Posts Tagged ‘lead’

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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This is the finished peacock made with the fused bits from the other day. I’m pretty happy with it, but I wasn’t until I’d blacked it. I thought I’d hold off for a little and mull it over. After all, once done, it can’t be undone (at least, I don’t think so). In the silvered state it was so-so in the daylight, but began to look really bilious under artificial light, so the dread decision “to blackit, or not to blackit?” was easy in the end. I think I will still add a lead frame around it, but for now, it can hang in the kitchen as it is. A bigger one combining fused and leaded glass would look spectacular in a door, say. Maybe one day.

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