Thursday, March 13, 2014

Building an enameled necklace.

The new necklace would be fashioned after my first collar of this style
I will share the steps I took to create an enameled necklace for the 2011 Anacortes Friends of the Forest Benefit auction.  The benefit raises money for the education program which fosters knowledge and understanding of the unique forest environment that we in Anacortes have the privilege to enjoy.  The program helps my friend Denise Crow provide sessions for 3rd and 7th graders in our school district giving them a greater understanding of the resource.  The program tends to create life long stewards of this and other natural places.
My Evenheat electric kiln is programable and has several presets for Precious Metal Clays

All the enameling projects I've done in my home studio start with pieces of copper that I either cut myself with shears, a disk cutting tool, or buy pre-made.  I cut the holes for jump rings or ear wires with a special hole punch.
I use a Swanstrom disk cutter, hold punch and sometimes shape with the dapping tools

I file the edges so they are smooth and de-burr the holes (if this isn't done, enamel powder will more likely clog the hole and be more difficult to clear with a pick.

Disks are filed and marked for their holes.  The color variation is from the annealing process
I use a sanding disk on my flex tool or a file to remove the burrs from the holes punched

The disks get a brief soak in pickle and then are polished and cleaned with Penny Brite before the first enameling layer is applied.  I brush on a holding agent either Klear fyr or liquid hair spray and apply the clear enamel with a small mesh sifter.  Pickling cleans surface oils so  the enamel powder adheres better with the help of a holding agent.
Layer medium clear enamel powder

Pieces wait while kiln heats

Pieces appear red after first firing
On upper right you can see metallic oxidation appearing after  more layers are added and the firing process is longer

Now the fun can begin!
I'm adding opaque base colors here

I try to keep notes on techniques and color combinations

I used paper stencils for the design.  I bought the sheets at a scrapbook supply store.  Two tweezers are used to carefully lift the stencil off the disk after the enamel powder is dried.  It's not always easy to get an undisturbed pattern.

A friend of ours had the winning auction bid!  She later commissioned a very fun and interesting piece that I will write about in the future.  It is very cool!

The finished piece!

As I was putting on the finishing touches, a brief thunderstorm with hail passed over.  The light actually looked like this.

No comments:

Post a Comment