Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tales From Enameling Class 3/4/14

My latest enameling project is my largest and most detailed so far. I'm making a bib necklace that's going to be constructed of over 40 separate enameled pieces. Each piece has a sgraffito design so it's turning out to be a lot of work!

Here are a few pieces that I've done so far:

The squares are going to make up the base of the necklace and the long strips are going to hang from them, making up the bib. There will be a layer of blue square crystals in between. And I still have to make the wire wrapped chain. In other words, this thing is going to have about a million parts and is going to take me all semester to complete.

I saved myself a tiny bit of labor by purchasing ready-made 24 gauge copper blanks. Still, I have so much to do! When enameling, you actually have to put layers of glass on each side so that the piece is stable and doesn't bend from the weight of the glass. So I've had to put three layers of counter on each blank to match the three layers of glass on the front (for the front, I use a foundation of white enamel, then add aqua and Prussian blue). To get the swirls, I'm using a wire and etching out the design while the top layer (the darker blue) is still in powder form. When I heat the pieces, the swirly pattern comes out.

As of now, I've completed the squares. I like how they turned out because they look like Moroccan tiles. There's a tiny bit of burning in the center, but the darker sections make them look even more like tiles, I think.

I'm having a more difficult time with the strips. For one thing, they're really hard to flatten. I've applied extra counter, I've put them under an iron while they're still hot... but they have a slight curve to them. I might just have to keep them that way.

There are also so many of them to do! I have only seven squares, but over 30 strips... so it feels like a never-ending task. However, I just saw the movie Tim's Vermeer, in which an inventor makes his own version of a Vermeer painting in order to prove that the artist used optics and lenses. At one point, the inventor spent days and days simply painting tiny dots to bring out the fibers in a blanket. At least I'm making swirls, which is fun. I could be creating literally millions of dots, which would get old pretty quickly!

I'm excited about this necklace, though. It's unlike anything else I've done so far and is going to be really cool when it's complete. So stay tuned! My silver wire wrapped enamel tile necklace will be finished... someday.

Meanwhile, check out the rest of my wire wrapped and enamel jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.

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