Carry the Message of Hope

Oftentimes it is hard to stay positive in a world that seems inundated in negativity.  Where does this negativity come from?  We hear about it from others.  We witness on the news.  We here the sirens.  We see the blight.  It’s overwhelming.  Many of our thoughts end up coming from experiences and opinions from others.

But that is what sells news.  How boring would the news be if it focused on all the good humanity has to offer?  So we remain getting drowned in a sea of hopelessness day after day.  I do still feel that most of us humans living on this planet have a good heart; we just hear about the others.

But we have a choice on what we’re going to believe and how we’re going to look at the world.  Negative and bleak? or positive and hopeful?  I choose to see the good in people and I am fortunate to surround myself with genuine folk who want nothing for me but my well-being.  I choose to shut off the news and surf by the endless gossip and bad will that is on the internet.  I also choose to not believe everything I read or see because I know in my heart we are only exposed to what “they” want us to be exposed to.  There is so much going on in our government and in this world we are not privy to.  And for that I am thankful.

Today I choose to carry a message of hope, that most of us are still here for one another.  We still have compassion and empathy.  We still choose to laugh and be kind and be respectful of one another.  We still care about our planet and other countries.  We are all human beings.  Period.  We are mankind.  Period.

So I choose to express my hope through my art.  I am fortunate to be a stained glass artist who tries to create pieces that are thought-provoking and that will get your emotional juices flowing.  The good juices.  You still have them.  I try to create pieces that when looked at you can enjoy and get re-centered and be hopeful.  Yes!  There is hope for us!  There is light at the end of the tunnel!  We just have to not lower ourselves to a level that is beneath us.  Remain strong!  Open that door for someone.  Give them the eye-contact they deserve when you speak to them.  What about a smile or a greeting or, damn, how about a hug?  Who knows?  You might brighten someones day and, if the pay it forward, when you might be down someone just might brighten your day!

Much Aloha!  Dee Harris


Today…I Am Excited About Everything!

1_XcitedMos (wht)Where have I come from?  Where am I going?  Deesigns by Harris has gone through such growth these last three years of delving into a business of my own full-time.  It’s awesome to realize how much I’ve learned…about business…about art…about people…but most importantly, about me.


When I came into this new world of business I was again fresh in recovery after a few short relapses back into the depths of alcohol and drugs after over a decade of being clean and sober.  I, gratefully, didn’t have to hit a bottom where I no longer had a choice of whether or not I was going to use.  But the addiction was still there, and always will be, as it took over all of me, especially the pre-frontal cortex of my brain always yelling “More!”.  But I learned early on that it would not get better, it would not go away, so out of respect for this disease and out of caution for the progression of this disease, I reconnected to recovery fellowships.  Today I stay close.

Most of my art work at that time was recovery related starting with a heap of stained glass recovery triangles.  With beads.  Without beads.  With “Unity…Service…Recovery” engraved on the beveled triangles, and without.  With colored leaves and without.  Obsessive-compulsive I was, am, and always shall be.  I love selling these as I am carrying the message of recovery to someone who is doing the same.  We converse; we bond.  It’s awesome!


The healing of Hawai’i Island started to strengthen in me.  My designs and work started to take on the Hawai’ian theme.  Very nurturing.  Very calming.  Recently the flow of one of our volcanos has inspired me to create many volcano pieces of art.  Having had the gift of hiking down to the flow filled me with the spirit of Pele and her awesomeness.  Yes, this Island is healing and I am fortunate enough to eat it, breathe it, absorb it into every fiber of my being on a daily basis.

1_VolEruptMos.jpgGentle Breeze Koa FrameIMG_1835.jpg

I am very much taken with hands.  They talk to me.  Nurture me.  They are strong and carry an even stronger message.  So I have designed many a piece incorporating those Healing Hands.  Whose hands are on the face of El Capitan?  God’s?  An Indian’s?  What if those hands were those of a child? or of an elder?  The message would be entirely different.  And the radiant flowing lava hands of Pele creeping away from the volcano making new earth as we speak.  Very healing.  Very thought-provoking.
1_VolPrayHands (stucco)1_ElCapHands(G)Volcano Creeping Hand(G)





But I am so not always this deep spiritual-like person.  Most of me is fun and light and loony.  That’s why I absolutely love dismembering Barbie dolls, sawing the heads in half, and incorporating the pieces into art that brings a smile to your face.  But these pieces also carry messages of getting rebalanced and refocused and to lighten up.

