Thursday, January 17, 2013

Enameling Workshop

Well this month's meeting was actually an enameling workshop. We had to unfortunately put a limit on attendees because we had so much interest, and not enough room in Mimi's basement!! It was a snug fit but we had a great time... had some successes and failures, but not the epic fail we ALL had at our last enameling workshop!

This was our kick-off meeting before getting to work- over coffee and treats: (l to r) Ellen, Bodil, Sharon, Karen, Sandra, Mimi. Evie also came and I was taking pics (Dana).

 Karen's pieces turned out nicely- counterenamel on the back (blue color) with the fronts a nice autumn-y orange. My bad, I put the transparent enamels in the area Karen was working, and she didn't realize that, so she used them for copper, which is not a good idea- everything comes out  muddy. Transparents are for silver and gold. Or for copper, if you layer a piece of silver foil on top of the copper first.

These are Dana's... they are hydraulic-formed and cut-out, then sprinkled with different colors on them. You can't really blend colors of enamel- it just looks dotty. But these were my successes of the day! I didn't counterenamel them, so we'll see if they last without cracking (currently in the possession of fellow-Ladysmith Carolyn, who's wearing them! Hopefully!)

These are Dana's copper beads. It was a disaster to initially sift and fire, but then I did Barbara Lewis' trick of heating and dipping in enamel, and it worked well! I did melt the plastic containers of enamel accidently, but next time I'll know to use glass containers if I do this technique again...

One thing I was disappointed about was the lack of vibrancy in the enameling colors once fired. But one of the experienced Ladysmiths reminded me later that the act of torch-firing can add carbon and some unexpected and hence dimmer results. Thanks, Brenda!!

Lesson: heat the metal to melt the enamel, don't heat the enamel!! So, when we fired from below, then switched to above once fusing began, we had success! Item on left was fired from above- ouch!

Hope we remember all this for next time!!