Enamel Test Pieces

The copper enamel sample pieces that I made a while ago now have been left in a solution of vinegar and salt all day to clean the oxidation off them, after this soak they were rinsed and then put into cold pickle for a while. I wanted to coat each sample piece in a layer of white enamel on which to work out some of my copper/enamel designs on.

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Enameling set up

Whilst pickling the copper sample pieces I ground up some opaque white jewellers enamel from Cooksongold (646) to make it fine enough to make a liquid enamel with it.  This took around ten minutes to get it as fine as I wanted. In retrospect I maybe would grind it finer still as It did not hold in suspension very well. I added small amounts of water till it was a creamy consistency.

I removed the copper samples and applied the enamel quickly and evenly to every piece. Next time I will make it thicker as it took a very long time to dry and settled into a patchy pattern as there was to much water in the mix.

After these had dried and the kiln reached temperature, I began firing, my first few were a bit dodgy and the last pretty good. I experimented with different firing timings the longest being 4 mins with very smooth layer but with burning out edges. The first few came out pretty textured like ‘orange peel’ I will keep a few of these to experiment on but for most of the pieces I want a flat surface on which to try out my designs over a base white coat. I added backing enamel to most, I have a few more to re front enamel and a few left to back.

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Burn out and dis-colouration.

Two of the sample pieces are medal shaped so as to get an idea for the size and look of my ‘Jewellery Medal’ I think I prefer the 3-inch sized one. I am considering a fold formed medal with enamel.

I also tried out enamelling a couple of small steel screw washer/grippers I got from a flea market, I have a couple of bags of them and I am considering how I might use them to make some jewellery pieces. They seemed to take the enamel well, I look forward to experimenting with them further.

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Close up of backing enamel, made up of waste enamel powder.

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Disks are medal ideas/mock-ups.

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Some pieces need grinding back and re-enamelling.

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