Sunday, March 10, 2013

Torch Fired Enamel

I have wanted to learn torch fired enameling for a while now.  Actually, I've been interested in it since Barbara Lewis' book, Torch- Fired Enamel Jewelry,  came out.  I love metal and I love color.  So, now that coloring metal has become so popular I'm thrilled!   There are so many products available and so many ways to color metal now.  It's really exciting to someone like me who loves to incorporate color into everything. 

To get back to my desire to learn torch-firing enamel.  While I really love enameled metal I'm hesitant around torches.  I've used my little butane mini-torch, but not enough to be comfortable with it.  Torch enameling requires the use of a MAPP gas torch.  Bigger torch and a canister of gas!!! Oh my!!!  Well, I kept saying I was just going to buy the materials I needed and get started.  But, like so many other things I want to do, I could never "find" the time!! 

A friend and I were talking about taking a class from Sally Stevens sometime, and Sally had even talked about a group from Bead Soup going to her studio to take a class.  Then a couple of weeks ago my friend discovered that Sally had a class scheduled that wasn't full.  So, we decided to take it.  What a fantastic day!!  We had the best time and discovered that you really can make a lot of enameled components in one day as Barbara Lewis says in her book!  It like instant gratification.  Unlike kiln firing enamel you don't have to clean the metal first and then use sifters to get the enamel on the metal.  All you do is heat the metal, dip the hot metal into the enamel and heat it again.  It becomes addictive seeing how the enamel color reacts to the heat.  Here is a picture of what I came home with.

The picture doesn't to justice to the colors of the components.  But, they are vibrant and varied.  Some don't look at all like the color of the enamel  in the jar.  It has something to do with the oxygen and the heat and all kinds of stuff I don't understand and don't care too much about because I just love the color and the fun watching it happen.  And, I can't wait to put these pieces together and make a necklace out of them.
So, now I'm ready to get my own torch and set up and get to work.  In a short time I can have all the components I want.  Exciting!!
I'll leave you with a close up of some of the beads and headpins I made that day.  I hope you have a wonderful day and thanks for stopping by.



  1. Pooh this looks like something I would like to do, beautiful beads!

  2. These are so cool Maryanne! You made some really beautiful pieces here. The process sounds fun and I just love that you "don't understand and don't care too much" about the whys and wherefores and just are excited about the end result. I can really relate to that attitude!

  3. These really came out great :) And what a surprise, like me, you don't care about the science behind it!

  4. Just beautiful! There is such satisfaction in making your own components, isn't there?!! Your bead caps in particular look beautiful! Congrats!!!!

  5. Wow, this looks fun in a scary sort of way! I have a small butane gas torch in the kitchen and I caramelise creme brulee's, but that's as adventurous as I get! This looks like it could become addictive - and I really relate to the notion of not worrying about the science behind it but just enjoying the results. I'm looking forward to seeing what you do with all these little beauties.

  6. This is my favorite part: "It has something to do with the oxygen and the heat and all kinds of stuff I don't understand and don't care too much about because I just love the color and the fun watching it happen." :)

  7. I've been cleaning and pickling my copper, never knew you could do this, I'm geeked to try it, will update you on my outcome, thank you for sharing this, Jules


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