Thursday, 18 September 2014

Enamelling Techniques

One of the courses I am undertaking to build my skills is Enamelling taught by Lillian Yuen. Lillian is a fabulous teacher and jeweller and she makes the most beautifully delicate enamelled pieces.

Over the past couple of weeks we have learnt how to work with opaque and transparent enamels, and achieve different effects using sifting techniques, and solid enamels.

Below is a pictorial account of my discovery of enamels. Its been such an exciting adventure!

The first week we learnt how to prepare samples for opaque enamels. Below shows the test strips which have 4 layers of enamel.

Opaque enamel tests

  1. Base coat (top)
  2. Second layer (second from top)
  3. Third layer (orange peal effect which means it isn't heated as long so that some of the grain texture remains)
  4. Fourth layer (sugar fired, heated less than orange peal effect)

Pull Through tests

Next we experimented with pull through techniques, which is putting one colour over another, and the bottom colour 'pulls through' the top.

Top left: Soft flux base covered by Peacock Blue 1645 opaque
Top right: Chestnut 2190 transparent covered by Calamine Blue 1520 opaque
Bottom left: Candy 1211 opaque covered by Mandarin 2840 transparent
Bottom right: Black 1995 opaque covered by Ivory 1238 opaque

Sifting techniques

The following week we learnt different sifting and decorating techniques (above)
Top left: graphite pencil on Antique White 1045
Top right: using a stencil of a dried flower I sifted Peackock Blue 1465 over a base coat of Antique White 1045
Middle left: Sgraffito techniques white on blue. Image scraped using a tooth pick
Middle right: Sgraffito techniques blue on white. Image scraped using a tooth pick
Bottom left: Sift and dump. White base. Image then painted using Klyr Fire, blue enamel sifted which sticks to the Klyr Fire. Remaining enamel is tipped off
Bottom right: White base stamped using regular ink pad and stamp. Same technique as the sift and dump where blue enamel was sifted onto the wet ink and the remaining blue enamel is tipped off.

Wet packing enamels before firing
 Next we learn how to work with transparent enamels using a wet packing method which requires washing the enamel powder to get rid of any contaminants and placing the wet enamel on the copper. This example uses a piece of copper which also had a piece of silver embedded in the medium flux before the wet enamels were placed on top. The enamels used in this examples use precious metals to create the colours (mainly gold)
wet packed enamels after firing
And the above is the result.

Top left: Opalescent 2061
Top right: Orange Red Ruby 2110
Bottom left: Pink 2820
Bottom right: Wax 2110

This week we have been experimenting using solid enamels (chunks of glass and beads) to make patterns, along with swirling which is where you move a titanium tipped rod to move the molten enamel.








After. A metal pick is used to move the molten enamel surface

Before: pieces of Venetian glass on medium flux

After: Venetian enamel pull through with cobalt blue on top

Another after version of Venetian enamel. This one was grinded down so that all the lumps of glass were the same height (rather than lumpy)

Can you tell Ive been having fun?

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