Be prepared, for in the search you may discover that it's about much more than just marbles.
In April, glass artist Chris Davis hid 10 marbles outdoors around the La Pine area, posted a few picture clues on the What's Really Happening in La Pine Facebook group page and sat back to see what would happen. The positive reaction was immediate. Today, The Great Marble Hunt of La Pine's Facebook group has more than 500 followers and just opened up to all of Central Oregon. It was obvious as we sat talking at a picnic table in Rosland Park how much the public enjoys this event. As soon as the clues were posted, comments began to roll in, and within a short time, cars—mostly filled with children—arrived in the parking lot to begin "hunting for something beautiful."
While the idea of hiding marbles is not new—the World's Biggest Marble Hunt had over 30,000 members in 2018—it's the mindset behind this particular one that makes it so unique.
The marble hunt was born after Davis' friend asked him to make marbles as wedding party gifts. He was given one year to make "mind-blowing marbles that "matched the frequency of each person, so that when they look into it, it's going to connect with them," Davis said. It was this level of passion and commitment that led to marbles all over his home—marbles on the work bench; marbles on the floor; marbles getting kicked and rolling around. It was time for Davis to lose his marbles.
When he made the decision to start giving away his pieces of art, he also found an apprentice in Hezakiah Mecham, who, with no previous glass working experience, had "heard about this guy who wasn't just fuming glass, he was fuming happiness...making art, just giving it away and he wanted it to be fun," he said, and had to meet him.
In case you, like me, are curious, SmokeCartel.com describes fuming glass as a "technique in which lampworkers vaporize silver, gold or platinum in front of their flame. This releases fumes that travel up the flame and bind to the surface of the glass."
Letting go of his marbles also gave Davis the inspiration to change his personal direction and to start following the "pursuit of happiness."
The Great Marble Hunt will only go through the summer—so if you need another reason to get outside and discover a place you haven’t seen, join the group and become part of the experience.
Today's optimism hasn't always been the way for either of these creative minds. Davis talks about how "mental health is one thing we all struggle with as artists," and not something that is openly discussed.
To combat the typical artist stereotypes, Davis's philosophy is to "help each other out and lift each other up...support each other as artists, because we already break ourselves down enough." Davis and Mecham have devised ways to bring artists together in a safe, supportive community and it might just be what the rapidly growing city of La Pine needs.
They envision a space for artists to teach classes; open studios so the public can see how grueling and beautiful making art really is (spoiler alert—it does not involve a "magic marble machine") galleries that think outside the box; counseling services; and a chance for those artists looking to get noticed, to get noticed. I asked Davis to choose the theme of this article. To that, he simply said, "Hope."
Every Wednesday and Saturday the pair takes their glass orbs outside, finds a serene hiding spot, adds a few pictures and a cryptic clue to post on The Great Marble Hunt of La Pine 2021 page for the curious to find, because like Davis says, "Simple pleasures and simple details make up the most beautiful things in life. "
The Great Marble Hunt will only go through the summer—so if you need another reason to get outside and discover a place you haven't seen, join the group and become part of the experience. If you are lucky enough to locate a marble, take a few moments to fully look at the glass. Turn it all the way around to appreciate the ways it changes. Reflect on the alchemy of pure love and energy that someone you may never meet has gifted. Then look directly into the glass—you might find it goes deeper than you were expecting.