Monday, May 16, 2011

Hey, what's so special about the Painting with Fire Technique?

I know you hear me talk about torch-firing all the time, but it occurs to me that you might not know some of the differences between the "traditional" method of torch firing and the Painting with Fire method.  It makes me smile when I use the word "traditional" to describe torch firing, because I don't think anyone would consider torch firing a traditional enameling technique!

In the traditional method, you must clean the metal because the enamel will be applied to cold metal.  You must apply a fixative like Klyr-Fire to keep the enamel on the piece. You must sift the enamel onto the piece and try to get an even coating.  Because you're sifting, you must wear a dust mask. You'll place your piece on a firing trivet and go at it, but that's only for the first coat.  Then you must place your piece in a pickle to remove firescale from the unenameled side, spray Klyr-fire, sift, and repeat the firing process. 

Now that you've got ONE coat on the piece, you'll probably want to add one or two more coats, at least. Finally, you need to grind off the marks that the trivet has left.  I forgot to add that you're wielding a 2 lb. torch in your hand.

If you turn the process upside down you get the Painting with Fire method.  We don't clean the metal, we don't apply a fixative, we don't sift the enamel ... and our torch is safely anchored to the table so we have both hands free!

You place your piece on a mandrel.  We dangle it in the flame.  This heating removes all oils, dirt and grime ... hence, no cleaning or pickling. We immerse the hot metal into enamel.  The minute the enamel hits the hot metal it begins to fuse to the piece. Hence, no counter-enameling to cover the back and no need for pickling because we get front and back with one dip.  So, no Klyr-fire or sifting are needed. 

We bring the piece back to the flame and reheat, dip, reheat, dip and you're done.  Now wasn't that easy!  


Laura Twiford said...

Easy AND fun! Looking forward to taking the next step and learning more tricks in July!

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much.. this is so interesting... LOOKING forward to more!
Have a great day!
Take care!

SummersStudio said...

That's a great summary of the technique and makes it so tempting for me to try it out.

Barbara Lewis said...

LeAnn, It's so efficient! Maybe this will be your next step after metal clay! LOL

Laura, July is going to be so much fun and lots of good info!

Hey Fishy, I'm glad you visited today!

TesoriTrovati said...

Dang. But you make that so easy even I can do it! I can't wait to try! ;-)
Enjoy the day!

MomHead said...

Brilliant! I can't wait to try it out. I love some shiny color added to my grungy metal...thanks for sharing, can't wait to get my autographed book...

Barbara Lewis said...

MomHead, I'd love to see your results ... sounds like a great combination ... grungy metal and shiny color!

Erin, You're a little fire bug now!

Mary C. Nasser said...

What a great explanation of the technique! You do make it look easy! :)

So glad I found you through the miz kate dot com Artist blog hop!
I am your newest blog follower. :)
Looking forward to seeing your upcoming posts!

I welcome you to check out my art blog, too!

Mary C. Nasser

Rebecca said...

Wow, that does sound amazingly straightforward....when I get a torch (and a place to put it in!) I will most definitely be having a go!

Patinaware said...

I'm just starting to play with enameling, and would like to know what type of containers are good to store my enamels in as well as use to try this DIPPING method?

The containers mine came in are plastic, and small; so I don't want to use them for dipping.