Adventures in Enamel

I mentioned in my last post that I recently acquired a small electric kiln, so that I could start using vitreous enamels. I’ve spent a fair bit of the intervening time getting to grips with Kenny the Kiln, as I have named it. It’s been a bit of a learning curve, not least because the results can be unpredictable, and what works on one firing won’t necessarily come out well on the next. The different colours need to be in the kiln for different lengths of time too, so I’ve had to judge things by eye more than I expected.

The process is fairly simple in theory. The enamel is finely powdered glass, which you sieve onto your metal sheet, which is then transferred onto a mesh firing rack, and placed in the kiln. In practice it’s very fiddly, and you need a really steady hand. Which I don’t always have – there have been some dropped pieces, and some major swears! I also have to wear a face mask, to avoid breathing in fine enamel dust particles, and protective goggles when opening the kiln.

These are the test blanks that I did, to see how the colours would turn out on copper. Some are underfired, I can now see, but I was pretty happy with them as a first step.

I moved on to working with some floral shapes, and blending different colours, which is achieved through multiple firings. I still have a way to go, and lots more ideas to try, but I have been able to add my first enamel designs to my online shop. I love the pop of colour that the enamel brings to these designs.

I’ve been fairly busy with orders for the past week, but I do have some more designs to add once I get them photographed, and some gorgeous new blue enamels to try.


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