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Experiments in New Skill Acquisition: Enameling

I have a process, by now, for moving to a new place - step 1: Move, unpack, decorate, etc. Step 2: Find the nearest craft school and sign on up for something. So, when I chose to come to Worcester, Massachusetts for grad school (a fine decision, as it has luckily turned out), I wasted little time in booking myself for an enameling class at the Worcester Center for Crafts. For me, this kind of thing has never not been a good decision. In fact, I'll be starting a new course this Fall on stone carving/lapidary - so stay tuned for my first attempts at that. 

I've played around with enameling a bit in the past (at the Folkschool and at Haywood). It's a fun and engaging process, somewhere at the intersection of glass and metalwork. In the most basic version, you are typically applying fine glass powder to metal (usually copper), then using a kiln to melt and fuse those materials together. The results can be varied and gorgeous, and I really only scratched the surface of what can be done. Metalwork doesn't always lend itself easily to vibrant color, so enameling is a great solution for that! 

Above, some of the materials needed for the process: sifters, enamel powder and Klyr-fire (used to hold powder in place until the kiln).

Some samples/test pieces. I used stencils for both of these on copper pieces that I sawed out in advance. They are now both serving ably as magnets on my fridge. 

Some lightswitch covers! I got really into making these, which came at a great time - what with that new apartment to decorate. 

The switch plate here is over-fired, so that it begins to separate and burn off a bit. The effect is lovely and highly textured. 

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