Rex Cravat (August 11, 1947 - September 11, 2001) was a good friend of mine. I met him in 1997, when he accepted me as his student and friend. I was lucky enough to live only a little over an hours drive away from where he lived in Lambertville, NJ. Rex Cravat was a most gifted master of glass. I doubt that his masterpieces can even be copied by the most skilled glass workers living today! The beauty he created was a measure of the beauty inside this human being now
gone (Image: Rex with birds
and nest). He was generous to a fault. He was an extremely peaceful gentle person, always doing for the people around him even to his own expense, financially, physically and emotionally. He was driven to produce the beauty he saw in his mind and felt in his heart amongst it all, through skills he always pushed to the limits for most of the years of his
life (Image: Rose with babies breath). In the few years I knew him he rarely went even a day without working glass until that last few weeks. The world has lost a kind, open minded, sensitive, loving, creative,
and innovative being. Not surprising he left just a few hours before the worlds loss of so much human life due to evil, he was the opposite.
He is not with us now because he couldn't cope any longer with out. Like many gifted masters throughout history, Rex lived with out much in his life, especially in the last couple years. He lived with only the bare minimum of heat in the winter, he lived without new clothes, with out transportation for months at least one time I know of, with out most of the friends who loved him dearly nearby, with out security of knowing where his next meal was coming from at times, with out health insurance, with out a partner to love and be loved by, without even knowing where he was going to live next, and mostly with out financial or emotional support from the world around him. Being an artist never pays well when you are driven, no time for anything else. Yet still, Rex none the less spread joy and beauty to hundreds while getting so little in return (Image: Bound Together). He had no idea how many people he touched, how many loved him, or that he was so very loveable. Only a driven artist knows the deep seated feeling of value of self, relative to the value of the art they create (determined by society). He managed to make a living and he didn't require much. But physically he needed thousands just to get out of pain and return to health as his body had grown old from 30+ years of living with out many comforts. Although he didn't complain much, I knew he lived in pain, more than just physically. He didn't know his value to others, more than the scraps he was tossed from what he produced in the physical world. But he sure left behind a legacy of beauty in the hearts of everyone who met him (Image: Butterfly and rose).
You can see visual evidence of his direct effect artistically and as a teacher in my life (only 4 short years), in the 'hot glass sculpture' link found in the hot glass sculpture link of this sight.. Rex's influence can clearly be seen there, and none of it would exist without him. He was a patient teacher who loved what he did and all the people it brought to him. In two of the pieces (horses and angel) his hands literally saved them for me when I would have lost them for sure.
Rex died with only $6 dollars total. A glass sculpture that he sold for $80. the week before he died, that exact same piece sold for $1,200. the week after he died. Why is beauty we no longer can have more of, worth so much more? Why has history traditionally deprived the creator of art? I hope everyone understands this loss is because beauty expressed artistically (other than music and some other lucky few) is so not rewarded with even the respect of others let alone financially, in our society. I hope everyone who sees art they love remember and support if they can, however they can, those living now that give their lives to the beauty they must express, especially those that keep creating in their older years after a life bent towards mastery (Image: Sentinel). Tell with your words and financial support.
The day Rex died the world changed. Since then millions of dollars have been given to help the lives of those directly effected by evil. I propose that everyone bring to their lives the beauty they like, created by those that must, and help spread joy, not just combat evil. Perhaps someday society will give more response to the power expressed in creativity, often in toil while those doing it live without, rather than just responding to the forces of evil. We may not be able to prevent the loss of life because of terrorism, but we can sure support with our likes and finances those that give their lives to creating beauty, and not lose masters like Rex at the tender age of 54. The most honor you can give to Rex, yourself or anyone is to give to joy and beauty rather than fear and remorse, always.
(Additional images: Dog and pheasant, Eagle, Lebitz bear, Pink bird nest.)
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This page last updated November, 2001.