Thursday, May 31, 2012

Enameling And Precious Metal Clay Class, Part II: Works In Progress

Anyone who reads this blog knows that I'm not the best at metalsmithing, but I'm loving my enameling and precious metal clay classes. Both are so much fun and the time flies by.

Making enameled jewelry is a lot like painting with water colors. This week, our teacher showed us how to wet pack the powdered glass so we could paint it onto a test strip. You add a drop of water to the glass and it turns it into a paint-like substance; you then use a brush to dab it onto the surface you intend to enamel.

In our case, we're currently working on copper test strips. We cut a piece of copper and covered part with clear flux and part with white enamel. We then painted glass colors on top to see how each colors looks against the various backgrounds. The colors pop against the white, but are more subdued against the copper. By using the test strip we can see how the colors appear so that we can make a more informed choice when we actually start a true enameling project.

Even though this is just a test strip, I still think this is really pretty!

The shiny flakes are pure silver foil. It's so fine that you can add a little water, take a brush and just stick it to the strip. I definitely want to find a way to include some foil as an accent. As for the test strip itself, I really want to do something with it -- maybe turn it into a pin.

While enameled jewelry involves painting, working with PMC involves sculpting. We finally got to play with the clay in our last class and I got so involved in my work, I completely zoned out. The teacher was even like, "Wow, you're so quiet!" But I made an organic-looking pendant into which I carved a little spiral design, and also made little round earrings. The earrings are still with my teacher, but we had time to fire up the pendant. It's not yet finished as it needs to be oxidized and polished; right now it looks like a gray lump. But here's a preview:

Since it took so much work to make a little ring in my first metalsmithing class, it's nice to take a class where you can get results pretty quickly. Not that I mind working hard, but sometimes it's nice to get some instant gratification! I'm definitely repeating these classes in the fall because I'm having such a good time. But for now, I'm glad I'm at least getting an introduction.

To purchase my jewelry, head to Naomi's Designs.

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