Copper Enameling Workshop

I had a metal workshop with Martin in Copper Enameling, that I found really enjoyable and discovered new materials / techniques that I hadn’t tried out before and I am already looking forward to next Tuesday’s session!

I had to start out by deciding on what design I wanted to apply to the copper, so I sketched up some thumbnails to choose from. I decided on a cat and a kitten, to be created separately. I chose a bigger piece of copper for the cat, as I wanted a variable in scale and form. I used a blowtorch to heat up the copper until the metal started glowing red. Once glowing, I used both heat proof gloves and pliers to dip the copper into a bucket of cold water. I dried the metal and then put two small rows of masking tape over the top, before doing a very rough thumbnail over the masking tape.

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I moved over to a workstation, after picking up a Jewellery saw on my way there, as it was easier to saw into the Copper on there. With the Jewellery saw, I had to be careful not to snap the blade as I was sawing into my softened copper, as I would then have to replace the blade, which happened only once and it is handy to learn how to change over saw blades.

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It took me a while to adjust to using a Jewellery saw, as I kept applying pressure automatically, when I simply just had to have an ‘up, down’ motion that gently made it’s way through my design.

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Once my cat was sawn out, I moved onto filing to create smooth edges, as I wanted my objects to be wearable, as I kept my Project theme in mind, ‘Beautiful, Useable’, as I am turning the cat and kitten into a friendship bracelet.

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I wanted to create small holes in my cat, for eyes and the joinings for where my thread or leather cord to go through. I practised with this very useful tool, that allowed me to have different scale holes punched through the metal but due to my small scale of pieces, the piercer had to be the smallest size. After this was done, I cleaned up my copper with Pummice, a cleaning grit, that reminded me of slip. I was happy to move onto applying a backing of enamel, which I decided to go for a clear backing. I had to wait for the kiln to reach 780 degrees if memory serves me correctly, before I could put it in for a minute.

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Just before it was coming close to 4pm, I managed to enamel my first cat’s front with an Ebony Black colour, which came out looking glossy and sleek. I was very happy with the results, as I had managed to get the holes punched into my second object whilst there was a queue for the kilns. Next week, I will get to enamel my kitten and finish the set, before I move onto Pewter Casting, which I am extremely excited about. I’m going home this weekend to pick out items I wish to create a mold out off.

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Author: lawrenceaaronmaker

Studying a BA Hons in Artist, Designer; Maker at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

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