Metal and Glass

Enamel Colors

My word for 2016 is ‘rewrite,’ and I am rewriting how I usually do things. In terms of art, I am trying to push the boundaries by taking the time to experiment and play with my usual materials (glass!) and try new ones, too.

So far this year, I have continued exploring glass fusing and have created a couple mosaics after working on my studio octopus.

Working With Metal

On impulse, I signed up for a wave bracelet class taught by Andrea Guarino Slemmons. Working with metal is a push for me, since a) I am not really a tool person, and b) I don’t have many metal-working tools. And you need a lot of tools to work with metal.

But why not? #rewrite! Plus, Andrea is a friend of mine, and it is always wonderful to catch up.

She lives in a beautiful corner of the world called Port Townsend.

Port Townsend Sunset

Wildlife abounds – raccoons, deer, ducks, and an eagle that lives in a tree in her yard.

Eagle Sitting In A Tree

An eagle taking flight after a seafood snack.

Eagle Taking Flight

But I digress. Back to metal.

 

A Peek At The Process

My bracelets started out like this. Flat strips of metal that I stamped textures on.

Bracelet Strips

The copper was for hammering practice and to see what the stamps looked like. The silver strip is sterling silver that I used for my bracelet.

Then I learned how to solder. This is joining the two ends together seamlessly with heat and metal (solder). The mini torch was fun!

Look how cute it is.

Soldering my bracelet

===lots more hammering, shaping, melting of wire to make pins, drilling metal===

Then… COLOR! ahhh

You can’t really control the color, but I called mine ‘done’ during the blue-purple phase.

Colored Bracelet in progress

I repeated the steps with bracelet #2. They were pretty at this stage too. I almost didn’t want to polish them.

Colored Silver Bracelets

But I did. And…Look what I made!

My Wave Bracelets - Janet Crosby

This was soooo exciting and fun. These two bracelets took all day, but I learned so. many. things.

Back Home

We stayed a few days in Port Townsend and had a wonderful time. My mind was whirring with all of the new things I learned, new ideas, and the new tools I now must have. (bad!)

I needed a few days to decompress and let it all settle in.

Then a strange thing happened. I needed to pick up an order that I placed before my trip at my local jewelry supply. The usual stuff. Except they were abuzz setting up a display for a new (to them) product: enamels.

Enamel is fine powdered glass that is used to fuse on metal. I have some enamels that I use when making glass beads. But metal…! Oh, the possibilities.

Thanks to this class with Andrea, I had new information about working with metal and even some metal confidence to try enameling.

First Experiments

I am always driven by color first. Whatever I am working with — glass, yarn, metal — color! Enamels are almost instant gratification. Flame, melt, cool. Done.

I went with my comfort zone – greens and blues. These are my first color experiments.

First Enameled Pieces

I cut the shapes and was super happy to mix the green-blue ‘ocean’ colors. I am still working on smoothing out the bead holes though. That is tricky for me.

I am practicing cutting metal and shaping it. Like the class, I am working with copper because I have a lot of it and it is a good ‘starter’ metal. Easy to handle and it fuses well with enamel.

Here are some pieces that I cut and shaped, pre-enameling.

Copper Pieces

Here are rounds 2 and 3. I am branching out with colors.

Enamel Colors

For reference, the largest pieces are about 1″ (25mm) in diameter, the smallest circular pieces are 1/2″

Now What?

It is all deliciously fun! Metal, glass, new ideas, new pieces to create. But first, I needed to order a few things…

Studio Helper Wondering What Is Next

To be continued…!