Time for a New Mantra

In the fused glass world there is a mantra, "Never refuse to refuse." It's a catchy phrase, but I think it is often bad advice. I am not talking about the times when your painting needs additional highlights or line work, the powder fired too light in color, or one more design element will complete the composition. I am talking about things that go wrong. You drop a favorite (and expensive) piece of glass and it breaks into pieces. Your glass thermal shocks during firing. The layup of your design results in a large bubble. You know, the things that we, as glass artists (and likely many non-artists), look at and immediately recognize as a mistake that someone tried to repair. 

I'm sure some of you are saying, "But...Kintsugi!" Yes, Kintsugi. Originating in Japan, likely in the 1500s, as a means to repair ceramics that emphasized its imperfections rather than hide them. I have seen stunning Kintsugi art, both as a means of repair in older vessels and as an intentional design choice by the artist. If you can indeed create something more beautiful in its brokenness than when it is whole, then by all means, proceed. However, if your attempt at salvaging a piece looks like someone dropped a bowling ball on it and refired, it may be time to rethink your approach. 

"Never refuse to reuse

Glass is expensive. I am not suggesting that you head straight to the waste bin with an unhappy accident. I am urging you to explore how a piece can be reused. There are many ways to reuse a failed project successfully: 
  • As an intentional design element - look for areas that can be used as a part sheet for a new design. Sky windows, anyone?  
  • For frit 
  • For puddles 
  • Break into smaller pieces for casting (for the cheese plate above, I used scrap, but it's also a great use for a failed project)
  • Look for areas that can be used for jewelry
These are a few suggestions. I've listed resources below that may help you get started. 

We all work hard to create our art, develop our skills, and gain recognition as an artist (even if it's just among our family). Create with intention and ensure that you will be proud when you sign your name to the finished piece. Never refuse to reuse! 

Happy fusing! Dana


Check out https://fusedglassbooks.com/   You will find a variety of books that inspire reuse:
  • Sky Windows and More
  • Beyond Frit Stretching
  • Lace and Yarn
  • Stack Melts
  • Waste Not! (multiple books)
  • Ultimate Fused Glass Puddles
  • Designer Sheets (1 & 2)
  • Fused Glass Mesh & Trough Melts

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