by MaryAnn Carroll
*please check the left side bar for the winner of the earrings donated by Kelli*
then to piggy back.....
...on the latest discussions about enameling on clay with Barbara Lewis and Marla James, I thought I would try this myself and discuss my experience. Marla is offering a giveaway for those of you interested in trying this method.
Before I show the ceramics pictures, I first want to share what I've been doing on copper. Be careful if you decide to head over to Barbara's site to get started on enameling.... because once you start... it's hard to stop! I love metal and actually loved working with metals and wire before I took an interest in clay. It was easy to acquire and added something unique to jewelry designing. I LOVE to learn new things... particularly when it comes to art.
The tops of these earrings are ceramic created with my usual method... glazed and fired in a kiln. That's the glaze that you gave me, Kelli! Thanks!
I think you might see how much fun you can have with a torch, some copper and enamel.
Now for the ceramics. The pictures are not the best because when I was done last night, the natural outside light was gone. I have yet to get my "inside" picture taking set up for the winter..... Did I say winter? ughhhh.
Here is what my set up looks like. I also use a fan that I direct on my smoke detector. I'm not expert about enameling, so I've asked Barbara Lewis to weigh in on a couple of questions. Please check our comments for her answers.
1. Is there another option fire safety besides using fire bricks and of course, being careful? What kind of set up is typical? My husband Bill built a kiln so we happen to have these on hand. I also use them to fire on directly. The pendant that is shown above was done while laying flat on the bricks.
2. Is ventilation necessary when working with enamels?
To see enameling in action, check out our tutorials section.
Here is what happens if you heat too quickly....
The one on the right ended up on the rug. I probably should not have a rug in my jewelry studio since I tend to get a little careless sometimes.... hence.... the precautions taken with the bricks..... Good thing the carpet is fire resistant :o)
And... in honor of our Veterans, we have red enamel on clay on the left and the two small rounds have the same enamel on copper beads.
Here, we have the same white enamel..... copper on the left and clay on the right....
Lastly.... blue... Yes, I know it is the wrong blue, but it is the best I could do..... The clay is on the left and the copper on the right.
There you have it.... my experience with enameling on clay.
Then... I could not just stop there... I asked myself... "Could I enamel on all of those beach stones that I collected on various vacations?"
Yes.... You can!!!! As with the ceramic beads, heat slowly before putting a piece directly in the flame.
Here are my thoughts about this experience.
First, it was lots of fun to see what would happen. As a ceramic bead artist, I would still use this method when I'm looking for something different in a jewelry design that I do not have on hand. I could easily grab one of my non-glazed beads and give it some color. If your goal, however, is to create mainly ceramic beads, I think the glazing and kiln method would more practical due to time and cost effectiveness. With that said, however, not everyone wants to purchase a kiln, glazes, clay, tools, etc. that can cost $100's. The other great part about this is that you can purchase beads online from sites such as Bisque Bead Supply which offer different bead shapes, pendants, etc. that you might not find with metal. For those of you who do create ceramic beads already, this was a great way to use those bisque beads that were over-fired. I don't have a computerized set up on my kiln and there have been one or two occasions that I let beads fire too long making them very difficult to glaze.
Lastly, I want to say that I love enameling and I also love creating ceramic beads. I think they work perfectly together in jewelry designs.
~thank-you for supporting those who create handmade with handmade~