Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Happy Little Accidents

Today is recycling day in our house! I just heard the van come and pick up our bags of paper, cans, and plastic. Lori definitely takes the lead on the recycling front, but here's something I kept from ending up in a landfill yesterday.

One of Lori's favourite kind of dishes are Jadeite glass, which she's been collecting for years. They are a creamy green colour and yesterday one of them finally broke! It turns out they knap very nicely. Look for this glass to start showing up in Elfshot necklaces and earrings around the Province over the coming months.

Glass is one of the easiest materials to learn to flintknap with. Its also easier to find and identify when you are just starting out. Beer bottle bottoms give you a nice amber coloured arrowhead. I'll be teaching a flintknapping workshop in St. John's on Father's Day this year. We'll be working on beer bottle bottoms, but if you have any jadeite catastrophes in your house you'll be prepared to make the "green" choice and keep that glass out of the trash!

I'll post details of the cost and location here as they come available, but if you or someone you know are curious about learning to knap, keep the afternoon of June 21st clear for a flintknapping workshop.

Edit: The workshop has been postponed one week to June 28th. I'll be doing a demo on the 21st instead. More details to follow.

Photo Credits: Tim Rast

Photo Captions: Jadeite glass point and raw material


  1. Wow Tim that arrowhead is fantastic...where can I buy some of those products to smash and make arrowheads? Maybe I should be asking Lori that question wah?

  2. I think Jadeite might be part of the Martha Stewart Empire at the moment. When I was googling it to check the spelling I found images of some Jadeite Chandeliers on her website, and its certainly still one of her colours. We found a lot of Jadeite cookware at Zellers a few years ago, but as you say, Lori would have a better idea where to find it these days.

  3. "Happy" accident? I think it's too soon for "happy" but I am relieved Elfshot will benefit... plus I'm hoping there's earrings and a necklace in it for me.
    Jade-ite is part of the Fire-King glassware line by Anchor Hocking. Their glass bakeware is tough and inexpensive and "jade-ite" became their signature colour in the 1940s. More recently, Martha Stewart is attributed with its resurgence and she offers her own line of reproductions made by Fire-King. In this instance, I'm grateful my pieces are not vintage but it still sucks. They're hard to find and now I'm without a square baking dish.

  4. How about antique bottles that have been found broken? I find bits of things in the ground almost every time I dig up a little spot of ground here, but the bottles are usually broken- not great for collecting!

  5. Tim the Flintknapper says: Any thick, flat glass will work. The sides of a beer bottle are too thin and curved to make anything out of, but the bottoms are often flat and thick enough to use. The jadeite bowl was square, so it has lots of nice flat pieces to work, if it was a mug or bowl, it might not have as much useable material.

    Tim the Archaeologist says: I wouldn't use broken glass that someone found in the ground without asking an historic archaeologist about it first. Look at Cupids or Ferryland, you never know what history might be buried in your backyard. Especially if you live in a historic merchant's premises.

  6. Most of the bottles that i find are the same size and shape, and i think are scotch or whiskey bottles- some have markings from the old liquor board on them. What I don't understand, is why they keep showing up in the ground- did they just toss their garbage out the door/under the house? I remember lots of rubble being piled up in coves when i was little, but not all over a person's property...

  7. Outside of big cities, dumps are a relatively new thing. Historically, taking out the trash meant throwing it out the nearest window or door. If you wanted to hide something, you might toss it in the outhouse hole. I remember Jerry Pocius talking about visiting older buildings on the Southern Shore where every concievable rafter and space inside and underneath were filled with empty bottles. Which might sound odd, but it was a tidier solution than having broken bottles and glass strewn over your property. I don't know exactly when things changed, but I'd guess that most properties in North America that predate WWII have a dump or midden on them somewhere. We had one in our potato garden on the Farm in Alberta from the people who lived there before us.


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