The size of the beakers are perfect.
Thank You !
I thought they were much larger which would have been too much for my brain to cope with.
The size is the maximum I can fit in my flame-fast kiln !
The lady that bought one at the goldsmiths fair also said that she liked the scale. She is a collector but only has a modest house so she like the idea they could fit with her display.
The Britannia silver is 960 as opposed to 925 (sterling silver).
A higher fine silver content.Thats perfect.
Higher silver is also regarded well by collectors as there is more silver in the piece !
You used flux first. Why?
I wanted to cover the metal in one go - I also anticipated adding wires, but decided against it as I was making them in a limited timeframe and realised I would have difficulty working things out in time.
The flux that I have used are either too soft and bleed through into the colour, or when I use a diamond flux (very hard) it dis- colours.
They can discolour - firing is tricky if they over fire or underfire.
Soft fluxes would be a nightmare on a beaker !
So just hate flux and avoid it except for cloisonné. Does the flux you use work well or is it temperamental?
Blythes C1 has always worked for me without any problems. I use it on all sorts of pieces.
Presumably you would try and cover as much metal with flux as possible in one go?
Yes this was the main aim of using the flux as a base.
I might though work on them differently on future pieces, it isn't totally necessary.
It all depends on the design. These pieces essentially were a big test to see how to make them.
They are the first beakers I have ever enamelled !
Before I enamel I clean the silver in nitric acid * to clean any fire-stain out of the metal, so I needed to fire the first coat all in one go to protect the metal from getting the fire-stain back into the metal surface.
(* nitric acid as you will know is a very dangerous acid - it will burn you skin/eyes and you must not breath the fumes at all, only ever use if you have the right set up. Always wear full safety clothing - goggles gloves apron proper footwear and you need a fume cupboard etc etc - if you need more information on this do let me know - do not use acid if you have not been shown how to use it. )
If an area was not covered with flux, but still fired, what would you do.
That area would have fire scale on?
I would have to clean the fire-scale off again. Which would mean going through the acid again. There may be patches where the enamel has come off.
The substance that you use to hold the enamel. Would it be the equivalent to 'gum arabic'?
I use gum Arabic' would that do the same job???
Klyrefire is similar but is clear and doesn't seem to affect the enamel so long as you don't add too much.
There is the risk of making the colour cloudy if you add too much. Its more similar to gum tragacanth.
Do you use the enamel bought in frit form or powder form.
Generally Both depends what I have in/what is available, but with the beakers I favored frit as I want to be sure I got a good clear colour. Powders are ok but I can be certain if I grind my own colours.
How many times on average would you fire each piece?
It varies ! each design is different. The minimum is around 6 firings but with a painted piece it can be 12+
However that said too many firings with a beaker in Britannia can cause problems the metal is soft and will warp / distort the design etc.
At what temperature (high, medium or low)
I run my kiln at around 950+ I like to fire quick and high.
Do you stone the piece once all the enamelling is done, what would you use?
Yes, I also stone between layers so there is not too much build up and I make sure the colours stay clear.
I used the wet-pack method for the beakers. Placing the enamel on wet with a quill can give a bumpy surface as its difficult on the 3D vertical. I may try doing some sifting next time...
I use carbourundum stone and diagrit pads.
Just out of interest, do you do your own engraving?
I imagine its hand engraved not lazier or etched?
What depth is your engraving?
Yes - all hand engraved. Time consuming but I enjoy doing it and like the control I have.
The depth of engraving is generally 0.3mm but on these piece some areas are 0.2
What do you do about the fire scale in the metal.
Clean it out before I enamel - see previous note above re: nitric acid
What instrument do you use to wet pack the enamel with.
A bird quill (goose I think ) - old fashioned stlye !
Very interesting that you fire the beakers upside down, on a tile, with a hole in the center.
The hole is essential - you have to allow air to flow into the shape & without a hole the heat will build up too much.....the tile is also there to catch any enamel if it falls off, so that it doesn't go onto the floor of the kiln.
Placing the work upside down also gives more chance for the enamel to stay, due to the shape.
Enough for now!!!!
Looking forward to chatting more !
Here is a supplier list for the enamels and sundries I use > click here for SUPPLIERS
with SASHA LEON