Frit has many different applications that can transform ordinary fused glass pieces into extraordinary pieces of art. All it takes is a little forethought when designing your artwork, plus a steady hand and an eye for the extravagant.
Frit is ground fusible glass. It’s available in a variety of sizes including power, fine, medium, course and mosaic. Each size has its own special characteristics and uses.
Powder is great for filling in tight spaces and for a smooth appearance. Fine gives fast, even coverage and leaves a slight grainy look to the art. Medium fills larger areas well. But it can leave tiny gaps that allow the color of the base glass to show through. It leaves a granular pattern that resembles beach sand. Course is great for filling in large areas, but it also leaves spaces. I usually fill those spaces in with medium frit of the same or contrasting color. It’s also great for creating design accents and details like the dots on the dogs muzzle. Mosaic gives you fast coverage on large areas. It leaves a more stylized pattern that can resemble the veining in marble. I often use the different frit sizes in combination to achieve the specific look I want.
I love frit for its versatility. While sheet glass offers striking solid colors, frit in contrast can be used to make subtle color changes and add dramatic shading. The resulting artwork has a surprisingly beautiful, painterly quality that surpasses craft and lingers on the threshold of fine art.
Adorable pets and majestic animals are some of my favorite subjects for my fused glass art. Animal faces can be difficult to render using just sheet glass alone. The end result can be flat and lifeless. But with the application of frit, I can add highlights, shadows and intricate details that give the subject personality and bring it to life.
Meet Rocco, a spunky little French Bull Dog.
From the beginning the plan was to use frit to render this dog’s face. Frit would give me the flexibility to build the color gradually and add contours as needed to fill out the pup’s head.
Let’s build this little guy.
I started with a cute digital picture of the subject. The image is imported into the Glass Eye 2000 computer design program where I draw over the picture. Once the outline is done, I test different color combinations with the drawing program until something fun comes together. Then I move into the fabrication phase.
The first step is to cut the base layer. This project is built on an 8” x 8” piece of white glass. Then the blue background is cut to size using a full size paper pattern as a guide. I selected a high contrast, solid blue color for the background to frame in the dogs face and to contain the frit.
Wherever I want strong control over the line quality, the frit placement and the color of a specific design detail I cut the glass according to the pattern. The position of the eyes, nose and chin are critical. If they aren’t in the right place it throws off the symmetry. This can result in a bizarre, alien looking creature instead of an adorable pup. Here, I cut the blue background, eyes, nose, chin, ears and collar. I then grind the cut pieces to improve the shapes and remove any sharp edges. I clean and dry the glass then glue it to the white base with a small amount of fuser’s glue. At this point, I wait for the glue to dry so the pieces don’t slide around when the frit is poured on the glass.
Frit tools: I use a plastic spoon to apply the frit. Small, dry paint brushes are used to move the frit around and to blend the hard edges where two colors meet.
Once the glue is dry, fine yellow opal frit is poured on the white base. Shadows and contours are created with medium size, dark blue and black frit. Orange frit is added to round out the dog’s head and body. The strong colors are then blended with a dry paint brush to soften the hard edges. Pink frit is applied on the forehead and between the eyes for added interest and fullness. Medium bark blue frit dots are placed on either side of the nose for additional detail.
The assembled glass is fired to a full fuse temperature. The fused glass is then glued into a black frame fitted with a hook for wall mounting.
Pet themed designs are always fun to make. And drawing this type of pattern on the computer is easy. Remember, your drawing doesn’t have to look exactly like your pet. Give yourself credit for trying and enjoy the unique spin you can put on your own artwork.
This small format, 8” x 8” project is the perfect size to try this frit technique. There’s just enough space to get comfortable with frit without getting overwhelmed. I hope Rocco inspires you to give it a try. You’ll love the process and the results.
Quick tips for working with frit:
Don’t be skimpy. For strong color saturation and solid coverage, pile the frit up as high as the cut glass. If you are asking yourself, is that enough? Add more.
Use both transparent and opal frit to create contrast and increase visual depth.
Be meticulous about the cleanup. Brush any stray fit off the cut glass before firing.
Here’s the link to the software I used to draw this pattern. Glass Eye 2000 Design Software for Glass https://www.dfly.com
For more artistic tips and creative tricks for getting the most out of your frit please join me for my Fusing with Frit Webinar, this Thursday October 1, 2020.
Watch the Fusing with Frit Webinar YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/NTNMeg9IA9o
Keep creating. You’re doing great!
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Fusing with Frit Webinar
October 1, 2020
Watch the Fusing with Frit Webinar YouTube video here: https://youtu.be/NTNMeg9IA9o
Ramp up the visual intricacy of your glass art!
Clever glass fusers know that using strong line quality and bold color saturation in combination is an effective way to create stand-out works of art.
Now take such trustworthy techniques and sprinkle in gradient blends and subtle shading achieved using frit. You’ll be amazed just how quickly your artwork advances to a new, exciting level of sophistication.
In this comprehensive webinar, Lisa will show you how to apply several methods she employs to add the striking, painterly-quality she’s developed to improve the impact of your glass fusing projects.
I’ll demonstrate SEVEN projects in this Webinar, from sea turtles to flowering trees to beach scenes and more!
You’ll learn: how to evaluate a design to maximize the imagery, steps for successful fabrication and practical tips for building professional quality, finished pieces.
Along with my step-by-step instruction, you’ll also receive complete material lists and project-specific firing guides.
Sculptural Fused Glass, 4-Day, Hands-on Workshop
February 9-12, 2021
3 seats available. Register here!
Wesley Chapel, Florida, 4-Day, Hands-on, Class size is limited.
This is the turning-point workshop you’ve been waiting for.
It’s hard to describe what it’s like when I’m feeling the creative flow. Time flies. Hours pass in what I thought were minutes. My naturally distracted mind is focused on what my hands are doing, and nothing else. I get lost in my own world. When I return to reality, I feel rejuvenated and spiritually uplifted. That’s why I like sharing my studio space with others. I try to give them that experience and hope they feel the same inspiration and fulfillment I do. -Lisa
This class is for you! Any skill level can attend. Beginner, intermediate and advanced students alike will learn how to advance their glass fusing skills and expand their artistic style.
Join me and I’ll show you all the pro tips and tricks I use to make stunning 3-dimnesional art. You’ll learn how to combine advanced techniques in new ways to create extraordinary sculptural pieces of art.
You’ll leave class with several completed glass sculptures, my custom firing guides and a deeper understanding of sculptural fused glass fabrication. You’ll have the knowledge, confidence and inspiration you’ve been craving to take your artwork to the next level.
Materials are included, that’s a $150.00 value!
Here’s what the students from my recent September 2020 class are saying about the workshop.
“My favorite part about the class was the non-stop building and the generous amount of materials available.” -Christine
“My favorite part about the class was the variety of projects we made.” -Monica
“What surprised me about the class was how full the schedule was. Usually, you do 1 project. We did 5 in 4 days.” -Christine
“What surprised me was the number of projects we completed.” -Monica
“Thank you so much for your generosity.” – Christine
“Awesome experience – will come again in the future.” Monica
Did you feel comfortable with the classroom setup and the cleanliness of the studio?
“Yes, super.” Christine
“Yes! – Monica
Student comments from previous classes.
“Instruction was clear, help was always available, and Lisa’s explanation of the equipment was great.” -Sherry
“My favorite thing about the class was the friendly atmosphere that encouraged open thoughts and sharing ideas.” -Lyn
“I enjoyed making all the projects, especially the flow piece and the freedom to be creative with our work.” -Joy
“My favorite thing about the class was the ability to see multiple pieces of art that originated from concepts taught.” -Vicki
“Lisa is very professional, knowledgeable and freakishly talented. House, art, mosaic, her work – really fun and beautiful.” -Lorna
“Incredible class. Lisa shared her artistic knowledge of color flow and her technical knowledge of glass.” -Larry
“I had so much fun! Lisa is a great teacher!” -Brenda
Watch it NOW! Start fusing today!
Downloadable instructional videos for every skill level.
Check out my eBooks for elegant patterns and detailed fusing instructions.