Here we are, months later and one of the members at the Painting with Fire Ning site is experimenting with enameling on clay ... and having great success I might add. We're up to 1760 members at the site, so things are really getting interesting and diverse! The day before I left for Florida I knew I just had to take a few moments and try it myself. Sure enough, it worked! These are the results of that afternoon, which are headed to Lisa Petrillo today as one of the winners at the Virtual Book Tour!
|Enameled Ceramic Beads|
|Bisque beads from Marla James of Bisque Bead Supply|
While there is some crazing (crackle lines) in the enamel, I never considered that a defect in pottery glazes unless the purpose of the piece was to serve food. Actually, my next step will be to rub some India ink into the crackle lines to accentuate them.
There are a couple of things that make this an outstanding discovery. First is the selection of enamel colors provided by Thompson Enamel. Any potter will tell you how difficult it is to get a beautiful blue-green Celadon glaze. Well, it wasn't hard for me ... all I had to do is to reach for the Nile Green transparent. The red in the back is Woodrow Red transparent, the pink is Rose transparent, the lovely lavender is Harold transparent, and the yellow is Egg Yellow transparent.
But what might be even more important than that is the fact that you can design on the fly! What I mean by that is usually you glaze your piece, put it into the kiln, fire it, wait for it to cool before you decide whether you like it or not. Well, with enameling the piece, I was able to make adjustments DURING the firing process. I enameled one of the shells with Opalescent Green transparent but thought a pinch of Lime Yellow transparent would spice things up a bit. Sure enough, punch!
I enameled the pieces like I would a metal bead by putting them on a mandrel and heating them in the flame. A slow warm up is recommended, which takes only a few seconds longer, but insures no cracking for delicate piece. If you'd like more information about this process, please get in touch with me ... I'd love to share my excitement! In fact, the talented Sally Stevens, a wonderful Baltimore, MD jewelry designer, wrote yesterday, "We have been enameling all the many clay charms and doodads that we have made over the years and it is so much fun to see the transformation." So, there you have it!