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I am excited to wake up everyday, surround myself with the Hawai’i aina, and to work on whatever my Higher Power sees fit for me for the day.  It could be designing, or creating, or book work, or studying.  It’s all about growth and learning and doing what I am so passionate about.  Carrying a message of hope and beauty and fun through my art.

Mahalo for being part of this journey with me.  I shall continue writing this blog every other week and also a quarterly Deesigns by Harris Newsletter showcasing my recent accomplishments.  To visit my website, please visit  Aloha!


Why I Do My Art

   I recently was filling out an application in hopes to participate in the Pua Na Pua Art Festival, celebrating artists with and without disabilities.  One page of the application was The Artist Biography, including Art Education, Experience, and Past/Current Exhibits.  When I got to the section regarding Art Experience (Tell how long you have done this type of art, how long you have lived in Hawaii.  Who was your mentor?  What your art does for you personally and what you want to “say” in your art), it really got me to thinking…and, more so, feeling, why I do what I do with my art.

I have some quotes by Steve Jobs on my Vision Board that have really touched me.  I read and feel these words, no, these emotions, almost daily as I work out in my studio (patio).  Steve’s quotes are:  “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.  If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.  Don’t settle.  As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know the you find it.”  And “Design counts; don’t put out crap!”  Also “Value is different from ‘price’.”  Lastly, “Jump curves.  Not better sameness.”

Steve Jobs’ words encourage me when I start to doubt myself and my work.  I know, I feel that I am on some path that I am meant to be on.  It’s not the destination; it the journey (another quote I love).  So with that I continue on my journey, perhaps, not to greatness in the financial sense of the word, but to fulfilling a purpose with which I have been gifted.



I received my Bachelor of Arts Degree in Industrial Arts at Fresno State University in California in 1979, at which time I started my own stained glass business, Pane in the Glass.  In 1977 I participated in a Christmas Craft Fair in the Student Union Building selling stained glass Christmas ornaments.  I was hooked!   Stained glass is a self-taught art for me which has embraced my passion throughout the decades.  I strive to learn and experiment daily with this medium and it’s funner that hell (my major wasn’t English)!


I taught myself how to work with stained glass while in college in the late 70’s. When I moved to Kailua-Kona from Lake Tahoe in 2010 and experienced the healing and life of the Island, I restarted my stained glass business, Deesigns by Harris, part-time. Soon thereafter I experienced the “eye opener” of my life…a hiccup, turned belch, turned eruption! I experienced a relapse back into the dark hell of alcohol and drug addiction after over thirteen years of clean and sober sobriety. In a pinhole of weakness and defenselessness, I was offered a shot of tequila which shouted out at me so loudly that I picked it up and drank it. I was off and running again with the Devil, lying, cheating, hiding, and doing everything negative that goes against my every fiber. I tested what I had learned in the rooms of recovery that addiction is a progressive and fatal disease and I found that what I was taught was true. By the Grace of God, a Higher Power, the Universe, a Power Greater Than Myself, or whatever people call it, I found my purpose in life…WHICH I STRIVE TO SHARE IN MY ART…that there is light, hope, optimism, love and compassion. Today I am clean and sober with the protection and guidance of my Higher Power, and my dad who died alone of alcoholism in the gutters of Rhode Island. They have taught me that today I have a purpose which I never had before getting sober. I AM HERE TO CARRY THE MESSAGE OF LIGHT HOPE, OPTIMISM, LOVE AND COMPASSION TO whoever crosses my path…an addict, a depressed or lonely person, a battered woman, a kapuna or keiki…A HUMAN BEING IN NEED. And I am blessed enough to do this through my actions, my thoughts, my words, AND MY ART, on a full-time basis. I love my life. I love this Island. I love my sobriety and my gift! God is my mentor!

So that’s my story in a nutshell.  I can go on forever telling my stories of my six decades on this planet, and I shall in future blogs (I love to write as well as do my art).  Thank you for your time and interest.  My hope is that if one person can take away from my words, my writing, my art, my smile or hug, just one thing that brightens his/her day, I did good!

•                                                                                                                    Folsom FairLA Trade ShowBooth Front.JPG7:16:16 JAWms Craft Fair

Please visit me on my forever and overwhelming list of sights recommended I put together per successful artists and entrepreneurs:

•   •   •  (blog every two weeks)   •   •

…and more in the works as, by the way, I’m obsesessive/compulsive and an over-achiever.

Aloha for a couple of weeks.  Take care and enjoy life, Dee Harris                                                                                                                       (808) 825-1800