Sunday, 9 May 2010

Fun with Enamel

My son loves new technology and can't wait to get the newest phone, a plasma HD TV, typical geeky boy toys.  I've always tsk-tsked about it, being very superior with all of my old-fashioned gadgets and waiting until I actually needed new electronics before I bought them.
Last week I realized that I'm every bit as bad, only my spending is on new things to make jewelry, and I'd better stop nagging him about his spending habits.  Of course, the difference is that mine are necessary and his are not.  His are luxuries, mine are business tools.  Yep!  I can still nag.
I've been casting a covetous eye on enamel and the only thing holding me back was the fact that to do it properly, you need a kiln and there's no room in my kitchen for one, or I'd probably have one of those as well.  But doing my quiet-time-in-the-store online window shopping, I discovered that Lacy Tools in Toronto had a whole kit of enamels that only require a half-hour in an oven, or toaster oven.  And it was reasonably cheap!  It arrived within a week. 
A whole lot of things need to be done around here now that spring has sprung and there isn't much time to play with jewelry, but I had to try something with these new enamels.  No time to cut and file copper and I was going to just paint some flat copper strips and cut it whenever, but then I thought of the flower from my last post.  It had turned out so well but needed a bail of some kind on the back and when I soldered the bail on, it turned a horrible color of old, dry copper, not nice at all and really not salvageable. 
But it was perfect on which to try the new enamels.   I put a thin coat of red on first and cured it in the toaster oven for half an hour.  There was a little red left over, so I added a few drops of dark blue and did the inside and the outside of the petals and cured it another 30 minutes.  This stuff is terrific - when it is cured, it has the same hardness and properties of enamel powder that has been kiln cured, but you can paint it on, giving you much more precision.  My only complaint, and it's not going to stop me, is that you mix the colors one-third to two-thirds of a catalyst, and the catalyst has a very strong smell, a little hard on the asthma.  I'll just do the next mix in the store, under the big vent hood. 
So I might have one of the only cell phones left without a camera and a 21" TV with rabbit ears, but I've got some really neat metalsmithing stuff that I don't really have time to play with and a new coloring kit to fix my mistakes!

1 comment:

  1. Okay, this is decidedly cool. Love the effect of the purple on red, and montées you used for the stamens. Are they Lacy's, too? I can feel my credit card beginning to burn!