Remembering Bill Rayburn
by June Dee Patterson, PH.D. San Antonio
Nov 01, 2012 | 856 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print

How sad I feel on learning of the death of one of the truly great people who influenced my life.

I knew Bill Rayburn for only a brief time about 20 to 25 years ago. I was privileged to take a class in crystal, glass, and porcelain at Nora’s Glass Nook while I was living in Kingsville.

Twice a week I drove the 45 miles to study under him, his wife Nora, and a chemist. What I learned from him about glass was amazing and has enriched my life in a profound way. More important, however, was the influence he had on my philosophy.

At the end of the class, I wrote a paper describing glass as a metaphor for life and it was this insight that so strongly influenced my thinking. People are like glass; life experiences shape our character just as the molding and etching and cutting of glass and crystal is what makes it beautiful.

In blowing glass, gravity can work for you or against you. In the same way, life experiences can be either positive or negative in building our character.

In the class we talked often about making glass, particularly the glass blowing processes.

Recently I had an opportunity to observe as a young woman glassblower produced an exquisite small vase in magnificent ruby red glass at the glass blowing lab at Missouri University of Science and Technology.

The excitement of the experience and my renewed passion for the glass that I learned from Bill inspired me to write an essay for a class on memoirs.

I wanted to thank him and share this with him when I learned of his death. I am so fortunate to have met him. His influence lingers on with all those of us who knew him.

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