Friday, December 7, 2012

Enamel love

 The enamel samples from my previous post were my initiation into the world of working with enamel and copper.  Immediately I was hooked.  There are so many interesting ways to mix colors, create texture, and showcase the metal underneath.  From those samples I chose colors to use in creating the following the dish.

For my class, I had to use the inspiration of a spice and my chosen spice was star anise.  I did a load of image gathering and a number of sketches to help bring about what I wanted the final piece to look like.  I started with a sheet of copper which I cut into a circle, and then carefully forged it by sinking and raising into a shallow dish.

Then the real fun began which for me was applying the enamels.  For anyone who doesn't know enamels in this form are generally colored, powdered glass.  Although you can also buy liquid enamels.  The enamels are applied one layer at a time and fired between each coating.  The kiln takes the enamels up to 1500 degrees at which point they fuse into a beautiful sheet of glass.

 I applied an opaque base of a red first.  Then after adding a clear coat to the back I added the white star anise images. I created these images by making a paper stencil and then very carefully applying the enamel and even more carefully removing the stencil.  I learned that it was very important to keep an even number of coating on both sides of the dish to keep the copper from being pulled in one direction.  I decided to add a deep amber color on the back of the dish because star anise makes me think of warm delicious foods.

 After sitting with the simple design for a bit, I decided to add a splash more of color. Again, I used a paper stencil to get my shapes. 

I also decided to bring more to the back of the piece so that it could be displayed either way.  I cut an aluminum shape that could be bent to fit the curve of the dish.  I then applied the enamel around it so that my anise star would retain the deep amber color and I could add hints of pink to the outside.

Finally I had to create a forged wire stand for the piece to be displayed in.  Here is my forged wire lotus and you can see it sticking out in the above images.  This stand can be hung on the wall or set on a table and either side of the dish can be displayed.

I really enjoyed this project and at the end, was so glad to have been introduced to enamelling.  I am looking forward to improving my technique and creating beautiful new pieces.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Enamel Samples

These enamelled tiles are from my first experiences working with copper and enamels.  Immediately I fell in love with the texture of the glass and the effects of seeing the copper through the transparent colors.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Friday, August 17, 2012

Copper Hollow Form Ring

Although I have been remiss about posting for the past long while, I'm hoping to catch up and get back on track.  Here's my first post on the way.  These are images of the first project from my spring class, Metals I.  The project was a copper hollow from ring made from sheet copper.

All of my copper parts as well as my paper mock up.

The ring and side wall have been soldered to the back plate.

After sitting in the pickle.

Using a handsaw, I cut the soldered back plate into the desired outer shape of the ring and removed the copper to create the opening for my finger.

All parts are now soldered together.

After pickling.

Finally, after sawing off the thin edge, I hand polished the whole thing to a fine grit.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Etsy Fort Worth January Challenge

I've spent the past month working on this project for the Etsy Fort Worth Craft Challenge. Below is a simple how-to in picture form.

Materials list:
1 sushi tray
2 pieces of leather cut to the same size
4 lengths of 26 gauge copper wire cut to about 20"
4 lengths of 26 gauge copper wire cut to about 18"
2 lengths of 26 gauge copper wire cut to about 36"
Barge Cement

The item they chose for this challenge was a sushi container and I just happened to have some around the house. You can see in this picture how the bottom is already divided into rectangular sections.

Using a pair of sharp scissors I cut the rectangles out.

Then, using a sharp tool I punched a hole in each of the four corners. The sections are fairly delicate and so punch the holes with as little pressure as possible.

I cut a rectangular strip of leather about 6inches long by 3 wide. You can cut it to any size that you are comfortable with. I set the rectangles into a pattern that I found interesting. I also had some cut glass beads I planned to use in the necklace. I also cut 4 pieces of 26 gauge copper wire into about 20" lengths. I set the rectangles onto the leather and punched holes so that I stitch them on using the copper wire as my "thread".

I started from the backside of the leather and laced the wire through putting using the rectangles as beads.
To place the beads I brought the two wires out of the first "bead" and put both of them through the bead. Then I laced both wires through the same corner hole in the next "bead" and brought both of them out of the opposite corner hole. Place the next bead on and then split the wires back into two and lace through the next corners. I completed one whole side, top and bottom before doing the other side.

Then I continued the same way on the other side.

When I finished both sides and had ample wire remaining, I laced all the wires through to the back. Then I cut 4 more lengths of wire and punched 8 holes on each side in the approximate middle of where the first ones finished. I used 2 of the 4 additional wires on each side. I bent them into a 'u' shape and brought them from behind, to the front, and then back through so they end on the back side. Next I used one of the long pieces of copper and attached it on the back side to some of the copper loops there. To make the necklace part I used an over-under technique and wove the copper.

I braided the ends into a loop and wove the wires back through.

Here's what the back looks like with the wires pulled though and the weaving on the sides. Then I used the same technique as above to weave the other side of the neck piece.

When I wove the side as long as I needed it to be to meet up with the other side, I bent the wires over and twisted them in pairs of 2 making sure to leave a loop on top. Then I cut off the excess wire.

I continued weaving up and over the the wires that I bent. This covered the cut ends nicely.

When I reached the loops I brought the wire over and through the end loop. Then I continued by lacing the wire through all of the loops until there was no more wire strands left and they were all wrapped together.

I cut off the excess and pinched it down with pliers. Then I bent over the end to make it into a hook to go through the clasp loop.

I used barge cement to glue down the corners as well as to attach the second piece of leather, which serves to cover all of the wire lacing and protect my neck from it.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Friday, January 6, 2012


I completed my first mosaic this week. It was
 inspired by both my father-in-law and mother-in-law. I am really pleased with the way it came out.