Yes, Two of the most important things of Enameling an artist needs to learn is:
1-Understand your available fluxes.
2-Test all your enamels.
I was young once, ha and still am at heart, and remember how anxious I was to make something beautiful. I also did not want to take the time to really understand what enamels were. So instead I jumped in and made plenty of messes.
There was only one book I could find and no classes or instructors in my area.
But today there are many books and many classes. Do yourself a favor and cut many years off you bad side of the journey. Study first.
In building a good foundation get to know your vitreous enamel flux.
Like any painting technique there are various primers for various jobs. In art of enameling we have quite a few fluxes but they produce various findings. You have heard of a car having the rust primer coat = flux, before the color coat, If you ever finish a beautiful wooden object you would have the sand and sealer = flux, before the varnish coat. And preparing metal to enamel is the same way. See how I have prepared an enamel flux test plate.
Enamels are reactive to metal, not all but 90% I would say. So flux coats are usually necessary, and there are several hardness of these fluxes from available manufactures.
This is what I call Enamel Test Plates! Raj Lathigara, Ph.D. is serious about his journey in enameling. Getting to know your product is so important. I completely understand, we are so excited when we see this beautiful art for of enameling, we just want to jump in and start playing.
But, if you can take the time, as Raj did here to make these enamel test plates of all your enamels you will find it to be a huge advantage as you begin your journey.
Transparent Enamel test plates of Ninomiya
Opaque Enamel Test Plates of Ninomiya
Attention to detail! Rajesh will be an amazing enamelist!
Demo for the Week! Making Color Test Plates of Enamels
How to make a test a plate of enamel. Necessary to see the true enamel color once fired. What you see in the container un-fired is not what it looks like when fired.
First big reason I go about it this way, is all colors of the same family are here. Making a color test plate as you see below allows me to see how close the colors are to each other which gives me the opportunity use them to shade from light to dark.
Second and even more important is to see the different melting times of each enamel. These enamel dots were all applied at the same time and fired all at once. One did not melt = means it is a harder firing enamel. If you lay it down next to one that melts quicker you will have cracking between the two enamel colors.
Third, I can see which pink enamels have yellow in them or blue in them. This tells me the ones with a yellow base will burn sooner than ones with a blue base.
On to making the plate,
You can pause the slide show when you need to.
* Clean the Copper sheet of 18ga. using comet cleanser or penny brite.
*The copper will be bright and the water should run off. A good sign the metal is clean.
* My counter enamel is moist and I add a mixture of one part Klyre-Fire to five parts water. The Klyre-Fire acts like glue to keep the enamel from falling off when you flip it over the add the flux on the front side of your test plate. Add counter enamel to the back.
* Remove excess liquid with the brush, turn the test plate over and add enamel flux to the front of the test plate.
* Here in images 5 & 6 I am sifting on the flux to the front side of the test plate. If I wet pack the flux and get too much water it can disturb the enamel on the back of the test plate if it runs under. This is the only time I sift enamels, as I do not care for it to be airborne.
*Fire the enamel test plate, I use 1450 degrees, for 1 minute to 1minute and 15 seconds, in my kiln. Images 6 & 7 front and back fired.
*Next prep fine silver foil, using 120 grit sand paper.
*This is accomplished by burnishing the fine silver foil on the sand paper with a small flat tool, like a ruler. This puts small holes in the foil so it will not trap air bubbles when fired. I am using foil to fire test of transparent enamels on instead of using fine silver sheet. It is just less expensive.
*Gently brush off the back of the fine foil so no sand from the paper is on it.
*Lay the foil on the fired fluxed side of the test plate of copper.
*After removing the plate from the kiln burnish the foil down.
*And fire in kiln. This image shows the foil fired on and 1/2 had flux added, then fired again. This way I can test transparent enamel on flux and the same colors without flux. Info I might use later.
* Last 2 images shows my color dots of enamel I wanted to test. These enamels were washed in distilled water before applying. Then fired in the kiln.
Now you know how to make a test plate of enamels
This test plate is for enameling on Fine Silver. If you want to enamel on copper just skip adding the fine silver foil. Also if you are enameling on copper turn the temperature up to 1550 and fire to get a beautiful gold color to the copper sheet.
I would like to mention this plate with all the pink colors on it is .5″ x 3″. And the dots are small that would equal one layer of enamels. Not very much. Just remember you want to see the true color of the enamel and be able to see through it specially if you are enameling on fine silver. If this is one layer think about how much it will darken also with 4-5 layers.
Just enjoyed viewing all of your designs! Do you have any suggestions on shading within the cells of your cloisonne or know of any publications I could read to help me out?
Thanks for visiting and I am happy to try to help. I can not recommend one book on shading, but I can say for me it took time. I was a Fine Arts Major in school and only used pin and ink. My love was drawing. When I first saw cloisonne I was hooked forever and begin a quest to learn colors, and how to use colors in enamels.
I began photographing everything that was of interest to me. When diving, hiking, walking, always carrying a camera. With these photo I made albums to use as resources. I would take a month or so at a time and draw and paint till I got the impact I needed in my art.
Then it takes time to look and see the colors. One trick I have learned is to take a peice of paper and cut a hole in it. Place this over a picture and you can see better it is a pink white or a red green. There is more than one or two whites in a white flower petal. It makes the jewel much more interesting to use more than a couple of colors in the same family when shading.
The Huma Huma on the front of the site has 29 colors from blue to green.
My color plate of pinks has at least 14 colors on it. Now I know this is way too much for many artist but if I lay in half of these colors next to each other I can create a beautiful shading from light pink to dark pink by placing these next to each other.
How to use colors in enameling = laying colors of enamel next to each other of the same color family, and each time you apply a layer of enamel you need to shift to the left or right to avoid a line. I like to work from dark to light. This way after a couple of layers of enamel are laid in and fired I drop out the darkest color of enamel, say it was on the right of my design, then shift all my colors of enamel to the right, I can get a very even and beautiful gradation of color!
A book of watercolors I used is “Light Up Your Watercolors” by Linda Stevens Moyer. She has a couple of exercises you can try, and she uses her warm colors to bring the information forward. Also try “Colored Pencil Fast Techniques” by Bet Borgenson. She teaches Juxtaposing Color which is great for color impact. You can use her exercises in watercolors as well.
The first assignment for all of my students is get a set of water color paints and a pad of hot press watercolor paper and start painting.
Let me introduce you to an amazing Artist. “I am Gocha Gurgenidze it has been 15 years since I am working , I started off as hobby but later on it turned out as my profession. Material I work on is pure gold and silver , I do not show my work in galleries only personal orders , a lot of my work is kept in personal collection of patriarch , unfortunately I just started to take pictures of my work recently , obviously I sell them. Everything is handmade. Thanks for appreciating my work”
Wow, wow, wow!! That is what I call cloisonné!! a contact for Gocha email@example.com