Monday, September 28, 2015

Exploring enamelling

I got hooked on enamelling a few years ago, and I've spent a lot of time sharing the techniques, tips and tricks I've learned and discovered. But there's so much more to enamelling and so much left to learn and apply.

Beadfx has great classes with the talented Christine Wollacott that cover timeless cloisonne enamelling techniques that include champleve (where you carve or stamp channels into metal and fill them with enamel) and plique a jour, which is like cloisonne but there's no backing, so the light can shine through the vitreous enamel. It takes skill, talent and patience for enamelling this precise and I'm in awe of current and past artists who've created enduring, stunning pieces using these techniques. You should check out Christine's classes if you want to learn more.

Since I'm a huge fan of fluid creativity and instant gratification, I tend to work in enamelling techniques that give me the option for both. So, for those of you who are ready to explore beyond the basic enamelling techniques, I'm happy to offer, this Fall at Beadfx, several new enamelling classes.

In fact, this weekend I'll be starting off Saturday morning with a torch enamelling class that takes you beyond the basics. You'll learn how to add to your design with various glass materials like cattails, whiskers (stringers), millefiori (very tiny glass cane slices), Carefree Lusters and more. This will take your finished pieces to a new and exciting level.

Then, Saturday afternoon, we will tackle the beauty and free-form style that comes from flame enamelling, also called painting with fire, the Barbara Lewis way. Fire, dip, fire, dip, build up coats of enamel on round metal beads, flower and leaf shapes, then add decals for decoration. No counter-enamelling here, folks. We'll start with enamelling balled headpins then move on from there. This technique is fun, unpredictable and often frustrating, but the results can be amazing, so it's good to persevere.

On Sunday, October 25, just after my return from France, I'm going to take you on a fun enamelling journey when we apply the basics of the raku technique we all know and love on pottery to the world of metal. You have to see this technique to believe it. As always, there's fire involved, but we add to the mix burning paper and herbs, lovely blue and green transparent enamels and a whole ton of unpredictability and you will be thrilled and excited by the results. I'm so in love with the technique right now: the pendants I've been creating for sale at a collective here in St Catharines are just flying out of the store.

If you can't make it to a class, there are tons of online resources. I think I might have listed some of them before, but here are my favourites. Have fun playing.
Torch firing at Ganoksin
Steven James' beginners class at Beaducation
To whet your appetite for painting with fire, here's a flat dog tag enamelled and decorated in under 5 minutes. Wow!

1 comment:

Gail Speers said...

She makes it look easy! But that is v challenging. I can easily get my piece stuck to the mandrel but not on purpose! 😉 It definately takes practice. I note how her station is set up. Everything v close and easily in reach. I definately want to keep working on this skill! Thanks Cindy for offering a place to try it!