Friday, July 25, 2014

Enameling - My First Attempt At Home

My Piece from Pam East's class
This post started as a quick review of my experience in enameling.  It is becoming a 2 or 3 part post because I want to share my experiences with those of you who might be interested in learning to enamel as well as sharing some of the techniques that go into the art of enameling.  

After taking Pam East’s Enameling on Copper Clay class, I was eager to try it by myself.  I thought I would rush right home and delve in to the process.  Alas! I had too much going on in my life to go off on yet another tangent. I love the two projects I made in her class. I loved being part of her Kickstarter Program and decided to wait to try enameling on my own until her DVD arrived.

My Piece from Pam East's Class
A couple of weeks ago I started watching the DVD to refresh my memory on the entire process.  It’s a great DVD and I highly recommend it if you are interested in enameling on metal clay.  She has one set for copper clay and one set for silver clay.  Her directions are clear and concise as she takes the project from clay to enamel to finish.  It’s a good review for metal clay techniques too!  

First you have to make the copper piece to enamel.  Pam uses Art Clay Copper for her enameling and I had enough of it to do the 3 projects in the DVD.  At least I did until a couple of problems popped up in the basic clay pieces.  Project 1 or the Shield earrings were fairly simple. I made the pieces following Pam’s directions and they looked good when I put them in the kiln.  Part of the magic of metal clay is seeing the metal piece come out of the kiln.  When I took them out it was obvious I needed more practice.  The untextured part was too thin and developed a few holes!

The 2nd project in the DVD has 2 layers of clay and Pam stressed the importance of putting enough 'goo' or paste between then.  I did not and the outer edges separated when fired.  I need to really listen when she says something!   I was surprised that my techniques were so rusty.  It was also difficult to keep the side wall cut out straight with no undercuts or slopes. It really does make sense to take care with the greenware phase to prevent unnecessary work at the end.  I remade the pieces.


The first project:  Shield earrings - half textured and half enamel
The clay pieces came out great.    I wanted to wait until I had the three basic clay projects in the DVD were done and enamel all at one time.  I was out of clay!  Darn!  I ordered more and waited.

Future Experiment:  I have several containers of Hadar’s steel clay.  Maybe it would work with enamel.  Why not try?  After asking a couple of enamel related questions on Hadar’s Clay group on Facebook, there was someone who had tried steel with enamel and it worked! 
I proceeded to make the 2nd project on the DVD out of steel instead of copper.  It is in the kiln firing and soon I’ll have a sintered steel medallion and earrings for the experiment.  Turns out the steel experiment will be another blog in the future and the copper is taking more time than I anticipated.

Project 2  and a Future Experiment
My copper clay arrived and I continued with the rest of the copper shield pieces and fired them, pickled and neutralized them and tumbled them. I love the way the tumbler cleans them up.  There are so many tips in the DVD on how and why to pickle, neutralize and tumble.

Ready to enamel.
I made 3 pr of shield earrings and 1 charm
Had to stop playing and go to Cottonwood AZ and while there my friend and I went into a shop called Art Institute Glitter http://www.artglitter.com/ .
What fun!  I found some stamps that I thought would be terrific for enameling projects, saw great things in magic film and sprinkled fairy dust on me in the form of glitter. I must say the micro glitter felt like powder.  Very cool.


Next week I'll tell you about my experience of actually enameling these pieces.  

A Teaser!!




Thursday, July 10, 2014

So Many Memories Hanging in My Closet




Cleaning closets and de-cluttering is such a difficult task for me.  I’m determined to reduce the things I don’t use and have not used in years.  And exactly why do I keep all the stuff?  It’s the memories…… aaah!
Today I started in my closet on the back wall.  It’s a long narrow walk-in and when I moved in, it looked so big …until I started unpacking!  I keep the ‘dress-up’ clothes, coats and vests on that back wall.  It's also a great place to store items for my vintage etsy store.








The first piece I took out was a vest that has not been worn in 35 years.  It looks like new, beautifully tailored with handmade buttonholes and lined.  Someone should be wearing it.  And you wonder why I've kept it that long?  Yes, it has a story.  I made that wool vest.  In fact, I wove the fabric, cut the pattern and sewed it!  It was indeed a labor of love.


