Sunday, October 25, 2009

Experimental Enamel

As promised I got the opportunity to do some experimentation with torch firing enamel on the weekend. Previously I have only ever worked with kiln fired enamel. And while you can achieve some lovely effects a) you need a kiln! and b) it can be extremely time consuming.

So with a batch of flame red enamel I set about making some samples. I discussed 'wet packing' the enamel with the staff at my supplies shop, but they said that while it is possible the evaporation of the water can cause spitting which can be very dangerous. I opted for 'dry packing' which you can see below. Basically the enamel is sprinkled on in dust form then brushed into the area that I want to enamel.

They said to use a fairly gentle flame, which I did to start off, but my enamel instantly went black!

I had no idea if this was expected behaviour or not, the enamel was not turning molten, so clearly it should require more heat.

Anyway, I figured either way, this batch of enamel was already black so I couldn't damage it any more and continued on, finally it began to get molten.

It started to look red again, I had no idea if this was purely just because of the heat, or the pigment of the enamel.

I gave it a bit more heat until it was really nice and glassy.

When I stopped the flame it went black again.... But as it cooled it started to turn red!

Hooray, I didn't burn it after all!

I tried a few times to check the consistency of colour and experiment with different flames. Now knowing what to expect I found it was actually pretty easy. I was also able to try using flambe and flux on the back of the piece to assist with cleanup.

I'm pretty happy with my little samples, now I have to show my friend the colour swatches and see if this is the look she's after.

'Scent'sational Spring

Despite the somewhat disappointing spring weather we have had this year our front garden is out in bloom at the moment. It is full of colour and life... and inspiration!

This weekend we have two new additions, they both look and smell divine.

While we were planting these two I noticed some gaps, maybe a few more roses will be making their way to our garden in the next few weeks ;)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Supplies Shopping

Today I have gotten organised, I arranged with my in-laws to come and mind Mr 2 so that I could duck out for a couple of hours to the city where all the supplies shops are. This means I have been able to stock up on a few bits and pieces, some that have been on the shopping list for quite a while.

I have been altering some jewellery for a friend who would like some enamelled features. I do not have a kiln at home but have been waiting to get into the city and investigate enamel that can be torch fired. I was lucky that my regular supplies shop has in fact just got in some American Thompson enamel that is lead free and can be torch fired.

I will do some experiments first before I attack my friends jewellery, but I hope to have some test pieces to show you soon. I also got a nifty tripod, as when you torch fire enamel you have to heat from below. I have just got one colour to play with now, I'll see how much I enjoy torch firing before I race out and get any more colours.

I have also stocked up on some more Sterling Silver. This time coming home with 1mm plate, 0.6mm plate and 3mm round wire.

I checked out some of the things on my wish list too, unfortunately none of them were on super duper 75% off sale or anything that exciting. And none of them came in at under $280 so they all remain wishes for now ;)

I got home to find that Mr 2 was sound asleep, Nanna must have the magic touch ;) or Pa wore him out! Anyway, on that happy note I whipped up a pear and fig loaf which smells like it is almost cooked.... Mmmmmmmmm

Sunday, October 18, 2009

At last, a finished piece!

Finally, after weeks and weeks of work in progress, I have actually got a finished piece to show. And it is not one of the works in progress I have previously shown you!

I would like to introduce the Serpent Bracelet.

In 2006 while studying I did some snake scale inspired press forming. The pieces were put together in a glo-mesh style configuration. While I loved the look, the overall construction was flimsy. I decided to put my 'snake skin' into the partial box for later use.

The sample has been given new life as often happens. They sit in the 'partials' box waiting for inspiration to strike. The tabs have been removed and each scale is now joined with a jump ring.

The surface of the soldered bracelet has been brushed with a brass brush to give a soft finish. Then the whole piece has been very lightly oxidised, just enough to give the fabulous range of colour you can see pictured.

The Serpent Bracelet is available now in my Etsy store.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Peppermint Crisp - A new work in progress

I had a couple of setbacks this weekend which has resulted in me putting aside the pieces I was currently working on and starting a brand new one. I generally like to have a few pieces on the go, but hopefully I may get to finish something before I start anything else!

The topaz pendant I had planned to work on this weekend will hopefully get back in motion next weekend, after I pick up some more silver. The piece I had planned to use was not quite big enough. Sadly the sqaure cut amethyst that was to go in the knife edge ring met an unfortunate end, I will need to put that one on hold until I order some new stones.

So on to the new piece! This one had a name from the moment I started, inspired by the gorgeous octagon cut 1 carat green tourmaline I am using.

It reminds me of those crispy mint pieces you get in some chocolate bars, mmm chocolate...

This one will be paired with a nice solid sterling silver ring with champhered edges reflecting the cut of the stone.

It will be set in a nice little basket which I am yet to make.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Hello Bella Moon!

Today I have dropped off a number of pieces, including many of my one of a kind works at a gorgeous new store in Brunswick.

Bella Moon
Shop 2, 341 Sydney Road
Brunswick, Victoria, 3056

It was an absolute pleasure spending a couple of hours with Marti this afternoon getting the stock all setup nicely, she has given my work a wonderful position right in the middle of the front window. It was great to see people stop and look!

The shop is beautiful and bright and inviting, everything is presented beautifully. As well as jewellery Bella Moon sells other products like Handbags, scarves and hats. Marti also makes some of the jewellery herself. It's well worth a visit!


It has been a little while since I showed you the bezel settings I had been working on. Whilst I had the best of intentions the last few weeks ahave been somewhat hectic and I didn't get to spend any time at the bench.

Last weekend we were blessed with some fabulous spring weather, which would have been perfect to get some work done. Instead I pottered around the garden.

I also hit a small roadblock after sketching the design for the topaz pendant. After coming up with a design I was happy with I needed to convert this to a nice symmetrical and geometrically accurate design.... Hmmmm, grade 10 geometry, I don't remember any of it!!!

Luckily I was able to outsource this task to my wonderful hubby. Equipt with a compas and protractor and various other vaguely familiar looking implements he transferred my design to a usable template. And all it cost for his labour was a thankyou kiss!