Some of you already know that I have a new addiction. I have become enamored with enamels! 🙂 I shared some of my first enameled pieces in a blog post previously. That post shows some simple sifted pieces along with my first experiments in sgrafitto. Since then I have discovered the immersion technique made popular by Barbara Lewis. I’ve made lots of beads using her technique. It’s a fun, simple and no fuss technique that you can achieve instantly satisfying results with. Here are a few pictures of my foray into enameling beads using her technique:
I had a lot of fun with the beads but I eventually ran out. Not a problem! I just moved on to other experiments – in cloisonné. I first started with a mermaid, but I was using what I had on hand to play with. I had seen others use round copper wire in cloisonné with success so I broke some out and began designing. I originally intended to make the Minoan Snake Goddess, but my Muse refused me and insisted on a mermaid instead. Here is my mermaid design all planned out. In this pic, I have counter enameled and added two coats of opaque white on the front.
Originally I wanted to use transparents on this piece, but later decided to go with opaques at least for the most part as I became worried that the oxides in the copper would make my transparents muddy. You can see how the oxides dirty the copper when fired in this picture:
These oxides can be cleaned between firings in pickle. My pickle pot got cracked and I have to get a new one before I can proceed with the mermaid. She has to be cleaned in pickle between firings to prevent the oxides from jumping up onto the surface of the enamel. I don’t want to have come all this way just to ruin her! Having been stopped in my path on the mermaid, my creative lust was unfulfilled. I suddenly remembered that I had some fine silver wire tucked back that I was using on a project a while back so I decided to make another pendant using the fine silver – what a difference it made. The wire stayed bright, beautiful and free of oxides. I should have taken a picture of the second piece at this stage but I didn’t. I was too eager to press forward. So I packed the new design with enamels and hit the torch – SUCCESS! MY first completed cloisonné. This is my ‘Solitude’ figure that you’ve seen repeated in my art cuffs.
The rainbow moonstone has some beautiful blue flash that compliments the blue in the skyline which unfortunately did not come through in the picture. The pretty little purple stones are tanzanite.
I have a thousand designs running around in my head presently that can’t wait to make it to the torch! I’m drawing them in a notebook because I’m afraid I’ll forget about them before I get to them all. Stay tuned for more adventures!