 I was living in Mountain View CA at the time and working as an interior designer.  In my spare time, I took spinning and weaving classes.   It was such fun. I even contemplated growing silkworms for their silk. I was going to put them in a shoe box in the closet until I learned how noisy they were when eating their mulberry leaves.  So much for weaving their silk! 

 I wish I had pictures of the sheep’s fleece that I cleaned in the kitchen sink, hung on clothes hangers all over the apartment, carded and spun during that time.  It’s the smell I remember and the lovely chunky yarn I spun.

It  is time to share that vest with someone else.  I don’t wear it now because quite frankly, it is too small and I don’t see myself ever fitting into it!  Since it is now vintage, I listed it on my etsy site hoping someone will love it enough to buy it.    https://www.etsy.com/listing/193257263/classic-handwoven-vest?

Then there is the black lace fringy two-piece dress that I doubt I will ever wear again since it has not been worn in 12 years…it’s still in style but really? I wore it to several special events and felt quite like the foxy lady!   I’m thinking about sharing it. 


Next up is my long white cotton lace skirt.  It is brand new.  Never worn and 25 years old!  I was flipping through a catalog and there she was – a beautiful young woman with long black hair (like mine at one time).  She was sitting on a black horse sidesaddle with the most beautiful white long cotton lace skirt flared to a half circle.  A forest in the background and you knew her knight would ride out of the trees, gather her into his arms and ride into the sparkling future.  Right!  I was married and had my own knight but I also really wanted that skirt.  I bought it.  I still have it along with the memory of that advertisement.  The reality was that I did not like riding horses and could not bring myself to wear the skirt. (thought I looked fat in it!)  I just wanted to look at it and let my imagination run wild!  The quandary:  to share that skirt with someone who might actually wear it and enjoy it or keep it for my imagination.   Hmmm!


 Maybe I should start with the chest of drawers and see if I make better progress.  The closet is going to take some time.  Too many memories and stories in there! 





Friday, July 25, 2014

Enameling - My First Attempt At Home

My Piece from Pam East's class
This post started as a quick review of my experience in enameling.  It is becoming a 2 or 3 part post because I want to share my experiences with those of you who might be interested in learning to enamel as well as sharing some of the techniques that go into the art of enameling.  

After taking Pam East’s Enameling on Copper Clay class, I was eager to try it by myself.  I thought I would rush right home and delve in to the process.  Alas! I had too much going on in my life to go off on yet another tangent. I love the two projects I made in her class. I loved being part of her Kickstarter Program and decided to wait to try enameling on my own until her DVD arrived.

My Piece from Pam East's Class
A couple of weeks ago I started watching the DVD to refresh my memory on the entire process.  It’s a great DVD and I highly recommend it if you are interested in enameling on metal clay.  She has one set for copper clay and one set for silver clay.  Her directions are clear and concise as she takes the project from clay to enamel to finish.  It’s a good review for metal clay techniques too!  

First you have to make the copper piece to enamel.  Pam uses Art Clay Copper for her enameling and I had enough of it to do the 3 projects in the DVD.  At least I did until a couple of problems popped up in the basic clay pieces.  Project 1 or the Shield earrings were fairly simple. I made the pieces following Pam’s directions and they looked good when I put them in the kiln.  Part of the magic of metal clay is seeing the metal piece come out of the kiln.  When I took them out it was obvious I needed more practice.  The untextured part was too thin and developed a few holes!

The 2nd project in the DVD has 2 layers of clay and Pam stressed the importance of putting enough 'goo' or paste between then.  I did not and the outer edges separated when fired.  I need to really listen when she says something!   I was surprised that my techniques were so rusty.  It was also difficult to keep the side wall cut out straight with no undercuts or slopes. It really does make sense to take care with the greenware phase to prevent unnecessary work at the end.  I remade the pieces.


The first project:  Shield earrings - half textured and half enamel
The clay pieces came out great.    I wanted to wait until I had the three basic clay projects in the DVD were done and enamel all at one time.  I was out of clay!  Darn!  I ordered more and waited.

