Friday, 19 July 2013

3 months since I last posted, wow, doesn't time fly by.  Here are some of the things I've been doing in recent months.
Had a fabulous time on 2 of Ruth Ball's workshops held at the Big Peg in Birmingham.  First one was a workshop on cloisonné.  The piece I chose to do was taken from a picture I had seen on the web of some materials.  I'd been looking for pics of ripples and came across the one in the background and as you can see this is what I based my design on.  Below is the finished piece.
Ruth Ball Workshop 
Design taking shape - cloisonné wires resting on design drawn onto tracing paper and held in place with sticky back plastic.
Stoned back to a matt finish

I loved the effect and this was in the final glossy state before I decided to do a mat finish

I completed these painted samples on the second workshop. 
This was one of Ruth's pieces but she asked me to paint a design onto the surface and then let me keep it.

Work in progress using sunshine enamels.  I was pleased with the end result but couldn't get a good picture.

Spent a day in the studio making ear-rings.  I love the effect I got using different blues.  I'll finish them off tomorrow

Monday, 8 April 2013

Just spent a fantastic weekend at Guild of Enamellers Conference, Queen Ethelburga's College, Thorpe Underwood Estate, York.  We were first there 4 years ago and the whole place is still very impressive.
I'll add some photos over the next few days but here's one of the plaques I made from a screen at the tutorial given by Dorothy Cockerell.

The weekend seemed to fly past but we crammed such a lot in.  The day tutorials are wonderful and so inspiring.  The retiring Chair always gives a theme for the following year and this time it is 'Communication'.  I have so many ideas whizzing round in my head that I can't wait to get to the studio to try them out.
The highlight of the weekend for me was being awarded Associate Craftsman of the Guild of Enamellers.  We have to put 6 pieces of enamelling up for selection and 3 selectors look at your work and judge how well you have enamelled the pieces.  There were 4 of us who put in for selection and we all gained Associate leve.  Needless to say we were delighted.  I do have some pics on my 'facebook' page  if you want to pop over and take a look but I will be posting some here on my blog.

Friday, 22 March 2013

I thought it might be a good idea to start doing tutorials from time to time so this is my first attempt.
Enaelling is quite simply the art of fusing glass to metal.
Various metals can be used in enamelling but one of the most common is copper and this is the metal I use.   
We first of all need to ensure the copper we use is clean. This can be done by rubbing the copper  with an abrasive sponge or by using scouring powder and water. A toothbrush can be used to rub the scouring powder onto the metal before rinsing with water. This cleaning process removes any oil or grease from the surface.  Another method is to anneal the copper in a hot kiln but you would then need to pickle the copper in a solution of vinegar and salt to remove the fire scale.

After you have cleaned the copper hold it by the edges so as not to get natural oils from your hands back onto thesurface.  Place the piece on a sheet of clean paper.  Place two coins either side of the copper and rest the piece on top of them, this will help when lifting the piece after the enamel has been sifted on.

When working with opaque enamels I always do the back first.  Place some enamel powder into your sieve and sift the powder evenly over the surface of the metal.  It is always best to build up enamel in thin layers rather than trying to sift on too much powder first time around.  We will be sifting on several layers of enamel.


It is important that the mesh in the sieve is the right size for the grains of enamel. Tea strainers bought in most stores have mesh which is too big, allowing too much enamel to fall through. This can be corrected by painting them with a 50/50 solution of PVA glue, letting the glue become mostly dry, then rubbing the sieve with loose enamel. This should gum up the mesh so that it is no longer too big to use. Trial and error is required.
Well here it is again .... snow. I'm meant to be at the NEC in Birmingham tomorrow helping to man the Enamel Guild Stand.  It has been snowing since about 7 o clock this evening so unless it turns to rain I might not get out of the house tomorrow.  I live in hope and look forward to seeing some of you at the NEC if you make it.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

I can't believe it's that long since I blogged, times passes so quickly.  I have had very few days at the studio compared to last year.  Workshops had to be cancelled due to floods, snow and no lights but thankfully I survived.  Here are some pics of recent work.  I've also been getting new boxes which I love.