Friday, August 29, 2014

New Project: Handmade Enamel Christmas Ornaments!

I know, I know, it's been a really long time since I've posted. Well, we were on vacation for a few weeks and it's been a pretty quiet summer in terms of my jewelry businesses.

Happily, things are picking up! So far, I have two craft fairs scheduled for the fall and class stars again in a few weeks.

In retail, September typically means the start of the Christmas season. Yes, it's realllly early, but I've seen many stores put out the beginnings of their holiday items along with the back-to-school stuff and Halloween costumes. I guess some people like to get their holiday shopping done well in advance so they don't have to contend with crowds -- and can enjoy Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, etc. without having to worry about everything else.

For this year's holiday, I'm trying something new: I'm making cute enamel Christmas ornaments. It seems like a natural thing to do with enamel, but I haven't made pieces this big. Anyway, my ornaments are all cat-themed:

Obviously, they are still unfinished. I won't have access to the kiln until class resumes next month so for now, I'm cutting out the metal shapes from 24 gauge copper. I drew those shapes free-hand, by the way, and then used each of my initial cut-outs as my pattern. I made angel cats, cats in stockings, cats with Santa hats and gingerbread cats. I think these Christmas ornaments will be colorful and fun, and when they're finished, I plan to hang them from a tiny Christmas tree.

From a distance, it looks like I'm making cookies or paper dolls, but working with metal -- even metal that's pretty thin -- can be dangerous. I'm using extremely sharp sheers and any rough edges of the copper can slice through your skin. I've actually spent much more time filing the ornaments because I want the metal to be smooth for the enameling process. I have a bunch of cuts on my fingers from my work, but that's okay.

This past weekend, my childhood friend Lani came to visit and wanted to try her hand at cutting out a metal shape. She thought it would be like cutting through paper and was surprised at how tough it is. With some work, though, she managed to make a little fish, which she called her "Sharknado" (after the movie, of course):

At first, she didn't want to file down the points, but gave in and let me do it after she poked herself. Her plan is to paint her shark and put it on her living room shelf.

As of now, I'm almost finished with Phase One of my ornaments. My plan is to make 20 to start -- and then make more if they sell well. I'm very eager to get to enameling, but I'll have to wait. Meantime, enjoy your Labor Day weekend.

Check out my jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations.