, and clients. Including others’ ideas in the development and execution of these large scale projects is an essential part of my work. By valuing and implementing others’ contributions, I demonstrate the importance of team solutions, and model the benefits of sharing ideas. Most importantly, everyone becomes connected to the project and the work is much improved.

Professional Work

The broad scope of my professional work is a result of my training and interest in being an artist/craftsperson, (making gallery pieces), a designer (for hand glass factories) and a public artist (working on architectural commissions). Each of these activities can inform the other.

I have completed over a dozen public sculpture projects in the last 28 years. From Helios, in 1993, a seventeen-foot solid stacked glass sculpture that was built with the help of over a dozen students, to The 9/11 Memorial, in 2021, a piece fabricated by bo-mar industries and installed in the Oaklawn Gardens Community Building in Fishers, Indiana. Each artwork differed in scope and materials, yet in every project, inclusive creative problem solving and co-ownership have been key to their success.