This week has been a week of trying new techniques - I’ve had great fun experimenting with creating embossed metal and bead embroidery panels (which I’ve now used for a Mothers Day card - what perfect timing), and today I spent the day learning enamelling at the London Jewellery School (or re-learning - I did learn it before while at Uni, but never used it since (or even then, beyond making a few samples).
It was great to try this again - I remembered practically nothing from doing it before, but I wanted to test the technique out again, in preparation for getting my kiln next month - I am getting the kiln to use mainly for silver clay, but thought I should test out other possible uses too to make the most out of this new investment!
I wasn't massively pleased with today's attempts, but I learnt a lot and enjoyed the opportunity to start practicing these techniques, which I will be able to start putting to good use soon I hope. I love the idea of adding colour to my metalwork in new ways, and am looking forward to practicing a lot, ready to unleash the enamel on some of my silver clay pieces over the summer. I particularly liked using the dry enamel with stencils to create layers of patterns and have lots of ideas now for jewellery designs!
My pieces from today, from the left are;
· Dry enamelling with two base coats, and further layers using stencils on the top
· Wet enamelling, topped with dry enamel, patterned with scgraffito (drawing patterns in the enamel with a scriber) and with a silver wire detail embedded in it - unfortunately some of the top layer cracked off - possibly problems with dirt in the enamel or with the application!
· Dry enamelling in several layers on a silver base
· Dry enamelling, experimenting with stencils and colour shading
· Dry enamelling, experimenting with stencils and colour shading also including scgraffito.
The stitched metal / bead work was started from a brief workshop I took at last year’s Knitting and Stitching Show, and which I thought I’d start playing with again. The thin metal sheet – either aluminium, or other metals e.g. the cleaned and dissected metal from tubes of tomato paste etc - is easily cut with a scalpel, and embossed with the end of a pen, or large blunt needle (or an actual embossing tool), and can be stitched straight through by hand (probably by machine too, but I don’t like using a sewing machine). The metal can be patinated using various solutions, and I used a selection of size 11 seed beads, bugles, and gold coloured gimp / French wire to add more detail. There is also velvet used with cotton wool padding behind it to create even more texture and colour.
I like the bead stitching, but I think the metalwork (and finishing off the sides – disguising the white wadding used to add depth to the work was a problem) needs a lot more practice and planning. I’m now working on more bead stitching, decorating a small handmade cushion with bead edging and fringes – no images yet, but I’ll post them soon.