About Me

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I am an artist, wife and mother, paraeducator, yo-yo dieter, and small town country girl. I love singing in my church choir, computer time, beading and making jewelry. And I love enameling! There is something very magical about turning powder into smooth, shiny, and colorful glass.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday's Tools

Four Piece Mandrel Set

I found this wire working mandrel set in Michaels for a very reasonable price and I had a 40% off coupon! The mandrels are made from heavy duty plastic and are round, oval, square and triangular shaped. There is a handle that can used on any of the mandrels. What I like about this tool is that it is lightweight and easy to hold. What I don't like is that the plastic bends too much to stay secure in a vise. If you are making something that requires two hands, the mandrel wiggled around a bit too much. I was able to rest it on my work table and make it work. And I really liked having the oval, square and triangle shapes available!


Monday, October 8, 2012

Weekend Warrior

Experimenting With Crackle Enamel

 I wanted to replicate the crackle effect I've seen on some gorgeous ceramic beads but of course with enamel! I had bought some crackle base a few years ago but never used it. Time to experiment! Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information on using it. I had the page from the Thompson enamel book but it was pretty technical information. I also was confused because you have to use liquid enamel over the crackle base but in some cases the liquid enamel was also called crackle enamel. I went ahead and cleaned my bead and sifted a coat of clear crackle base on it.

I fired the bead at 1470 degrees for three minutes. It came out looking like this.

The next step is to apply the liquid enamel over the crackle base. I only have white in the liquid enamel. First you have to add water and mix it well (there are good directions on the package) and then dip the bead in it.

The liquid has to dry completely before it is fired.

I fired the bead at 1470 degrees for 3 1/2 minutes. Viola! It crackled!

I wouldn't say this is exactly what I had in mind but it's not bad either. The liquid enamel fires to a less glossy finish than regular enamel. More experimenting to come!! If you are reading this and laughing at my bead, please feel free to comment, I would truly love some advice on using crackle enamel!


Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Warrior

Well, not exactly! I had a wonderful weekend spending time with my family but a warrior I was not. So I wanted to show you what I'm hoping to do some weekend in the future. Since my experiment enameling the iron filigree beads in my kiln had mixed results and the bead caps were a total disaster, I bought a Hot Head torch and a canister of MAPP gas. I already have the wonderful book Torch Fired Enameled Jewelry by Barbara Lewis so all I need to do is find the time where I can concentrate and experiment!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

(almost) Wordless Wednesday

These are the earrings I made using my new enameled components and some small lamp worked beads from blue seraphim.  I love the colors and an instant gratification project!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Weekend Warrior

       Corrugated Enameled Earring Components

I love the look of corrugated metal. It's modern and rustic both and very easy to achieve with my tube wringer. First I measured and cut 24 gauge sheet copper. I usually use 18 gauge copper for enameling but I needed a thinner gauge to put through the wringer and I didn't care if they warped a little in my kiln. I was going for the rustic look.

I made two different sizes and smoothed the corners with a file. I put a hole in the ends using this great punching tool. I will write a blog on this fantastic tool soon.

 I then ran them through the tube wringer holding it tight so the copper crinkled up good. I lightly flattened them with my rubber mallet.

I cleaned them good which was a real pain with all those ridges! I enameled them in my kiln using one coat of clear and one or two coats of opaque and transparents. I discovered that the thinner and lighter coats of enamel looked the best because the ridges showed up better and the look was more rustic and appealing. Pictures of some finished earrings soon to come!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

I'm In A Magazine!!

Actually, I'm not in the magazine but my work is!! I am absolutely thrilled and excited to have one of my enameled leaf clasps picked to be part of Stringing Magazine's Shopping Guide for 2012. Be still my heart. 

This is how the pages look and my clasp is the green enameled leaf in the right top corner. The quality of the other beads, clasps, and findings is top notch, well worth buying the magazine. If you've never bought Stringing, it comes out 4 times a year and is full of gorgeous jewelry design and instructions for making them.

And here is he clasp! I have other styles and colors in my enameled clasp section of my Etsy shop.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Making Messes

I wanted to finish enameling the filigree I blogged about earlier. I had these great roundelle shapes that I had already put on one coat of clear. I set my kiln temp at 1470 degrees and set about putting a layer of whiteThen I started on the transparent layers. What a disaster!

The enamel started pinging off while the beads were in the kiln. What didn't pop off melted onto the mandrel and cracked off when I tried to remove the beads. I threw them all in the trash. I'm not sure what went wrong. I previously had good luck with opaque enamel and I had the kiln set lower so maybe that had something to do with it.
 Next I tried the bead caps. Better, but not great. Not what I envisioned at all.
 I am going to try again with the temp set at 1460 degrees and see what happens. I hate to give up, so stay tuned! On a more successful note, these plain round beads came out great and I love the Autumn colors!