Monday, 18 January 2010

My first sucessful attempt at enamelling!

OK, not perfect by any means but I'm rather pleased with it all the same.
I've torch-fired the lead-free enamels on .5 fine silver sheet with fine silver rectangular wire. I've used a combination of sifting and wet packing techniques. (And a bit of swearing when it's fallen face-down on the floor...)
The torch firing method is a little haphazard and tends the burn the outer edges, well, at least I do, until I get a bit better at it!
I intend to contruct a little hotplate kiln next in my next attempt at not spending money on a proper kiln and see what happens. The drawback of torch firing is it makes counter-enamelling difficult on thin pieces like this. The torch re-melts the back each time I fire, as the heat is directed at the underside of the piece. The result- a rather odd looking replica of the wire mesh that it's sitting on! The good thing that torch firing has taught me is how to judge when the enamel is "cooked" and will help me enormously when I start using a hotplate kiln that won't have fancy things like temperature control.
More attempts posted as I go!
And maybe next time I'll remember to drill a hole in the top too...

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

Christmassy photos

I just had to share these with you. I've just downloaded them off Martin's phone and they are rather good!
This one was taken on one of the chillier days on All Saints this year. (Note the lack of other hardy stallholders...part timers!)

OK...the next isn't really Christmassy at all but it was taken a couple of days after Christmas at Crosby, near where Martin's brother lives. One of Anthony Gormley's amazing pieces of art. Nearly 100 of these figures dotted about the beach for miles in each direction. Amazing- so atmospheric, especially just after sunset when we took a walk down there. If ever you're in the area do take a look. I could have spent hours there in the stillness of it all. Ever so slightly sinister but something very British about it too. Something of the Island Race, maybe?

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Snow is STILL managing to mess me about!

It does look pretty, I must admit!
Trouble is, I was booked on an enamelling course in Ipswich this weeked. Snow has meant that it's cancelled. Had a good afternoon playing with the colours at Sue's yesterday instead. She's coming from enamelling from a different direction, but it's great to learn together. (Like picking up items that haven't been on the wire mesh a little later than the ones that been on the kiln floor...) And no, that wasn't me! I just have trouble with simpler things like opening doors. But hey, I'm an artist!!
I might re-book the course in the summer but it will mean taking a day off the market. That's why january was such a good idea. In principle, anyway! Maybe I'll just do what I normally do and learn from experience. I might try some torch firing (not got a kiln yet)when my lead-free colours arrive.
Oh look, it's starting to snow again.
AND I was going to do a car boot sale this sunday instead of the enamelling course. That's been cancelled because of the weather too!