We had the good fortune of connecting with Cathi Milligan and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cathi, can you share a quote or affirmation with us?
The things I do need to improve the quality of my life. And if it can benefit others as well, even better. No harm should be done. What I have noticed in my life is that if I don’t pay attention to whether something I may want to do or don’t do, will improve the quality of my life, it usually doesn’t. Once I put my focus on that goal, than a sane choice can be made. I have a tendency to act quickly on things, and then I miss the moment when I should hesitate, and ask the question, will this improve the quality of my life? I think this is something that is lost on quite a few people out there. We would all make better decisions if we paused to ask that simple question. If it is yes, then you ask, will anyone be harmed? If the answer is no, then proceed. How does this relate to my businesses? I have made plenty of “bad” decisions, whether it be my glass business, The Glass Studio, or my publication, LA Art News, but because I regularly check in to the main question, I can figure out the best way to approach my various situations with grace and integrity. Fortunately not all on my quick decisions turn out poorly, or I would actually stop doing that. The thing I do like most about this a question being a staple in my life, most of my decisions and choices are driven by my passions. That’s the best part.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Glass is my creative focus. It started with glass beads and jewelry making, which has been a life long passion. I first learned jewelry making when I was 5 and began collecting beads when I was 9. More jewelry making in my tweens/early teens, even selling some things. Fast forward to the early 90s and I had the opportunity to learn glass bead making. I was hooked. Glass beads have gotten my on TV quite a few times, on a variety of craft shows. I’ve been fortunate to get a book deal out of that, so I wrote a how-to book on macrame. Yes, macrame. My teenage jewelry years were spent at a store called Macramenia, that was on Pico near Westwood Blvd. In 2010 I opened a brick and mortar glass shop called The Glass Studio. It’s been over 10 years. I teach glass bead making, kiln forming, glass blowing, as well as a number of jewelry making techniques. I sell my wares through my studio, my web site, and through etsy. I the midst of all that glass I thought it would be a good idea to start an art newspaper that focused on Los Angeles art and artists. We were in print for over 6 years, which is challenging in a world that is more and more digital. The wonderful thing about the paper, LA Art News, is that I met so many cool artists and saw the most amazing art at art fairs, galleries, museums, and other venues, that host art events. My printer went out of business and the paper went online only. It’s in flux as I am too. A conversation I’ve had for many years, with many artists is the need for cool art spaces that are affordable and an artist can stay in for a while. Displacement is a very disruptive thing for artists and can really hamper an artist’s career. As I move into the real estate portion of my life, I want to create spaces artists can buy so they can invest in themselves. Fresh dreams. Still plan to make glass. Have to.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I have been a tour guide for many people throughout the years, whether it be friends or family. I love where I live, Highland Park, so we would start here. Great food at Kitchen Mouse, Burgerlords, King Taco (Cypress Park, which is right next to Highland Park). I love to show architecture so downtown is a good cruise through. Disney Hall is a must see. Back to food. Philippe’s French Dips, Sue Hiro for yummy Japanese food. Bad Son Tacos over at the Korean Market in Little Tokyo. Art is a must see. MONA in Glendale, cause of my glass passion and it’s a cool place. MOCA. Getty. Galleries. I love Santa Monica. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. Palisades Park is one of my favorite places in the LA area. The north side, in the residential areas. Food there? The Lobster. A cruise out to Malibu is always nice. And then off to my studio, my favorite place in LA. Let’s melt glass.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am fortunate to have many people that can get a shout out for one reason or another. My partner of over 32 years, Jack, gets the biggest shout out since he’s put up with me throughout my crazy pursuits. An artist himself, he understands that we’re just kind of crazy and that’s ok. Now when I think about the critical moments that lead to advances in my careers, there are the people that showed me just enough of how to do something that allowed me to figured out how to go to the next level. That includes showing me just enough on the computer so I could get my first computer graphics job. Who knew years later I would publish a newspaper focused on the arts. There are the people that I don’t know have helped me. The recommendations that maybe lead to a TV appearance that lead to a book deal. Yes, these things happened. And this is how long term relationships build, as well as reputations and experiences. In my current up to date life, I’ll call a shout out to blacksmith Heather McLarty, who I have been so fortunate to work with on a number of projects, and someone I can call a friend. She recommended me for this shout out thing. Ha! My glass partner in crime, Zoe Topsfield, blows glass with me and shares a crazy interest in the magical material that is glass. Another angel is Liz Smith, who helped get me into this glass mess by investing in my dream. My dreams are morphing currently as I ease myself into the real estate world. I want to combine my love of art and help to create creative spaces for creative people. Ha! We’ll see how all of that goes. And all the other wonderful people that make my life so good, a shout out!