Sunday, June 3, 2007

A Visit Home

We went to a fundraiser Friday night for Project Transitions (a hospice/housing organization for people with HIV & AIDS). We always donate a piece of glass art or two for the silent auction, and I was inspired to work on glass again for the first time in months. Good timing, too, since we have a booth at a festival next weekend and I have some pieces I've been meaning to finish forever. This is one of them. The technique is "reverse frit painting," which involves reverse "painting" with crushed glass--or "frit"--on the underside of the glass. I then fired the glass just enough to hold the frit, flipped the piece over, cleaned it, and added more frit to the top. It looks dull and hazy at this point because the frit is not fully fired, so the color hasn't come to its peak; and because I added a spray to the top to keep the glass from crystallizing ("devitrifying"), which can make the glass look permanently hazy and dirty. Once the piece is fully fired to about 1500 degrees, it will be much brighter and shinier.

This technique was invented, as far as I know, by a wonderful glass artist named Richard La Londe. I attended a workshop with him last year at his home on Whidbey Island in Washington (just outside of Seattle). It was an amazing trip and he was such a gracious host. Whidbey Island is beautiful, and it has a huge number of working artists--there's just something in the atmosphere that feeds the spirit.

Going back to my glass roots is nice, but I immediately feel the pressure of perfection; that little voice in my head kept repeating, "don't screw it up! don't screw it up!"

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