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.