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.