Now I am by NO means an expert & I am still learning about this technique every time I fire up the torch. This is simply me sharing with you my experiences so far. I strongly suggest you do either an online e course or an in person course before embarking down the road of Torch Fire Enamelling. I honestly feels knowledge is the key.
RESULTS FROM A DOUBLE CLASS 6 HOURS
I was lucky to have been taught by the fabulous Liz DeLuca who is a very well known & an established Glass Artist. Liz's classes are very detailed & a brilliant starting point.
Click the link above to take a class with Liz.
Or an online e course with Barbara
After my class with Liz, I came back to Melbourne armed with my Hot head Torch, enamels, mandrels & beads. Raring to take on the world of enamelling .
My first mistake was not to get into it straight away, I waited a couple of months & really found I had lost my confidence with the technique. I was seriously struggling, things were sticking to the mandrels I couldn't get bright colours & to top it all off I burnt my thumb, quite badly :-(.
At this point I decided I needed to go back to square one & reread all the info & see where I was going wrong.After going over all I had been taught & reading Barbara's books again I decided I needed a pulling station, this allows you to remove the beads from the mandrel with ease & at a less risk of being burnt.
Books to purchase by Barbara Lewis
Once this arrived I got back into it & with much better results. Pulling beads of the mandrel had become a breeze. My other issue of muddy colours had also been resolved. A few quick chats with Liz to remind me about the sweet spot in the flame & making sure my gas was fresh. There is another gas called MAP gas which can give you much brighter colours however I am yet to locate a place to purchase this. I am simplu using my BBQ Gas tank& ensuring my gas is fresh.
The absolute basics to get started enamelling are
1) Enamels - Thompson enamels
2)A Hot head torch & a Tank of Gas
3)Mandrels of different sizes
4)Fire proof tiles set up underneath the torch
5)Safety Glasses, Breathing mask NO LOOSE CLOTHING & safe closed toed shoes, as well as good ventilation
6)Beads LOADS OF BEADS
7)Steel tweezers & a vessel of clean cold water.
All of these supplies can be readily bought online or in store with
Barbara Lewis http://www.paintingwithfirestudio.com/cgi-bin/commerce.cgi?display=home
Kays Artycles http://kaysartycles.com.au/
Once you start it truly is addictive & yes it can be extremely frustrating. However when you get the hang of it and see some of the brilliant results you can achieve it is all worth it. So now let me share with you some of my pieces which I have created using this technique.
START WITH BEADS & PRACTICE GETTING YOUR COLOURING RIGHT ANY THAT ARE NOT PAIRS CAN BE USED LATER AS INDIVIDUALS IN NECKLACES
Once you have mastered your bead making technique you can move onto other more challenging shapes & try out other techniques like building up colours.Such as the earrings featured to the left.
BEADS CREATED TO FIT DESIGN
The other brilliant thing I LOVE about Torch enamelling is when you don't have the right bead to match or make a piece work, you can simply whip a few up. As seen on these sweet Blue Bell earrings to the right.
I also discovered along the way that I could enamel Vintaj Brass components with great success.
EMBOSSED/ENAMELLED VINTAJ BLANKS
I chose not to do a second coat as the enamel would have become too thick & hidden the detail.
During my 18 months of enamelling I have discovered that enamel can & will chip off if either not enamelled correctly in the first place, the metal is not suitable, is dropped onto a hard floor/surface or is too weak, can be bend during wear.
Featured below are some enamelled Copper flowers bought ready to go, teamed with enamel head pins, definitely a favourite thing of mine to make. The Copper leaves to the right have been given a dual layer for a deeper colour range
COPPER LEAVES DUAL COLOURS
COPPER ENAMEL FLOWER
Now to share some of the necklaces I have created using the beads that didn't quite make it as pairs of have been created just for a specific purpose.
THIS BEAD WAS OUT OF MISMATCHED PAIR BUT TEAMED UP SUPER WELL WITH THE LAMP WORKS & SWAROVSKI'S
A LONG LARIAT STYLE
A CHOKER STYLE NECKLACE
Another two magnificent examples featured above of using up non pairs, it really does help you to become resourceful & certainly creates OOAK pieces that simply cannot be repeated.
A COPPER DISC ENAMELLED AS A MAIN FEATURE FOR THIS NECKLACE
Barbara Lewis also has a Facebook group for those who are either already enamelling or wishing to get involved https://www.facebook.com/groups/paintingwithfire/
I honestly do hope this sparks an interest for you to want to go out there & give it a try.
Happy creating :-) Teena