Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Enamelling Art Clay 950

I am very fortunate to be one of the early testers for Art Clay 950, a product currently available for pre-sale from Metal Clay Ltd and launching on 1st September.

I wrote about my experiences with it in a previous blog post here. In this post I want to focus on the enamelled pendant that I made.

Making the pendant
I used a Quick Art template and the Quick Art stylus from Metal Clay.
I rolled the stencilled section out at 3 cards thick. It was easy to cut out the stencil using the stylus which has a really fine tip. My previous needle tool made that quite difficult because the needle was thick so it was difficult to get a neat line.
I dried and filed the stencilled section. I then added it to a 2 card thick layer of wet clay. Once dried I cleaned the edges with baby wipes to ensure no join was visible.

Firing
I fired the pendant on an open shelf on vermiculite in the following two part firing schedule

  1. Once your piece is completely dry put it on a kiln shelf, in a cool kiln
  2. Heat up to 500C and hold for 30 minutes (this first step burns off the binder)
  3. Heat up to 850C and hold for 60 minutes (this final firing sinters the metal particles)

However, I did find that another piece I made broke easily. I concluded that my kiln was under firing but other testers fired the second part of the schedule up to 870C so I will do that in the future to see if it makes a difference.

Firing results
The piece had bowed slightly after firing, nothing that I was not expecting.

Enamelling


Original Art Clay is excellent for enamelling because it is fine silver and therefore does not require depletion guilding to counteract the effect of the copper. I was interested to see how different this would be to enamel.
I went about enamelling this piece in the same way as I would enamel fine silver (by this I mean I did no depletion guilding).
I cleaned the metal with pumice and dried it carefully. I used the wet packing technique to fill the cells that I had created with opaque enamels. I had already tested my chosen enamel colours on scrap silver to ensure the colours would work well.

The colours I used were

Red - LJE0111 terracotta
Blue - LJE06356 dark lapis
Green - LJE0114 mid green
Yellow - LJE0105 sunflower

I did two firings of the enamelling for about 1 minute 30 seconds each time. On the second firing I added more blue and red enamel as the cells didn't look quite full.

Coming out of the kiln the piece looked like this. There were some brown spots and some enamel on the silver (next to the top left blue cell)


I used a medium diagrit and was easily able to clean the marks off the silver. I then used a fine diagrit, wet and dry papers and 3M polishing papers to finish the piece.

I'm really pleased with the result. It was much better than I expected as I had expected to see more of an effect because I didn't depletion guild.

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