Frit and fusion at Ivy Cottage
By Chad Ingram
It is partially the element of the unknown that keeps Joyce Pruysers-Emmink and Peter Emmink of Ivy Cottage Fusion Arts drawn to the art of fused glass.
“There’s a lot of aha!” Joyce says. “There’s a lot of, what magic is going to happen in that kiln?”
Fused glass entails joining together different pieces of glass in a kiln at very high temperatures. The glass itself is a specialized type, with heating and cooling rates that mean it won’t fracture in the kiln.
Joyce has been doing glass art for decades, starting out with traditional stained glass, and was one of the original artists on the studio tour. She and Peter returned to the tour a few years ago.
“I always dabbled a bit in fused glass, even when I was doing stained glass,” Joyce says, explaining that a friend of hers had gotten her more interested in fused glass after taking a course at the Haliburton School of Fine Arts (today the Haliburton School of Art + Design) about a decade ago.
“[Joyce] got me interested in glass,” Peter says, explaining for a while he was doing sandblasted glass art. “[We’re] still in glass, but using it differently, using fused glass instead of stained glass.”
The couple create everything from plates and platters to coral bowls, jewelry and lanterns. Their basement is crammed with kilns and sheets of coloured glass and canisters of “frit” – essentially crushed glass powder – that is used to provide detail and texture in their works.
Peter creates fine art pieces, often images of animals, that at first blush appear to be paintings, but are actually made entirely of glass.
Some of the fused glass lanterns Joyce Pruysers-Emmink creates. Joyce teaches workshops, including lantern-making sessions, from her home studio on Dawson Road in Algonquin Highlands. /CHAD INGRAM Staff
“It’s almost like painting with crushed glass powder, and my brush is a razor blade,” he explains.
These pieces can include layering – putting the glass in the kiln, then applying more, then going in the kiln again – and can take dozens of hours of Peter’s time, along with as many as 250 hours in the kiln.
Other pieces include a technique called “combing,” where a metal instrument is combed through molten glass, creating pattens. One large, colourful bowl was so hot that the glass actually began to bubble, with the patterns of those bubbles evident on its surface.
While the nature of the art form means that mistakes can occur, a great thing about fused glass is that the glass from those mistakes can simply be repurposed in new works.
“I hate waste,” Joyce says.
Joyce hosts workshops in the home studio on making lanterns, coral bowls, jewelry and other items.
“It’s all beginner level, and each class is about half a day,” she says. She asks that people create their own groups of three to five individuals, with workshops being arranged by request. She can be reached at 705-455-2744, and Ivy Cottage Fusion Arts also has a Facebook page.
Ivy Cottage Fusion Arts is located at 1431 Dawson Road, off of North Shore Road, near Maple Lake in Algonquin Highlands.