September 1, 2010


I went to my local mall today to take a look at some great leather bags Fossil sells for men. My husband has a variety of briefcases, but after watching him tote around his backpack for the past couple of months as he prepared for trial, I decided he deserved something nicer. And since he won his case, I bumped up my schedule.

These Fossil bags are vintage-y looking, and there was one messenger bag in particular that I've had my eye on for a couple of months now. By today I'd saved enough - including a paycheck on the way from PW - to actually buy one, although it wasn't the one I thought I'd buy. As I pulled into the parking lot this afternoon outside Nordstrom, it surprised me to see it so full. Then, while walking past the Michael Kors and Jimmy Choo on my way to the Fossil store, it struck me how out-of-whack I find this whole is-it-a-recession-or-isn't-it? People spending $600 for a 3G iPad, $700 on a pair of pumps, a thousand dollars on a handbag, and I'm stressing out about my comparatively inexpensive purchase so much that it took me two months to work up to it.

After buying the Dayton Messenger Bag and taking it to my husband's office to surprise him, I realized I'd gotten an email from Austin Art Glass, the gallery where last winter we bought three gorgeous pieces we hung in our dining room. Being incredibly stoopid at times, I'd managed to break one last week, and immediately called the gallery about getting a replacement. (When we bought the pieces, Aaron Glass, the artist/gallery owner, told me if we ever broke one, they'd replace it.) I was stunned - and not in a good way - to learn that the gallery may be forced to close because business is so terrible.

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I am an art glass fiend. My husband and I had to actually put ourselves on a glass ban several years ago, only broken when I discovered Austin Art Glass in February. The pieces we bought are gorgeous, and incredibly affordable, and to think that the gallery may close had me asking myself...why in the hell are people running around spending so much money on brand name luxury items instead of buying amazing artisanal creations that bring true beauty into the world?

After I'd spoken to Aaron's wife last week, I emailed a jpg of our small installation, indicating which of the three pieces we'd like to replace (it's the beautiful teal one). Today's email from the gallery included a photo of an entirely new installation, with two pieces similar in color and shape to the ones I didn't break, along with a third piece to make up for the broken one. And the price tag attached to all three nearly broke my heart...they were willing to practically give it away.

I wrote back and said I thought they'd misunderstood my e-mail...I only needed one piece, not three, and would never want to take advantage of them, but if they were willing to do three for the price suggested, could they switch out the other two so we'd end up with five distinct in color and shape pieces? And, if they'd misunderstood and thought I'd broken all of them and we wanted replacements for each of the three - hence the great price - what price would they charge for replacing one and selling us two more?

A few minutes ago Aaron Gross wrote back and said they'd be glad to stick to the original price quote because they appreciated our support. He'll send us additional photos soon so we can choose.

If you live in Central Texas, drive into Austin and on SoCo (1608 South Congress, to be exact), visit Aaron Glass at Austin Art Glass. Or take a look at the online art gallery and give him a call. I'd suggest you "shop" via the Etsy store they've set up, but they haven't actually "stocked" it yet. He's incredibly talented, and if you have Dale Chihuly tastes and a regular person's budget, you can't go wrong. Let's see if we can't support his fantastic gallery.


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