Melanie Leppla has worked with glass since graduating from Rochester Institute of Technology with a BFA in 1986. Honors include two fellowship grants from The Creative Glass Center of America and a fellowship grant from the New Jersey Council for the Arts.
Leppla’s work is collected by individuals and institutions worldwide, including the Museum of American Craft, National Museum of Art (Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institute), New Orleans Museum of Art, and the Musee des Artes Decoratifs (Lausanne, Switzerland) among others.
These cairns, born in heat and light, represent accomplishments, knowledge and experience gained, difficulties overcome, sanctuary and guidance for pathways yet to be traveled.
Cairns, man-made piles of stones, have an ancient history, dating back to the Bronze Age. Important markers in many societies, cairns have served to guide travelers, memorialize the departed and commemorate events, both significant and trivial. Hikers add stones to cairns on mountain tops to mark their conquering the summit. This custom may have originated in Scotland where it is traditional to carry a stone from the bottom of a hill to place on the cairn at the top. Stupas in India and Tibet probably began as simple piles of stones and now mark the resting places of Buddhist saints and lamas. In Scandinavia, cairns, often painted white for visibility, are used to guide sailors into safe harbors.
Whether commemorating an achievement, hoping to guide someone in the right direction or protecting and sanctifying the remains of what has passed, cairns have held deep significance for millennia.
*Each purchase includes a note card briefing the history and significance of cairns. Forms and colors may vary slightly.
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