I had my second enameling class in Brooklyn last night. There were fewer people so there was much less waiting in line for the minimal equipment. I'm also starting to get used to this kiln, which fires a lot lower than the ones at the Y. I basically need to keep pieces in for two minutes instead of one.
One thing I like about this teacher is she lets you do your own thing. She doesn't jump to help you, but is readily available if you do need her help. I like that she just lets us practice on our own. Most of the teachers I've had would jump in to correct me, and one -- who I liked -- would often end up DOING my work for me. I like being able to work on things without so much interference because I can then learn from my mistakes.
For instance, this teacher showed us how we can apply the first coat of enamel simply by torching the piece rather than putting it in the kiln. I actually really like this technique because you get to see the enamel glaze over and turn from pieces of sand into glossy glass. It looks as if you're frosting your jewelry! But this technique doesn't always work. I attempted to torch a butterfly shaped stamping ... and the force of the flame kept knocking it over. I tried about four times and finally gave up, simply putting the butterfly piece in the kiln. That worked! But at least I got to try and see what happens. As our teacher keeps telling us, with enamel, you can always redo and fix things. I like that!
I did manage to finish one piece. I made a small heart pendand for my kids' shop. After feeling like such a dunce in some of my other jewellery classes, it's nice to feel capable here. Some of the other students had a hard time getting the cloisonne wire to stay put, but I got it on the first try! Here is my red heart pendant necklace with fine silver cloisonne:
And this is the weird-looking abstract piece that I made last week: