Monday, 31 May 2010

Enamel on glass beads

I was recently asked a question about using jewellery enamels with glass for making beads.  I didn't really know the answer but decided to give it a try.  I had read something about combining materials and keeping the proportions of the added material small, particularly if uncertain about the CoE.

The left hand bead was made using Effetre Clear glass.  I heated the end of the glass rod in the usual way and dipped it into the SOJE27 Deep Blue.  I then proceeded to make the bead around the mandrel sifting more SOJE27 over it.  The enamel seemed to spark a bit in the flame and as you can see there is some pitting around the bead hole.

The central bead was made using Effetre Ivory with SOJE119 Rich Grass Green sifted into it during the making around the mandrel.  The addition of the enamel seems to make the glass spread along the mandrel rather than keeping it's neat shape.  I added more Ivory and more enamel in order to try and improve the shape.  The Ivory is a reactive glass and has become very dark when reacting with the green enamel.

The largest bead was begun using Effetre 591204 White.  When I had made a nicely shaped small bead on the mandrel I sifted SOJE27 Deep Blue over it.  I then encased it in Effetre Clear glass.  This largest bead is 12mm diameter.

They have all been annealed in the kiln.  I think it would be interesting to try more combinations of glass and enamel, but as with everything else it would need a lot of testing and making of samples.

For anyone interested the Guild of Enamellers have a dvd in their library of masterclasses given by Diana East.  You have to be a member of the Guild in order to borrow from the library but the subscription is currently only £20 per annum.  There is a book available called The Enameled and Etched Beads of Diana East and their Intricate Images by James E Kervin  that has lots of step by step pictures of Diana sifting enamel to make her beautiful beads.

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