Kiln Enameling for Beginners…that’s me!

September 20, 2014 , In: General, Glass, Inspiration, Metalsmithing, Studio

I love enameling!  I am pretty proficient in Barbara Lewis’s immersion technique, and I love it!  No pre-cleaning the metal or counter enameling!  I think it is wonderful way to enamel countless types of components without worrying about fire-scale, counter enameling, hefty price of a kiln, etc.

As I shared in earlier posts, I bought a kiln a few months ago…a Paragon Caldera. My original intent with that purchase was to become proficient in base metal clay. At the time, the retailer offered an enameling collar (a kiln segment with a small door to attach to the basic kiln) but I didn’t get it due to lack of funds. Fast forward…my sweet hubby asked me what I wanted for my birthday!

Well, I decided I would break it in by enameling some copper shapes I had already been playing with…I’ve been working on a pin, a sugar skull, and just had a round copper disc…

I cleaned the pieces (or at least I thought I did) and got them ready to go…right in the middle of my firing, the power on the kiln stopped! Yeah, these things use a bunch of electricity! I finally got going again. Here is what I came up with.

They all still have fire scale and need to be pickled. They needed to be cleaner…the enamel didn’t stick in some places and I may have overfired!

It is all a learning process, though! Keep following my journey as I work on this and more with my kiln!

Melissa Meman

Melissa Meman is a mixed-media jewelry artist and owner of Melismatic Art Jewelry. She loves all things metal... fabrication, fold-forming, enameling, but has recently been drawn into metal clay and polymer clay! Her Melismatic Morsel line features pendants, charms, and more in all her favorite mediums. Melissa lives in Frederick, MD with her husband and son and dreams of retiring from her day job, and resorting to singing and hammering/finishing metal for a livelihood!
  1. Reply

    How exciting to have a kiln! I enamel using a torch and while it's great it does have its limitations.
    I find the easiest and quickest way to clean my copper before enamelling is to sand the side to be enamelled then soak in pickle for 10 -15 minutes.

  2. Reply

    I found the best thing for cleaning copper for enameling is Penny Brite and lots of scrubbing. Not my favorite part! The learning curve is steeper with kiln enameling but the results are worth it!! Great start, I love the half circle, it looks like a globe!

  3. Reply

    Thanks for posting this. It is good to see starts even if they aren't as perfect as we would like.Keep trying.

  4. Reply

    how exciting, have fun playing with your kiln

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