B 4

By Susan Amis

Today you are four years old. A time when you started thinking in a creative and lively way. There was no analytical thinking, no logic, just a pure unconscious mind. I suspect it is safe to say that each of you owned a box of colors. Some would call them Crayons™, but I prefer colors like a 4 year old. You probably had 12, 24, or the spoiled brat box of the 64-color assortment with the built in sharper, debuted in 1958. (I was 3)  The 48 count box had been out since 1948, when dinosaurs were still walking the streets.

I have been frozen at the age of four. When it comes to colors, I have a really large selection. To complement my colors I have coloring books to match each season and shape. All are age appropriate. If you have ever been a guest in my home for the holidays, I would have most likely asked you to re-visit your younger years and color a page for me. Many have found it impossible to be four again. It’s fun to watch. The people who intrigue me the most take coloring right back to their beginning. They make it fun. Mr. Vanilla, he is the worst! He goes back to a two year old lacking attention and even caring. Makes me very sad, but then again he is asked to color more than anyone else. When it comes to coloring, where do you think artists come from in the first place?

These thoughts came to mind while I was recently visiting Oakley, one of Cincinnati’s growing art districts, I gladly found that colors for children have changed. I felt as if I had become a saxicolous (my big word for the day). Colors, for children down Brazee Street, at the Brazee Street Studio are GLASS. When you put small children and glass together it usually means a broken glass of sticky apple juice or a dropped precious vintage tree ornament, or a baseball in the neighbor’s living room. Not at Brazee Street Studios. They have the School of Glass (SOG). Glass for children starting at age 3. They begin with kiln formed glass with smooth edges to create and energize their self-expression safely. I was able to watch the SOC “Storytime” class where the Brazee team pairs up with The Blue Manatee Book store of Oakley, and they make a glass creation related to the story. It was butterflies this day.

Sandra Gross, the owner of Brazee Street Studios, is quite a bellwether of the Oakley community. She renovated a Tool and Die factory, which operated from 1930-1980 and turned it into a Leed Silver Certified 21,000 sq. ft. green building. The rooftop is a solar panel system, the landscaping features a monarch butterfly conservation way station with a rain garden and even local bee hives. All this being said the first priority and main mission of Brazee Street Campus is education. Young, old, in-house or even an out-reach program that goes into schools. To think how many younger artists have started their creative juices flowing; not juices spilling. I could go on and on about the artist’s studios and Brazee’s newest endeavor, a website called HYPERLINK “http://www.c-linklocal.com” C-LINK that brings the best local creative talent to the marketplace. As they put it, “the best local creatives in one place”. Bravo to Brazee!

Maybe, just maybe, each of you have that little nugget of memory that brings a level of comfort to you when you think about your beginning. Maybe you need to buy a new box of 120 colors, go back and B 4.

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