Fall in Love with Enameling and Learn Unique Enamel Surface Effects
Our resident Queen of Wire is branching out today to share her love of enameling. As a trained jewelry artist, Denise discovered her greatest love was for colorful enamels–and I have to agree with her! Here's why she loves enamel jewelry making and why it's so much fun, plus how you can learn to create unique surface effects along with those gorgeous colors.
I'm in Love with Enameling!
by Denise Peck
When I finally went to jewelry school, in my early 40s, I wanted to learn everything! It was a dream of mine that I'd put off for 20 years. So I chose a program that prepared me to be a bench jeweler. And we surely learned everything. From the basics to electroplating, chasing and repoussé, rubber mold making and casting, and every kind of stone setting . . . including pavé. I believe I failed at that one, if I recall.
But the one that reeled me in, hook, line, and sinker, was enameling. I was completely captivated by the array of colored glass powders lining the wall of the studio. Whereas everything else we were working with was basically colorless, those containers held a glittering rainbow. And when we learned how to apply them to metal, and watched them go into the kiln as granules and come out as glass, well, it was like watching magic. It was such a small part of the curriculum, but it was the one that struck a chord for me. I couldn't get enough of it.
About five years ago, I indulged myself again with a week-long enameling intensive with the woman who literally wrote the book on kiln enameling, Linda Darty. Again I was captivated. There is nothing so satisfying as pulling your pieces from the kiln and seeing the transformation. These photos show some of the pieces I made in that class. I don't think I've ever felt quite so proud!
You can enamel on both copper or silver blanks, and when you buy them ready-made like that, so much of the work is already done for you! There are more sizes and shapes of blanks than ever before, what with the explosion of interest in metal stamping. You can use those exact same blanks for enameling that are sold for metal stamping. Imagine a banner-shaped blank enameled with sgraffito and then riveted on a ready-made leather bracelet. Instant masterpiece!
Now, there's a whole new way to lay down those gorgeous colors–liquid enamels. And dare I say, it looks a little bit easier than sifting those fine powders. I can't wait to try it, and Susan Lenart Kazmer, another accomplished enamel artist, shows you just how to do it in her new video workshop, Kiln Fired Liquid Enamel and Sgraffito. In her inimitable way, Susan shares all the different ways to get fantastic surface effects with cool enamels, including mixing colors, custom textures, crackling and sgraffito.
If you haven't given enameling a try, now's your chance. Everything you need is so much more easily available than when I was in school. I think you'll be hooked just like I was! And you couldn't ask for a better tutor than Susan Lenart Kazmer.