Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fun with Enameling

This past weekend I had a FABULOUS time in Carlsbad, getting together with old-time friends Louise, Joyce, and Anne. We haven't seen each other in a very long time, so it was an overdue reunion of sorts. Anyway, what made it extra special was that we all had some time with the torch!
After getting some much-needed coaching from enameling guru Barbara Lewis, who advised us to use a map-gas torch instead of butane (butane turns your enamel icky colors!), we were set to play... and BOY, did we! I am now positively addicted to making enameled headpins, and now that I'm set up with Barbara's bead-pulling station at home I'll begin to torch-fire enamel some beads as well.
I've already experimented a bit with some of my smaller copper beads, but I want to do much more using beads in various sizes, both copper and sterling silver (some fine silver as well).
The trick to making the best use of your silver when enameling is to use transparent enamels instead of opaque, allowing the brilliance of the silver to shine through the color. Opaque colors are perfect for copper, however. You can torch-fire enamel practically anything if it's copper: wire as well as sheet metal, copper blanks, discs, beads, pendants, etc.
Oh, the possibilities!
Louise was making these gorgeous pouffy flowers and I decided to give it a whirl. I used the same basic technique (which she learned in a workshop with Linda Darty—and if you have any interest in enameling at all, I highly recommend Linda's classic text, The Art of Enameling). But I changed my flowers quite a bit by creating much longer tendrils and curling them under, and enameled them with multiple layers of gorgeous color.
I guess it's official now: I'm in love with torch-fired enameling. Given the enormous potential for creativity with this one technique, I know that it's something I'll be pursuing with passion for the rest of my artistic career. I have to thank Barbara Lewis for introducing me to this wonderfully expressive art form! I'll be reviewing her new book when it comes out, too. I've seen it on-screen because the publishers made it available to reviewers for a preview, and it is fantastic! Pre-order Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry by clicking here.
I was thrilled to see that Barbara's book will be available as a paperback and as a kindle edition! I love my kindle eBooks, which I can view in full-color on my iPhone, and I will be purchasing many more in the future. My own bestselling eBook, Arty Jewelry III, is still on-sale at 20 percent off! You can download it for just $7.99 by clicking here.
Happy wrapping (and torch firing!),


Leslie Todd said...

Wow, your enameling is fantastic! I just learned a little about torch and kiln enameling and am eagerly awaiting Barbara's book. It's a lot of fun.

Laura Twiford said...

I just had another class with Barbara this pst weekend, she's the best! Love the gears and the headpins!

Barbara Lewis said...

I'm so happy for you. The immersion process is absolutely the fastest way to torch-fire. You got some really great results! Yay!

TheAntiquePalette said...

This is something I thought was waaaay beyond me, I didn't know about torch fired enameling.
I love those headpins, I can see why this would be a new passion.
Thank you for telling us about this, even I could do it!


Carol said...

Sharilyn: I took Barbara's class in Annapolis last Saturday - a "second" level enameling class (with Laura T.). We had a blast!!! Your flowers are wonderful!

Everyone should keep an eye out for Barbara's new book coming out next month! Painting with Fire! Awesome!!!

Danielle Wenger said...

How do you make those flower puffs? I can't really figure it out. Do you think they are stable? They seem so delicate and like they would bend and crack the enamel...

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