Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Out of the kiln, into the pickle pot

I've now enameled just about everything in sight. I even enameled a piece made from sterling silver wire, which meant going through the rigmarole of bringing the fine silver to the surface by heating, quenching, pickling, repeat 6 more times. Not a problem - just did it in between switching various things in and out of the kiln. You could practically hear the swish as I moved from the soldering station to the kiln. Heat, quench, dump in pickle, swish, open kiln and remove red hot items, put in waiting items, close kiln, swish, heat, quench, dump in pickle, swish....get the picture? (Yes, we see...) Can you tell how much I love being able to say that I have a soldering station and kiln? Yes, they're both temporarily set up in my kitchen and I have to break them down after each use, but working with hot metal is a complete thrill.

All but one of the adinkra pieces I made are now covered in enamel. The green circles in the upper left is the one made of sterling silver. The only one that isn't covered with enamel is now hanging in front of an enamel copper oval. I like the idea of an enamel piece showing through the silver wire, but I'm not sure if this is the right piece. (I worry that it makes the adinkra look a little like a cockroach.) There's a second shot that shows the copper pendant better. It was made using a very cool enameling pen that writes with what looks like black paint. For this pendant I doodled on the bare copper, then covered the whole thing with flux, which is basically transparent uncolored enamel. It keeps the copper from getting covered with firescale and turning dark brown, so you get the nice rosy glow of heated copper. The other neat thing is that the powdered enamel doesn't seem to like the black pen enamel, so you get this interesting resist effect which I think you can see if you click on the second picture. I think this technique would look great with transparent colored enamel too, but sadly my starter kit of enamels from Rio Grande didn't come with any. It also didn't come with any yellow and there are TWO different shades of brown. Who wants brown enamel? (By the way, to see stuff on the Rio Grande website you have to be a member and log in. If you make and sell jewelry it's easy to become a member - call them, give them a website or real world location where your jewelry is sold, and you're in. For those of you who don't sell jewelry or don't want to become members, sorry. I'll try to keep the Rio Grande links to a minimum.)

Soldering is proceeding apace and yesterday I made two pieces that are definitely acceptable. I've even made them into necklaces. Not sure I'm going to sell them yet, but they're not bad. This one is a piece I made intending to replace the tendril components I ordered from somewhere -- I can't recall and can't find the components at any of my usual on-line jewelry supply haunts. You can see those components in a necklace here. Granted, my swirly thing isn't as delicate as the store-bought components and my soldering is a little visible while the store-bought soldering is invisible - but I'm quite happy with the swirly thing.

The other piece is based on a sketch of a spider web I saw a couple of months ago. It wasn't anything like your usual spider web, as you can see - of course, the real thing was much more detailed, but this is what looked best once I started piecing it together. I oxidized it and went for a Lair of the Black Widow look. I'm much less happy with the soldering in this one and the wire bending is awkward, but I think it captures the odd swoopy shape of the original pretty well. This one I'm not going to sell - I have a friend whose birthday is coming up who could, as they say, rock this necklace. Wonder who it could be?


DC Designs said...

those last two photos look great! I love the lines of them

Anonymous said...

Hi What type of kiln is suggested for soldering flat(mostly) silver and gold items. For example 3 different colors of gold to 1 piece of silver