Future Experiment:  I have several containers of Hadar’s steel clay.  Maybe it would work with enamel.  Why not try?  After asking a couple of enamel related questions on Hadar’s Clay group on Facebook, there was someone who had tried steel with enamel and it worked! 
I proceeded to make the 2nd project on the DVD out of steel instead of copper.  It is in the kiln firing and soon I’ll have a sintered steel medallion and earrings for the experiment.  Turns out the steel experiment will be another blog in the future and the copper is taking more time than I anticipated.

Project 2  and a Future Experiment
My copper clay arrived and I continued with the rest of the copper shield pieces and fired them, pickled and neutralized them and tumbled them. I love the way the tumbler cleans them up.  There are so many tips in the DVD on how and why to pickle, neutralize and tumble.

Ready to enamel.
I made 3 pr of shield earrings and 1 charm
Had to stop playing and go to Cottonwood AZ and while there my friend and I went into a shop called Art Institute Glitter http://www.artglitter.com/ .
What fun!  I found some stamps that I thought would be terrific for enameling projects, saw great things in magic film and sprinkled fairy dust on me in the form of glitter. I must say the micro glitter felt like powder.  Very cool.


Next week I'll tell you about my experience of actually enameling these pieces.  

A Teaser!!




Thursday, July 10, 2014

So Many Memories Hanging in My Closet




Cleaning closets and de-cluttering is such a difficult task for me.  I’m determined to reduce the things I don’t use and have not used in years.  And exactly why do I keep all the stuff?  It’s the memories…… aaah!
Today I started in my closet on the back wall.  It’s a long narrow walk-in and when I moved in, it looked so big …until I started unpacking!  I keep the ‘dress-up’ clothes, coats and vests on that back wall.  It's also a great place to store items for my vintage etsy store.








The first piece I took out was a vest that has not been worn in 35 years.  It looks like new, beautifully tailored with handmade buttonholes and lined.  Someone should be wearing it.  And you wonder why I've kept it that long?  Yes, it has a story.  I made that wool vest.  In fact, I wove the fabric, cut the pattern and sewed it!  It was indeed a labor of love.


 I was living in Mountain View CA at the time and working as an interior designer.  In my spare time, I took spinning and weaving classes.   It was such fun. I even contemplated growing silkworms for their silk. I was going to put them in a shoe box in the closet until I learned how noisy they were when eating their mulberry leaves.  So much for weaving their silk! 

 I wish I had pictures of the sheep’s fleece that I cleaned in the kitchen sink, hung on clothes hangers all over the apartment, carded and spun during that time.  It’s the smell I remember and the lovely chunky yarn I spun.

It  is time to share that vest with someone else.  I don’t wear it now because quite frankly, it is too small and I don’t see myself ever fitting into it!  Since it is now vintage, I listed it on my etsy site hoping someone will love it enough to buy it.    https://www.etsy.com/listing/193257263/classic-handwoven-vest?

Then there is the black lace fringy two-piece dress that I doubt I will ever wear again since it has not been worn in 12 years…it’s still in style but really? I wore it to several special events and felt quite like the foxy lady!   I’m thinking about sharing it. 


Next up is my long white cotton lace skirt.  It is brand new.  Never worn and 25 years old!  I was flipping through a catalog and there she was – a beautiful young woman with long black hair (like mine at one time).  She was sitting on a black horse sidesaddle with the most beautiful white long cotton lace skirt flared to a half circle.  A forest in the background and you knew her knight would ride out of the trees, gather her into his arms and ride into the sparkling future.  Right!  I was married and had my own knight but I also really wanted that skirt.  I bought it.  I still have it along with the memory of that advertisement.  The reality was that I did not like riding horses and could not bring myself to wear the skirt. (thought I looked fat in it!)  I just wanted to look at it and let my imagination run wild!  The quandary:  to share that skirt with someone who might actually wear it and enjoy it or keep it for my imagination.   Hmmm!


 Maybe I should start with the chest of drawers and see if I make better progress.  The closet is going to take some time.  Too many memories and stories in there!