Updated: May 5
Hello All, and I would like to welcome everyone to our first edition of the "The RefCheck Community Newsletter"!
Over the past several months, we've had the opportunity to meet so many different people in the community and learn more about them than just the Instagram pages and work we see at a surface level. Through this, we've found so many amazing stories, hidden gems, and uncovered topics everyone is talking about. That inspired us to launch our first newsletter to be able to feature and shed light on all of our community's amazing work and stories.
With that said, it is with great pleasure to introduce you to our first segment: Artist of the Week featuring Mike aka Scratched Glassworks.
Mike was in the restaurant business and loved drawing as a hobby before he was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2012. Around that time, he started experiencing physical ailments, which took his life for a turn forcing him to step away from the restaurant business and put his passion for drawing to a halt forever. Distraught with this unforeseeable diagnosis, Mike had a hard time finding a way to bounce back from this diagnosis until his wife suggested out of curiosity, "why don't you try etching or art?" since Mike has always been into glass art, traditional fine art, and pottery of the alike. From there on out, Mike realized his diagnosis was not his sentence; it was a blessing for what his new future holds for him. Mike purchased a sandblasting and etching kit, and from there on out, he couldn't stop. The passion consumed him. He started getting better at his craft, and his friends started hitting him up for designs on their pieces. Months later, he got the opportunity to start collaborating with other artists in the community, and from there on out, his name and work started growing. People started seeing him as "Scratched Glass" instead of Mike, but most importantly, not the person who was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and losing much of what, on the surface, seems to be everything. But Mike's main message is "You don't really know how strong you are until strength is all you have", and to not let a disease define who you are.
He thanks God for his diagnosis because he wouldn't be who he is today without it, and once he figured out ways to get around obstacles and realized that although he can't draw anymore, he can still etch, he started getting a drive again. Once that happened, Parkinson's wasn't the first thing on his mind anymore, and he was able to remove himself from his depression.
Taking a plain clear piece of glass and turning it into something amazing that the collector can connect with in a new way is Mike's favorite part about the process, and it doesn't cost the collector a fortune. He wants people to wonder how someone with Parkinson's could complete the etching work because although the process of etching can push his Parkinson's to the limit, hands shaking with pain, the most important part is that he did it no matter how long it takes. He views the pain as just a workout, and although he doesn't know if he'll be able to finish the design, each time he does, the end product is proof that there's a way to do things even if your body doesn't want you to do it.
Check out a collection and video below featuring the process and some of Mike's amazing work, and the links to his pages as well!