Tag Archives: glass

How I make stuff.

Many people don’t realize quite how many steps are involved in making my enamel pieces.

First I take plain copper and heat it in my kiln.  This cleans all the grease off it.

Here’s the before shot.

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Here’s the copper in the kiln.

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Here’s the copper after heating.  It’s a bit dirty looking, that’s oxidation and needs to be cleaned off.  When I clean metal I use salt and vinegar rather than chemicals.

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If I’m making domed pieces this is the time to form them.  The heat of the kiln makes the metal softer and easier to bend.  I used a dapping block, dapping punches and rawhide hammer to shape them into curved domes.  After doming they need to be cleaned again.

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Then I fire a layer of enamel onto the bottom/back of the copper.  These will be bezel set so the backs are plain.  If I’m doing regular pieces I always make sure both sides are attractive.

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My kiln is nice and hot.  This shows the temperature at 1433 Fahrenheit but I often fire at higher temperatures than that.

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After firing the backs I sift enamel, which is very finely ground glass,  onto the top/front.

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This is after one firing.

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This is after several firings.  You can see how much smoother and brighter the colours are.  These are ready to be set, they just need a bit of filing at the edges where the enamel stuck to the trivets (the metal stands I use for firing).

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The little domes are now earrings!

 

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And the big domes are necklaces!  Pretty!

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Enamelling at the Yonge St. Mission

Last week I had a great Friday teaching some people to enamel at the Evergreen Centre for Street Youth, which is part of the Yonge St. Mission.  The centre offers a safe place where homeless and street-involved youth can rest, eat, obtain health care and counselling and get help with finding a job or a place to stay or pursuing education.

I taught the enamelling class as part of a program that was started this year by some friends of mine, Michele Witt and Ivanne Binetruy of Connect Studio.  They and other volunteers teach a different jewellery making technique each week in a two hour class at the Evergreen Centre.  There is no charge to the youth and they can drop in at any time during the class.  Techniques including how to make a copper bracelet, wax carving for casting, enamelling and more have already been taught and there’s more on the agenda!

Teaching the class was great, there’s always something new to try with enamelling and each person had a different idea of what they wanted to create.  One person wanted initials of her family to give as gifts, another was finishing up a ring they made the week before and did some fantastic designs with hearts and dots, another did a great collection of earth tones to wear together.  One young man did some very impressive designs that included a lot of glass beads, which were melted into the enamel.  He showed me some of his other pieces that he’d done in previous classes and told me he wants to start making and selling jewellery on a regular basis.  I hope he does, it can be a very rewarding career.  And that’s one of the great things about this program, not only is it a fun way for street youth to spend the afternoon but it also shows them some possibilities for the future they may not have thought of or had access to.

 

Galaxy

Of all the things I make I must admit my enamel bowls are my favourite.  So I’m very, very excited to be making a special collection of art bowls for my very first solo exhibition.  It will be held at Freedom Clothing Collective from June 7th to July 3rd.

My work has always had a certain elemental quality in the swirl of  multiple layers of enamel and in these pieces I’ve taken it to the extreme in a “big bang” of colour.   I love the random beauty of nature and these bowls are my romanticized view of the far flung objects in the night sky.  Each piece represents a celestial body but on a much smaller and more imaginative scale.

The opening reception is Friday June 7th at Freedom Clothing Collective, 939 Bloor Street West, Toronto from 6pm to 8pm.

Here’s a sneak peek of just a few of the pieces that will be in the exhibition.

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Classes

Oh, I am soooo bad at keeping up to date on blog posts! Anyhow, here is a very quick one for your viewing enjoyment 🙂

The women who own Freedom Clothing Collective, one of the stores that carry my work,  love my jewellery and were fascinated to know just how the enamelling process works.  So they decided to take one of my classes. They had lots of fun, made some super funky pieces and wrote a little blog post about it. So here’s THEIR blog post (I know, I’m cheating, lol) about their experience in the beginner enamelling class.

http://freedomclothingcollective.blogspot.ca/2013/04/workshop-torched-studio.html

And here’s a couple of closer pics of their awesome pieces!

Freedom Clothing Collective

Freedom

Beads!! Beads!! Beads!!

I love beads.  I love beads too much.  I buy beads when I don’t need beads.  I have so many beads I could open my own bead store.  If you love beads too then you’ll want to go to the Canadian Bead Oasis Show in Toronto!  It’s March 11-13th at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, 255 Front Street West. 

And not only can you buy beads there but you can take classes to learn how to make your own beads and how to make super cool jewellery out of your beads!

See their website for more details and news on other shows.

http://www.oasisshows.com/Toronto/2011/AlmostSpring/index.php

Grains of Glass

Grains of Glass is a fantastic enamel forum.  I don’t look at it nearly often enough, but when I do it’s hard to tear myself away from all the amazing images of enamel work on their front page!  It’s very inspirational, it always makes me want to do more 3 dimensional and non-jewellery enamel work.  I just need to find the time!  It’s also a great place to ask questions and find out more about what’s going on in the enamelling world.

http://grainsofglass.ning.com/