Having a Smashing Time.
My husband, Owen, is good at many things - breaking crockery is one of them. R.I.P. two Denby porcelain plates and a bowl. I witnessed one of the plates fly out of his hand as he threw food scraps to our chickens. His cat, Jasper, wafted a Gin glass off the draining board with his very floofy tail and only a few days ago, a favourite wine glass off the dining table using the same technique. Luckily, it was devoid of hubby’s red wine, which would have been slightly more irritating had it had spilled onto our wool rug.
At first, I was a little bit cross – but then I had a light bulb moment. Why not break up the pieces into smaller bits, tumble them, then re-purpose the pieces into individual pieces of recycled jewellery? I could add coloured glass beads from my huge collection of dismantled necklaces, purchased over many years thanks to my obsession with charity shops, attach them to black cotton cord with sterling silver jump rings and finish them off with sterling silver cord crimp ends and lobster clasps.
I placed a large broken piece onto half of an old tea towel, folded the other half of the tea towel over the top of it. I then grabbed a traditional curved-claw hammer and started hitting the piece. After each strike, I unfolded the tea towel to pick out any decent shapes I felt I could use. Soon, the large remains of the plate and the Gin glass were a pile of various sized (very sharp!) pieces of porcelain and glass. I carefully put the pieces into my barrel polisher with some 80-grade silicon carbide grit, some water and sealed it up.
Note: I also put the tiny pieces and shards in the barrel polisher as they would help with the polishing process.
Three nail biting weeks later, I opened the barrel polisher to find the sharp pieces of porcelain and glass had been transformed into various shapes and sizes of smooth pieces of porcelain and glass, all having a lovely satin finish. I carefully selected some pieces and marked the areas with a pencil to drill. The graphite in the pencil shines when it is under water, so making it easier to see.
Using a 2mm diamond coated cylindrical burr (not a diamond coated drill) I drilled the holes as per glass drilling rules, i.e. under water, gently and at a speed of approx. 15,000 rpm. The best results were achieved by drilling from both sides to avoid the conchoidal fracture (blow-out) of the hole from the opposite side of the drilled hole. I found that by drilling approximately half-way through the piece, then holding it up to a strong light, marking the hole on the opposite side with a pencil, I was able to align the hole perfectly.
Now the best bit. After selecting pieces and arranging them into necklace designs, I put everything together. I try each one on to make sure they lay right, then, take some photos and upload them onto here.
Moral of this story, from a butter fingered husband and a floofy tailed cat, broken doesn’t mean it has to be binned.