13 years ago I hit rock bottom. I lost almost everything I held dear when I finally escaped from an abusive relationship. Gone were the home that I loved, the business of my dreams, my beloved dogs, the network of friends and family that surrounded me.
Freedom sometimes looks like this: trauma, homelessness, poverty.Roberta De Caro
In this time of need I don’t know what I would have done without the help of a wonderful woman called N. who hardly knew me at the time, and who drove to Seven Sister tube one night at the end of October 2010, to collect a broken woman holding a baby and a suitcase.
N. gave me a place to rest and recover. It didn’t matter that me and my baby were sleeping on the floor in her living room. We were safe and warm, and fed. It was thanks to her incredible kindness that I was able to pull myself together and restart a new life.
It was through this experience that I started working with glass thanks to another wonderful woman, Zoe, who introduced me to fused glass out of pure generosity. She gave me a quick demo, her old tools and some scrap glass, and offered me to fire my work in her kiln until I got my own. I was smitten from the word go. Thanks to these two women’s acts of kindness I rebuilt my life.
With the gift of creativity, I was able to transform it into the life I love: being an artist and offering in return opportunities to work creatively with glass to others. Ten years later I started running a project called From the Fragment to the Whole, which is ongoing, where I invite survivors of domestic abuse to share their stories through the materiality of glass, smashing it to pieces and then putting the pieces back together again, and in so doing turning the cracks into beautiful features of the works.
This post is in collaboration with Art Can.