About Enamelling

What is Enamelling?

Enamelling is the art of fusing specially made glass powders to a metal base. I use copper mostly, but also steel sometimes. Silver and gold are other metals suitable for enamelling. There are quite a few techniques and you may have heard of cloisonee which is the one where wires are set into the enamel. My work often involves several of the simpler techniques.

The first stage in making an item is to dust a layer of the enamel powder on to a piece of copper using a very fine sieve. This is then placed on a support made of steel mesh and fired in a small kiln at around 800 degrees centigrade. Once the glass has fused to the copper it can be removed from the kiln and allowed to cool. The process is then repeated several times and on both sides of the copper.

A final layer is when you can express your creativity. I particularly like to use stencils and also to draw through the powders to expose the base colour. The last firing fuses your motif into the surface of the piece.

Now the item can be filed around the edges to remove the blackened edge which is a natural result of heating the copper. This improves the look of the piece. Assembling the jewellery  finishes the process.