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Thursday, January 14, 2016

All Fired Up!

Inspired by Barbara Lewis' book, Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry, I decided to take on yet another endeavor and teach myself how to enamel beads! And once again, I misjudged the depth of THAT rabbit hole! And like all new art adventures, this one required new supplies and of course, more space! Who knew that there are like a gazillion colors AND different opacities of enamels?! And those tiny jars of enamel aren't cheap, so you have to choose wisely! I started out putting all my enamels into cute metal cans-just like in the book-but those suckers get very hot when you have molten metal beads being dunked into them...so I then had to hunt down and purchase small glass jars for my ever growing enamel collection..by this time I have several colors (more than I need) but how can a girl pass up peacock blue and ALL of its possibilities? Could you? So by the time I'm finally set up and ready to work,  I have enough canning jars of enamels that I'm fairly confident that if this enamel thing doesn't work out, I'll just rinse them out and start a small scale jelly operation that would probably rival Smuckers! And then there was the torch dilemma...No one would think that since I've traveled around with huge propane tanks and hot gas forges in my truck when I was a farrier, that I would have one bit of trouble with a tiny MAP gas tank, right? WRONG! See having those compact, potentially explosive devices just being handled willy-nilly by the yahoos at the unnamed big box stores where I purchase them, threw my AR and paranoid mind into motion! What if they dented the tanks, messed with the pins, stripped the tops? So of course I had to have the pristine, top shelf, untouched box of MAP gas tanks from the upper supply shelves! Now here's a tip for you-wear heels when requesting those-they tend to climb the ladders a bit faster...You're welcome!
Have you ever seen two enameled beads made with multiple colors of enamel that look alike? Me either? You know why? 'Cause its FN impossible to make two alike, that's why! I thought it was just me and my fledgling skills, but an online search turned up a whole bunch of other souls like me, just out there rowing the same boat in circles, trying to make two perfectly matching beads! Now, you can make matching beads all day long if you use the same color, but who wants to do that when you have peacock blue in your stash?! 
Now if I had to do it all over again (and I'm still talking about enameling beads here, not my life in general, 'cause that's a whole other blog in itself..) then I would start out by enameling flat pieces on a tripod first and then move onto round beads! Seems like I never do things the easy way...
I did manage to get quite a few that I really like and you can purchase them HERE IN MY ETSY SHOP.


  1. Your beads look really beautiful, it doesn't sound like it's your first attempt in to Enamel world.
    I tried my hand in enameling but I have to put it aside right now because like you said. You need a lot of space and unfortunately I don't!

  2. Rachel, I'm loving the new look of your blog! xo