glass workshops: enamelling

my first attempt at enamelling has taught me plenty of lessons…

backing enamel, applied first.

lesson #1: enamel pulls away from the edges and towards the centre during hot firings (iirc the kiln was set to 805•c). extra enamel should be sifted onto the outer edges.

lesson #2: if the trivet touches the enamel it will show. a wider trivet that only supports the edges would have been a better choice.

lesson #3: overfiring. the back isn’t smooth, but pitted, possibly the result of 3 x 3 minute firings.

front: mexican red, two layers, each fired for approx. 3 minutes.

lesson #4: cleaning is important! i fired the back first, leaving the uncoated front flaky (firescale). i gave it a rub with a paper towel but not enough to remove the scale or the oils from my fingers (presumably around the edges). a second layer/firing did nothing to improve the finish. a scouring pad under running water or commercial cleaner could have prevented the discolouration. (wire wool is not recommended due to the risk of contamination/pitting)

lesson #5: contamination is obvious! i used a sieve that had previously been used with white enamel. the white spots are the result.

lesson #6: inaccurately placed holes are also obvious.

lesson #7: serendipity is fun. i made a stellar nursery 😀

orion nebula

references: linda darty, the art of enamelling, 2004.

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