SEATTLE — Breathtakingly beautiful, yet frighteningly fragile. That is the way of glass.
And of life.
"It's still heartbreaking because, generally speaking, when something breaks it's right at the end," said glass artist Minhi England.
England knows the struggles and triumphs of the hot shop, and of the world outside. Last year, she lost her husband and fellow glass artist, Jesse, to a rare form of cancer.
"We shared all parts of our lives together. We made art together, we lived together, worked together," she said. "An amazing life together."
One of their passions was helping to grow the Seattle company called Artful Ashes, which creates memorial glass art infused with the ashes of loved ones.
"Puts a little love into each piece," said Artful Ashes founder Greg Dale.
"She's just one of the kindest, most genuine human beings that's ever walked this planet," Dale said. "And Jesse was the same."
"It really brings a lot of fulfillment for me, healing and helping people with my passion, which is glass," England said.
The art of glass can also help heal the artist. From the depths of her grief, England has gathered her strength and taken on a new challenge before the eyes of the world.
"Jesse was the one that encouraged me to do it," England said. "That was his last gift to me."
She's joined the cast of a Netflix reality competition that she and Jesse used to watch together. It's called "Blown Away."
"Three or four months before he passed away he told me, 'You need to do this show.'"
The new season drops on Netflix this Friday, July 22.
"We are given a challenge and a time limit. We are all competing for 'Best in Glass.'"
Win or lose, Minhi has already triumphed. Through the pain of loss, she keeps building something beautiful, propelled ever forward by her partner in art and life.
"He really brought a lot of people together," she said. "These forces in life that otherwise maybe wouldn't have come together. And now that he's gone I think that a lot of that is still here with us."