Posts Tagged ‘Frank Lloyd Wright’

mirror after flwIt’s finally back from the exhibition, and ON THE WALL.

Cracked slightly in two places due to inexplicable mishap, but not too obviously. I used to have some spare glass of the right color to repair it, but then I foolishly gave it away to someone who was drooling over it  for some random fairies or angels or some such, and now I don’t think I have enough left. So I’m praying I don’t need to bother (in addition to hoping to avoid the absolute pain that is renovation work).

mirror small

I’m also praying that it doesn’t fall off our rather terrible wall. Things have been known to. On the other hand, there was once, in that very spot, a large, plain and extraordinarily heavy mirror, so we might be OK.

Frank Lloyd Wright it ain’t, but it was the best I could do. I do think it’s actually quite pretty. The dark color is a deep winey purple, complemented by a wispy white semi-opalescent and you see those really small bits between the purple and the white? They are clear with a crinkled texture that reflect the light. I love it. Sorry Frank.

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I’m getting very excited about my Frank Lloyd Wright mirror (or do I mean, my ‘Apologies to Frank Lloyd Wright’ mirror?).

Frank Lloyd Wright mirror in progress

The first thing I should say is that I was astounded at how fast this project came together. Good old geometrics. Fast, fast cutting. Slow, slow deciding on the final color scheme though: there was an abrupt change of plan in the larger (now purple, once opal/iridescent white) squares and the (now dusky pink, once planned as clear textured) area immediately bordering the mirror. Now it is the way it is, I can’t imagine what I was thinking of before. I suppose it’s proof that you need to keep  your thinking flexible, and that it might – just might- be a good idea to do a colored version of the initial sketch. Ahh…

The second thing is that leading up geometrics is both easier and harder than leading curves. It’s technically less complex, but boy, are any mistakes more obvious. Straight lines, anyone? Sure they’re straight? Quite sure that wherever you’ve used the “well, I didn’t cut that piece the right size but the lead will hide it” strategy, that strategy has really worked? Certain that, having carefully soldered the lead on the one side (taking pains to shove all the lines truly vertical as you go along), no “just slightly small”  pieces of glass are going to fall out as you turn it over to solder the other side?

The third thing is that I’m reminded quite how shockingly, embarrassingly, I love lead. I mean, I lurve it, I ♥ it. It is deeply, viscerally satisfying stuff. The way it bends, but without being floppy or flimsy; the just yielding bite it has when you cut it with the lead knife; the denseness of it. I am occasionally tempted to just try the tiniest nibble, despite the fact that I know lead poisoning is no joke, and I must resist the urge. But I wonder what it would be like…? Probably not at all bad. After all, the Romans used it to flavor wine, and one of the reasons it was always such a menace in paint was that children used to find that lead gave the paint an attractive (or not unattractive) sweetness unleaded paint apparently does not possess (which is why fewer kids now gnaw the skirting boards than they used to in the dangerous old days). But, I have to say, it is a delight to work with. And yes, I am good and careful to wash my hands before I go and pick up my little one from the on-site creche after handling it.

So, anyway: the mirror is nearly done. I have cemented one side, and cleaned it, and hopefully this week I’ll get a chance to cement the other side. Clean it, black it and bring that baby home. I can’t wait. Even though there is cementing to be done between now and then. And as much as I enjoy leading, I cordially loathe cementing. When they bring back slaves, can I have a cementing slave please?

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Kelvin ticked away happily last night (and him ticking off the degrees, all 1425 of them, up and down the scale is definitely one of my favorite all’s-well-with-the-world noises), and I grappled with the porcupine some more, and so the evening was passed. I decided both that the sock is not hideous, per se (it’s only the mangled-ness that makes it so), and that it’s going to be bigger than I thought (despite the swatch, Yarn Harlot). This is a blow, because I will have to give it to my husband, and his foot is bigger than mine (for which fact thank goodness, I suppose), and therefore more sock will need to be produced before I can call it done. I asked him how short was too short for a manly sock, and he very generously said that he’d wear ankle socks if I needed him to, but the idea of the Manly Ankle Sock may yet prove more wearable than the artefact. I started the heel. Fun, fun, fun.

The night was an unmitigated sleep disaster. I could say it was because I was distracted by Kelvin’s doings (and it is embarrassingly true ad childish of me, that I always sleep worse when there’s something in the kiln) or I could say it was because I was distracted by the matter of having scooped 220g of (allegedly) pure angora handspun on eBay for about the usual cost of 50g and was wondering what to make of it, but I can’t say that, because I’d have to admit to buying more yarn on eBay. I could alternatively say I was distracted by the two-year-old singing sweetly to himself for two hours (between three and five a.m.), or I could suggest that I was musing on the mirror I was planning to start this morning… Anyway, all I can certainly say of last night’s sleep was that it reminded me of the old Yiddish joke about the two old ladies complaining about the food at the resort in the Catskills: such terrible quality —and such small portions.

I checked the kiln first thing, as of old. I had got it on a bit early, while the kids were in the bath, so it was finished and cool enough to open before I went out. I thought I’d leave it a bit longer than I often manage (I usually open it as soon as the temperature drops to 200°) since the slab might- with luck, would – be thicker than the 6mm standard, and slower to cool, so I didn’t really want to beg for an entirely unnecesary thermal shock event. So, how was it? Since you ask, fine. Unexciting, but fine. The surface was slightly bumpy, but it’s actually quite nice, and I’ll be perfectly happy if I can preserve the effect through the slump firing. The overall color – or transparency – was good. There are a few bubbles, but not so many that the clarity is compromised. The colored frits are a bit dull: the cranberry pink is disappointingly flat, and the erbium pink tint is so subtle it’s practically disappeared. But erbium pink tint is like that – I know it is. I only get anxiety about it because it’s such an expensive color (the cranberry is too, now I think about it). It’s silly to use it invisibly. The disc is a satisfyingly thickness, and evenness across the plane. No thin bits, no holes. I think it will play nicely with the drop ring. So the cake ring mold worked like a charm. The lining with Thinfire, not so good. The paper fell onto the glass and it will have to be scoured, as there’s a powdery effect all around the edge now. Ah well: t least it didn’t bake on like kiln wash does. Next time I think I will try keeping it in place with a high-temp-wire paper-clip/kirby-grip-type arrangement. The gritty details: top temp 1425° for 25 minutes, and a hold at 985° for 45 minutes.

And today I started a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired square leaded mirror. More on that later. If I can lay my hands on the preliminary sketch, I’ll scan it in here. It’s very pleasant indeed to be playing with lead again. It’s such lovely tactile stuff. Mmmm.

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