Setting enamels and finishing off

 

We’ve been having a lot of fun over the past few months, mainly opaque enamels on copper. This is as close as you can get to ‘Instant Gratification’ simple shapes and a willingness to play by the students, made for the most enjoyable series of classes for all of us! I love all kinds of enamelling, working on silver or metal clay, using fine cloisonné wire, or the bold lines of Champlevé, all with beautiful Japanese transparent enamels is like meditation, peaceful and calming.

Not so much these workshops….. The energy was high every night and although I had a fairly set curriculum planned, very often the students just ‘Looked – Listened & Learned’ then kept going with their own ideas and developing them further. And that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

I love it when people get excited by their own ideas and find new avenues for their creativity. I’m lucky with my students, all are lovely people and very sharing of their ‘finds’ have a look at the Jewelry Artist Journal Facebook page for more examples, like Desiree Kenafake’s Decals on Enamel & Jan Brown’s chain with enamel links.

A few weeks ago Rebecca England was here, flown in from the Hunter Valley, she did some amazing enamelling, on silver foil on copper and another beautiful piece on silver. Laughing all the way:) This week I’ve finally taken a bit of time to set some of my ‘samples’ even though they were simple and quickly done, I love the way the fire scale adds a whole new dimension to the work, the kiln becomes the ‘Zen’ in the work, you never know what you’re going to get! Copper-ring-dimpled-firescale-enamel We’re deep into dimples at the moment, they show off fire scale in such a nice way… I’ve dimpled the ring shank of this ring for good measure! This ring uses the Spider-Setting technique (LOL) tab setting (the spider) in a copper piece that has been riveted through another bit of copper and onto the wrap-around ring. It’s liberating to be able to love fire scale, jewellers will know the feeling of getting it after heating sterling silver – Not Nice! But here in the enameller’s studio it is encouraged by controlled overfiring. It shows off its colours best on the lighter enamels, we then etched these to get a Satin or Matte finish. The etching liquid takes the colour off, to a certain degree, also playing its part in the design, it was like opening a present every time something came out of the kiln or the acid:) I wish the weather would stay cool for a bit longer! I should have a summer home in the USA and keep cool in their winter!

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