Last night was the last class on enameling. So time to wrap up with a few pieces and thoughts to share.
Let’s get the failures and learnings out of the way… First, I am grateful for a class to play and learn in with a group of wonderful students who are so open to sharing with they learn too. And can’t forget our excellent teacher Pam. Also, copper is a cheap material to experiment with. Don’t think I’d be so free if I was working in sterling or fine silver. In these two pieces I was trying to learn how to enamel on bits of millefiori glass rods. When fired properly, they melt down flat into the enamel and turn into gorgeous flower blooms. Just couldn’t get it done. Mine just rolled up into balls and stayed that way. Felt like I had fired it for ten minutes. You can see that one got close, but with the amount of time I spent torching (or torturing) those poor little things, the enamel colors look scorched and burnt. Nothing like the colors I laid down on the copper. On the plus side, I did see the beautiful color possible on just putting flux on bare copper…a lovely orange-pink golden color is the best I can describe it. I actually like the piece on the bottom and would have used it to make something, but one of the glass ‘balls’ popped off. You can see that it left a tiny ghost flower design behind.
And on to the more successful ones… I wanted to show some finished jewelry, because I was a bit puzzled on how to use these components in creating pieces to wear.
Love the colors of this next pair…reminds me of the red earth of Utah or Kauai. I think my husband still has his red dirt shirt from the island. These are like Zion, upside-down. Blue sky below, red earth above. Pam showed me how to create the bottom pieces using the dye cutter…easy, peasy trick. Love them! But the camera’s ‘third’ eye is showing me some crazing on the left one. Not sure what caused that. Did I drop in the water too soon after firing? Anyone out there know?
This session in the Adult School Jewelry class is about torch fired enameling. It’s just six weeks, so just enough time to learn a bit and experiment a lot. Which I love to do. I will admit that I wasn’t too excited about this, as I think of it as a kind of old fashioned style of jewelry, but I am being open minded and reserving judgment… Part of the joy in these class is learning from other students, seeing what they are learning as they try new things.
We are using powdered enamel…finely ground bits of colored glass, to add color to copper metal shapes. Using a torch, the glass grains melt and adhere to the prepared copper surface. Lucky us, the teacher has supplied the class with about a hundred plus colors of enamels… transparents and opaques. Lovely!
I’ve chosen to experiment on copper metal that’s been embossed, so the surface has quite a lot of texture. But a few pieces, like the pendant and purple disc earrings you’ll see are more smooth. Last night I also tried out another technique that uses a ‘watercolor’ technique I saw on youtube…gotta love youtube! Instead of sifting on the dry enamel powders, the powder is mixed with water and a bit of Klyr Fire ( that acts like a glue), then applied with a tiny paint brush. Excited to work some more on this technique next time.
This was my first attempt. Just looked like burnt copper, not the lovely green enamel I used. Not sure what went wrong, but I do like that the leafy embossed copper design shows through the glassy surface.
And number two…The purple was a dry application, then I went back and applied a mix of aqua and dabs of darker green using the watercolor technique. Love the bits of bright copper showing. I don’t usually like bright copper in jewelry (you know I’m a huge fan of oxidized copper), but love it with these enamels.
And the backs…Ugly. The backs were actually done first, called counter enameling, because glass want to pull to the center, so this counter acts that action when you do the front of the piece. It seems that the color tend to change the more times you fire the piece. The flame of the torch is actually underneath the piece.
And these…a total experiment. I just kept adding more colors with the paintbrush and firing. Just to see what would happen. A. Some of the enamels are like shiny glass, others are a bit dull looking. Especially the orange/red. B. I love the bits of copper showing through. It’s a very interesting, modern look to my eye.
Next…Do you see the difference in the two colors. Glassy purple and orange pit-ty red. I think that the red enamel takes longer to melt, so I needed to keep at it longer. So at the top of my list next class, is to refire it and see what happens. Again this heart was cut from an embossed sheet of copper. I then used a paint brushed loaded with wet enamel to pack the low parts of the design. Love how the copper metal ridges are showing in this piece.
Last one for now… These pendants were hammered out from old thick wire from the garage. I textured just the top part and applied to colors of enamel. Again, love the bright copper color that gives these a simple modern look to a very old art form.
Finally, if you have a little time and would like to watch some short youtube videos in enameling, here’s a couple to wet your appetite.
Filed under: Archives — Fresh Baked Designs @ 11:59 am
Exhale. I just finished it this morning…holding my breath. Like diving into the ocean. I feel good. Really good. About this necklace. I think this is my sixth stone I’ve bezel set. My first with a gallery style bezel wire and so happy I didn’t melt it when soldering all the different pieces on.
I had purchased the gorgeous Labradorite cab a few years ago…thinking that when I was ready, I’d tackle setting it. I’d take the stone out every six months or so and stare at it, then put it away again. Never felt ready. Then last month, I thought…What am I waiting for? I’ll probably never ‘feel’ ready. If I waited for everything to ‘feel right’ I probably wouldn’t accomplish very much in life. Just get started, already!! So, I did. The setting evolved in fits and starts…then lay aside over the holidays. Finished it up yesterday and set it today.
The necklace part is a lustrous collection of pearls and tiny labradorite faceted rondells. Pearls in various shades of blue, purple, green and gray. Everything I see in the Lab cab. I had a hard time deciding on whether to make a silver chain for this or go with something with stones or pearls. The pearls said yes. Sadly, I don’t think these photos do the pearls justice. They really do pick up much more of the colors in the stone. Oh, well.
As I sit typing up this blog post, I’m wearing the necklace to see how it feels. It feels just right.
Can you believe it’s 2018? Happy New Year, everyone!
Who doesn’t need more sparkle in their life? I found a box with some left over chandelier parts on my workbench the other day. Hmm… Thought they’d make some pretty awesome hangers. Start playing around with sparkly crystals and colorful beads. Et, voila! They look great on a Christmas tree, but would also had some bling-bling to a window or hanging from a rear-view mirror in the car. I’m definitely going to make more next year for Holiday Markets and personal gift giving.
You can easily purchase a box of 12 crystal chandelier parts from Amazon for less than $10. They have lots of sizes, styles, and even colors. I used 18 gauge silver plated wire to add pretty beads and hangers. Ready to gift in a jiff. The one on the right has silver solder tinned around the edges for a more antique look.
IMO, these would make great gifts all year round…
Who couldn’t use a little bedazzling in their life?
Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day…We just finished the last of the leftovers for dinner last night.
I also got the itch to cut up and play with another used thrift store belt for embellishing cuffs. This $3 belt will make four bracelets. While three are done, there’s still one more in my head to make.
Using varying combos of embossing, painting, and ink stamping, these all received different embellishments. Each one also has a different closure. And all were treated to a couple of coats of Ren Wax to protect the finishes.
This first one has a large agate slice wired on with a button and leather loop closure.
Next has a lovely statement that kind of makes me a little teary. A great encouragement for women, I think. Used a leather lace with bead for an adjustable closure.
This last one might be for men or women?? I do like the large toggle clasp with the pewter painted finish on the leather. Not sure…unisex? What do you think?
One last look at my new trio of up-cycled leather bracelets. Still plenty of belt for another one!
So, my few holiday markets are going well. Two more to go, both the second weekend in December…one all day Friday and one Saturday afternoon.
I did find out that people love buying the leather bracelets, so I’ve ordered more materials to make some more for these events. One group is has been sunbathing outside during the daylight hours to deepen their color before I run them through the rolling mill to emboss them. Good thing we’re still sunny in Southern California this week!
Don’t think I’ve ever shared my packaging for jewelry…probably because it’s nothing super special. As I’ve been making up a new batch for these last two markets, I’ll let you know what I do…Simple, simple. But I like them.
I purchase 4 1/2 x 6 3/4 inch glassine bags on Amazon. One hundred in a pack. They are used in bakeries for those small cookie purchases.
Using StazOn ink and some large stamps, I add a pretty design to one side of the bag. Done! As I said, Simple. I do put my earrings or a delicate sterling silver necklace into a small clear ziplock bag first.
This size is large enough for earrings, bracelets, and most of my necklaces. And in my humble opinion, these will do for a gift bag in a pinch. I can also slip in a sale receipt and business card.
The permanent ink and stamps are from Michaels…these can be pricey, so alway use a coupon or purchase when there is a 40% sale. These stamps are used and abused! I use them with polymer clay designs, stamping packaging and signage, and stamping copper for etching metal. Besides the ink colors shown, I also have black, red, and blue.
Hi, My name is Lynda.
Exploring the wide world of jewelry making in my retirement from teaching. I'm grateful to be a part of this worldwide community of jewelry bloggers, where I receive encouragement, inspiration, and sometimes...a kick in the pants to take a risk!
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