Enamelling

My first attempt at enamelling!

Enamelling is a great way to express your creativity and to expand your artistic techniques. Enamel is grounded glass powder that consists of silica, soda ash and metal oxide (which gives the colour). Only gold, silver, copper, aluminium, and steel can be enamelled. There are many ways to apply the enamel onto the metal, I have used both the wet pack and the sieving technique and I am looking forward to trying the cloisonné technique. I will do this by using thin silver wire to make shapes, cells and compartments for the enamel to sit into.

I love how quick this process can be. Once you have done all the prep beforehand, enamelling is super quick way to get great, colourful results.

Firstly, I began to design and cut the shapes of metal which I wanted to enamel. I saw pierced out tear drop shapes from 0.5mm copper sheet metal, then filed and cleaned the shapes, these were then ready to enamel! I also punched some tiny circle blanks, using the second and smallest disc cutter punches in the set. I then domed these to make them into little cups.

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The kiln is set to around 800 degrees for the enamel to fuse; which only takes a few minutes if it’s a small piece.

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This is my first attempt… Didn’t turn out as planned. I used a white enamel and a sieve to sprinkle the powder onto the metal. The enamel has turned into an orange peel consistency which shows that it hasn’t fused enough and should be left in the kiln a little longer. This had a few coats of enamel on which made it slightly heavier.

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I started to get the hang of the timing and application once i used the teardrops and cups. Two of the teardrops are sieved each with their own colour and the other two I used two different colours and blended them by using the wetpack technique.

The little cups were mostly done by the sieving technique apart from the blue one which was wet packed, this one is a lot heavier than the rest and the cup has filled with enamel. The other cups didn’t fill but only coated the bottom bit of the copper. I love the colour contrast of the oxidised copper against the bright colour. They are about 5mm in diameter and super cute, I think they would make great stud earrings!

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This is the largest piece of metal i have enamelled. I tried to use the wet pack enamel in different colours to create a blend within the tear drop shape, however once it was fired little sparse patches appeared, presumably from where the water had evaporated and left hardly any enamel covering the surface. So I experimented by using a different colour to wet pack the empty spaces.

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