Enameling on Textured Copper

Miranda Simmiss - Etched Copper - Underglaze - Clear Enamel

You know when you get on a roll? Well, it’s like that at the studio on Wednesday nights.

A few weeks ago some of the students started working with etched plates, applying underglaze and clear enamel, like Heather’s pendant I posted about a couple of weeks ago.

Last night we had more fun! Miranda, who started all this excitement with this etched plate, to which she applied a little underglaze and covered with clear as usual, then she decided to change things up a bit and ground the top layer back to copper, the result was beautiful! (my photo really doesn’t do it justice!)

Etched Copper - Enameled - by Miranda Simmiss

                                         Miranda Simmiss – Etched Copper – Enameled

Another piece of etched copper Miranda had been waiting to tackle was this one, done about 18 months before. The design was hand painted which made it even more special.

Miranda Simmiss - Etched Copper - Underglaze - Clear Enamel

                                     Miranda Simmiss – Etched Copper – Underglaze – Clear Enamel

It seemed a shame to cut it up so a few weeks ago she decided to enamel it, which was a dicey decision because the copper was a bit too thin after the etching. But Miranda is game for just about anything and we decided to give it a go……

We started with the counter enamel, you should have seen the plate bending in the kiln!!!! It was amazing:) Then getting it straight again after firing! It was a hairy operation! The top coat stabilised things a little, but not enough to keep the plate flat, so we had to straighten it after every firing, with all the snap – crackle & pop that goes along with the process!

The first coat of flux was a little cloudy, so I suggested to refire the piece to clear the enamel, which worked fine. But all these firings were making the copper react to the enamel, giving it a beautiful green tinge here and there, while the copper turned a lovely golden colour! We liked that……

Miranda Simmiss - Etched Copper - Underglaze - Clear Enamel

                         Miranda Simmiss – Etched Copper – Underglaze – Clear Enamel

So we decided to give it another firing, you notice it became a ‘we’ project by that stage….. (it took 2 people to get the piece of the stilts and quickly pushing it into shape)

Anyway, long story short, we played all evening, had some laughs, some adrenaline moments, and a thoroughly fun night!
The resulting plate is beautiful, a bit Wabi-Sabi which really adds to the design. What it’ll be when it grows up is yet to be decided, Miranda will take it to NZ next week, het grandfather is a talented woodworker and might be talked into framing it, or making a box whith the enamel on top, can’t wait to see!

But wait…. there’s more!

Jan Brown, who’d just come back from holidays and was still jet-lagged, decided to enamel some fold-formed pieces she’d done a while back. So the underglaze was employed again, with flux on top, fired as usual, but Jan’s pieces took on a whole different colour!

Fold-formed Copper with underglaze and clear enamel by Jan Brown

                         Jan Brown – Fold-formed Copper with underglaze and clear enamel

Instead of the deep green, there was a silvery, blue/aqua tint to the enamel, just gorgeous! Now Jan is not precious about her work, so back in the kiln it went, controlled over-fired and more green developed:)

The process is not predictable, which really adds to the excitement. When things go wrong another colour can easily be fired on top, or maybe you could even think up some other ‘abuse’ that might lead to another serendipitous result! That seems to be the spirit of this class, it is such a great group, Miranda suggested we should do an all-nighter soon…… Hmmmm…. still thinking about that one…. 🙂

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