This semester of my enameling class is about half over, which is a shame because I'm enjoying myself more than ever! I'm still working on my enameled hamsa pendant and enameled cat figurine, both of which have turned out to be more time consuming than I'd anticipated. That's okay, though, because I'm really enjoying the work.
Right now, I'm busy covering the hamsa pendant with fine silver foil. Silver foil is extremely thin and delicate, but will stick to the enamel when you fire it. When you cover the foil with transparent enamel colors -- especially "cool" colors like blue or green -- it looks luminous and amazing. Since the hamsa is a spiritual object, I want the blocks of color to come out looking shiny, like stained glass.
In order to get the foil to fit into the cloisonne wire pattern which I'd placed on the hamsa, I had to cut the siver into teeny, tiny, itty bitty pieces -- and then carefully place each piece so that it stayed on flat and didn't wrinkle. After three hours of this, I ALMOST have the hamsa covered. I hope to finish during the next class and then finally add the colored enamels. After that, I'll work on the cat, which I'll also finish with a cloisonne design.
I'm kind of bummed because I won't be back in class for about a month. It's all for good reasons: the Y is closed for Passover and then my husband and I are going to Japan. The good news is, I spoke with my teacher and when I return from my trip, I'd like to try my hand and some more complex enameling techniques. I'm especially excited to try champleve, which is a process where you engrave or etch recesses in the metal and fill the "cells" with enamel. The raised portions of the metal kind of frame the enameled areas and the pieces that are made with this technique look absolutely beautiful. You can use acid to burn out the areas that you want to be carved, but frankly, that method scares me a bit! I plan to go old school and learn to engrave the metal with a tool.
With the holidays and my vacation, I'll have to put my enameling adventures on hold, but at least I have some really cool things to look forward to this spring!