Thursday, 24 March 2011
One of the cool features of the hotel we stayed at last week was an extensive craft centre, with free tuition in a variety of arts and crafts (just a nominal charge was made for materials).
The one I really wanted to try out was enamelling - since it's not so easy to try out at home - so we booked ourselves into an hour-and-a-half session on Thursday afternoon.
The basic process is simple enough. You use very fine sandpaper to polish the oxides and grease from a little metal shape, you sprinkle on the powdered glass which will make up the enamel finish, and then you fire it in a kiln at about 850°C. You can then add extra glass beads and fire it for a second time to get surface effects.
I made a little flower pendant and some heart shapes that I'll use for earrings, and my husband made a magnet using millefiori beads (glass with patterns through it, which spread out as the glass melts in the furnace).
It was fun to have a play, but I didn't feel like I had enough control of the process to get really good results - most of my favourite enamelled jewellery (such as my flag bracelet) has little metal walls dividing the different colours, which gives for a much more controlled effect.