I have been experimenting with enameling for several months and finally just about nailed doing flat or gently curved surfaces. Using a torch under a tripod, I created some rather lovely pieces. My ultimate goal, however, was to learn to enamel beads. This technique simply eluded me.
I had been reading and studying Barbara Lewis’s book, “Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry, a Workshop in Painting with Fire”. Her beads, discs and bead caps were magnificent. Her set-up was ingenious, with the anchor piece being something called a bead pulling station. I ordered all of the pieces, but couldn’t create a single bead. I knew it was related to the amount of heat generated by my torch. So frustrated! All of this money invested in a technique I so badly wanted to conquer and I couldn’t.
Imagine how excited I was when a Painted with Fire class was being offered locally by my friend, Eva Sherman, at her studio, Grand River Beads. The day long class was taught by Debora Mauser, a Certified Painting with Fire Instructor. She finally pulled all of the pieces together for me. The first step is to put a bead of your choice-copper, brass, iron-on a mandrel. The bead is heated until it glows and totally immersed in a can of enamel. Add 2 to 3 additional more layers of enamel. When done, pull bead from mandrel by placing bead in “V” of bead pulling station. Beads cool in a bed of vermiculite. Many other techniques were discussed.
I am so thrilled at everything I learned at the class. I have been able to reproduce much of what I learned, but I have lost a few of the finer points. Enameling has added a new dimension to my jewelry making.