This is a one day introduction to using powdered vitreous (kiln-fired) enamels on copper sheet.
We’ll discuss what are made from, types of metals that can be used, techniques for preparing metals, using a kiln for firing, safety in the workshop, combining colours, layering and the different applications of enamel. We’ll look at samples in the morning, the equipment we’ll be using and then you’ll start your first piece.
With enamelling, the preparation is the most important thing. It is worth taking time to think about colours and shapes and to try to think ahead (but don’t worry about all of this, you’ll see what I mean – so nobody should panic!). The actual firing time is really fast: 2 or 3 minutes in the kiln and then the time for piece to cool down. It is very different from ceramics in that regard.
What We’ll Make
We’ll start with a square copper “tile” that is 1.2mm thick. We’ll use both opaque and transparent enamels, glass beads and rods as well as millefiore, we will be using different sifters, stencils and sgraffito techniques also. The first project is so that students can see how to use the sifters and stencils and what to expect when they do several firings combining different colours. We will stop for a 30 minute lunch and then everyone gets working on a second tile as their ideas start to flood in and they feel more confident. Students can also make a pendant and earrings if they wish.
At the end of the day you’ll have several pieces to bring home for either hanging on the wall or wearing. At around 4.30 we’ll do our last firing and then clean up.