essential vintage for the warm glass artist

Or: this is how you can make your own frit!

Frit is crushed glass (= lovely picture from combustion glassworks!)that you can use to decorate beads with, or sprinkle on glass pieces to be fired in a kiln (with fusing). It’s a very thankful technique, it gives nice, organic results even without a lot of practise! I had to delve into my archive (it’s an aarghh-ive actually, hehe) to find a good picture with a bead with frit decoration on it. It’s one of my first from 2005, from when I just used a plumber’s torch: effetre transparant pink (“rosaline” I call it) + ivory frit…(on a piece of flat polished rose quartz!) (click to see full size!)

So…what’s with the vintage and how do you make frit?!
It’s so simple. I know you can buy ready made frit and frit melanges, but it’s so much more enjoyable if you make your own AND indulge yourself in some necessary vintage/antique shopping as I did yesterday morning! 😉

You see, the key ingredient of this recipe is an old coffee grinder (1), preferably one with a cat and an umbrella (because that’s just wicked). Of course you need the glass -in this case a piece of effetre transparant cobalt rod (4), but it works with any kind as long as you can make the pieces that go in the grinder small enough -hence the other tools: a rod cutter (3) and a glass nibbling pincher (2) that I normally use for my Tiffany/leaded glass work to get hold of the small bit of glass and to snap it off the rod. Try to cut the pieces as small as you can, under 1 cm length. It’s nearly impossible to snap them off with your bare hands so use the pincher as a lever and protection for your hands!

As for the grinding, it seems to work best if you just put one or two pieces in it, and add bit by bit as you go. Also, look for a coffee grinder that has a closable lid -you don’t want glass fragments flying your way!

The result (5) is what you can see in the plate (note: this has to be vintage too of course… 😉 ) – it’s frit of all sizes, from chunky bits to dust. If you wish you can sift them, or use it as it is!

As for the rest, I’ve been doing all sorts of stuff lately except spending time in front of the torch or in my goldsmithing studio, instead I’ve been doing some necessary reorganizing of my home… It’s funny how one decision –of installing a rocking chair– starts a chain reaction of things that need to be done! And there’s no way to postpone them, it’s so small here that everyting has to fit perfectly. Well, that’s the charm of my tiny cottage…

Right now I’m living with the contents of two book cases piled on the floor so there’s just a path to get from on side of the living room to the other. The big carpet that almost covered 2/3 of my living room before is lying partly folded, in the middle of the “path”. I want it gone, but there’s the small detail of the piano standing on it, way too heavy for me to even move, so I’ll have to ask a professional piano mover to do it…

I hope this can be done before September. I’m starting the goldsmithing course @ Syntra Kortrijk then and I hope to dedicate myself more to my art!

Last school year was pretty hard with my new job (oh, I totally forgot: they found a way for me to stay a couple more months, weeee! 😀 ), library school and my new glass studio, redoing my site, opening a web shop, etc… I felt quite scattered at times. There’s so many projects that are still awaiting their creation! I’ve been itching to make bigger pieces again, sculptural or stained glass windows.

Like the mysterious “project 2008” I’ve been hinting of: I first got the idea when I heard about the Canvas Collectie in January, a new national art competition. Had plans for a light object I’d be meaning to create since ages, it seemed, but I quickly realized that that competition wasn’t really a forum for me (my art isn’t exactly provoking or controversial -all I really want is create “a thing of beauty”, and you know your Keats. I’m only a century too late to hop on the Arts & Crafts/Jugendstil/Art Nouveau train, but that’s ok, I’ll find my own way!), and I didn’t have enough time to finish it anyway. So that’s one pile of sketches and a handful of small test thingies in glass and copper.

Then I had the bug for making a new stained glass window for my cottage: again, plans, sketches, colour schemes… and that’s it.

Then another idea, also one that has been simmering in my brain for some years: a stained glass window with which I can combine several glass techniques, both warm and cold… Well, at least that one is under way. Although it will probably take some more months before I can actually start!

Now the last one is the microcosmos glass garden, an idea I really want to elaborate more! I took this picture of the prototype to remind myself to keep working on it -it will probably take me to strange new places, like collaborating with other craftspeople…and who knows what else! LOL.

That aside, I also have a handful of necklaces for the different collections waiting to be finished…

Life as an artist is soooooo hard!

😉

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