Thursday, August 21, 2014

Vitreous Enamels on Copper 101--AKA Learning to Use a New Medium!

Yesterday, I was hopeful I could somehow import photos to here from my iPhone to post on didn't work.  So I'm looking into an app that will let me blog from my iPhone as I'm not near any wifi or a big computer...just my little phone & 4G most of the time this summer!

So below is an overview of my summer exploration into vitreous enameling on copper...part chemistry, part magic, and definitely trying to "paint" with powders and crumbs of glass under fierce heat in a kiln.  Pretty exciting, actually!

 Copper shapes on trivets and a wire tray, either going into or coming out of the kiln.

 A lot of larger glass bits, of the correct melting point to use in the system of enameling that I'm using. (Apparently, different glasses melt at different temperatures....that's a bit beyond me yet!)

So I turn the crushed glass bits into my "palette" in order to use some of these bits.  Finely graded glass powders are used to cover even areas of the metal with a fine coating to fire as a smoother coating.
 More copper pieces, either coming out of or going into the kiln.  My pieces seem to require a minimum of 6-7 individual firings between 1400F and 1500F before they may or may not be "finished" to be cleaned up for use in earrings, pendants...and soon to come-tack pins and other wearable items.

Due to all the steps involved, I tend to work on several things at one--in this case, pairs of earrings.  I seem to learn new things almost every time I work in this new metals studio at the old campground, and as noted in my post yesterday, I've been posting "blow by blow" photos and info on my new Instagram page @WillOaksStudio in case you'd like to check it out and/or follow along!! 

OTOH, if I CAN figure out how to blog from my phone, well shoot, I can add more goodies right here too!!  To be continued!!!!!  Thanks for stopping by--Karen


Grace said...

That sounds incredibly complicated...but pretty.

WillOaks Studio said...

It's quite a bit to learn--it appeals to the mad scientist in me!

Anonymous said...

Karen, it was such a delight to meet you yesterday. You have a beautiful place to work and I LOVE the things you create. Wearing my jade/silk-cord necklace to work today :). Thank you for all the wisdom-from-experience and encouragement you offered!

WillOaks Studio said...

And best of luck on your blanket project on Etsy, Joan!!


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