Anne Karin Glass went to Brazil with the Peace Corps to set up an adult literacy program

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Brazil: Peace Corps Brazil: The Peace Corps in Brazil: Anne Karin Glass went to Brazil with the Peace Corps to set up an adult literacy program

By Admin1 (admin) on Saturday, June 23, 2001 - 4:23 pm: Edit Post

Anne Karin Glass went to Brazil with the Peace Corps to set up an adult literacy program

Anne Karin Glass


An artist. It's not what my mother wanted me to be. When I was ten, I asked her, "Mom, what should I do when I grow up?" She replied, "Anne-Karin, you should write novels." Books. I thought about that for awhile, thought about what I might write about..., "Mom, I don't have enough to say to write a novel." "Well, then, write short stories."

My father taught Industrial Design at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago when I was a child. I spent my summers there in classes where I painted and formed plaster and clay and built sculptures out of rope and hanger wire and other found materials. I always liked building things. I made cats out of socks and jewelry out of wire and nails. In high school Donna, Terry and I set up a business to make art objects. Our studio was in Donna's attic. There I made sculpture out of driftwood and other found objects while my partners hung out at the pool. I liked making sculpture; they liked sunbathing and socializing. Our business never got out of the attic but it was a productive summer for me.

In college I started as an art major, but personality conflicts with some of the faculty in the Art Department convinced me I should switch to English. My mother was relieved, believing that writers had better opportunities to do well than artists. She was even more pleased when I later changed my major to Journalism, a field in which I could get a salaried job. As a member of the journalism department I was required to write for the school paper. My beat was the Young Democrats. I found politics to be completely boring. In fact, the only course I enjoyed in Journalism was Typography. When I announced at home that I was changing my major to Anthropology, my mother despaired. From her point of view, Anthropology was even less practical than Art.

After graduating I went to Brazil with the Peace Corps. Setting up an adult literacy program seemed to me to be a valuable contribution to my community but I was frustrated by the mayor who had more to gain by keeping the people illiterate. To keep myself occupied I started making jewelry out of leather and hinges and nuts and bolts and I gave my bracelets and earrings and pendants to my friends who wore them. People started coming to me to buy my jewelry. I ended up setting up a small leather working factory and giving steady employment to my teachers, the shoe-makers who worked as day laborers when there was work. We made bags and belts. They produced my designs.

Upon my return to the US, I entered graduate school and earned a Master's degree in Linguistics. I got a part time job teaching ESL and I also taught several classes in soft sculpture at the YMCA. I continued to create sculpture in a variety of media. Some were commissions; one was in a juried show of Chicago artists at the Art Institute of Chicago and was pictured in the Tribune.

At the invitation of Peace Corps friends, I moved to San Francisco in 1973, just in time to catch the tail end of the hippy movement. I made my living first as a sign painter and then as a printing broker. Currently, I have a private practise as a Learning Specialist and help individuals with perceptual and cognitive skills. I continued making sculpture until I ran out of space. Then I started to work in two dimensions, drawing and painting the human figure. My walls are covered and so are my cabinets and closets. If, in fact, a picture is worth a thousand words, perhaps my mother was on to something when she told me to be a writer. If I expressed my creativity verbally instead of visually, I could store all my ideas on my computer and I'd have room for my personal stuff in my cabinets and closets. But I still don't have enough to say to write a novel. And, as always, I feel compelled to create visual images.

Anne Karin Glass

© 1994 - 2001 Anne Karin Glass

Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.