The Enameling of Enameling (Finally!)

And now we get to the fun part. This is where things really start coming together, and you start to see the final piece come together. It's all very exciting!

When I make my wires, I always leave them a little long and trim them as I'm actually putting them in place. A little extra care when laying in your wires will save you grief down the enameling road, I promise. I never start attaching wires at the end of the day, because things tend to get a little sloppy. I have a love/hate relationship with Klyr-Fire. (It's sort of like glue, and holds things in place before you fire them). It supposedly burns off in the kiln, but I've found that it can make the enamels a little discolored or cloudy, so use it in extreme moderation. In fact. I prefer just a little distilled water when I can get away with it. I'll usually attach my wires in two separate firings.

The process itself is very simple:
  • I wet the piece with water (and the minutest amount of Klyr-Fire) using a large brush.
  • With tweezers, I set the wire in place, allowing surface tension to hold things together.
  • Get all the wires in place, keeping things moist, and swearing as needed. (this can be a huge pain in the ass, especially if you've got lots of very little wires- they like to stick together or wander away)
  • When it's perfect (and, really, this needs to be the case), the most gentle sifting of clear enamel over the whole thing. Less is more here.
  • Dry.
  • Fire.
The above pic would be the first firing, just getting the big elements in place. Here's the Baroque necklace with all the wires fired in place:

Here's the Cat and Mouse necklace (I think I'm going to call it "Mon Ami". Maybe.) with the wires all fired in place and ready for some color: