Adventures in Enameling

I had always been a little intimidated by enamel, mostly because I had no idea how to use it and had convinced myself that it was a really complicated process. Well, thanks to this simple little video, I discovered that perhaps enameling (at least this kind) isn't so difficult after all. So I attempted it with shockingly little more than the video above (where is all the info on this?!)

Attempt 1:
I found the ring above in my "melt pile," where all my failed jewelry experiments get sent. I applied a rather thick coat of black enamel, pulled it out of the kiln and thought I was an evil genius for having nailed it on my first try. WRONG! I proudly wore it out that night when someone asked me about my new ring...I gently grazed my finger over the enamel and out popped a giant chunk of glass. Ok, maybe I'm not such a genius after all.

Attempts 2 and 3:

I hit the "melt pile" again and discovered these long lost gems. First I fired the Houndstooth Check patterned pieces (on which I had sloppily thrown some enamel...obviously) - success....sorta. These guys have an "orange peel" texture, which I have since learned is the stage before the enamel is fully fired. I also tried it on the striped piece above, which, although fully fired, is a mess. In my haste to throw it in the kiln without burning myself, the enamel came spilling out of the grooves and landed everywhere.

Attempt 4:
Finally, the winner! Smooth, glossy and almost no spillage at all....almost.

Bottom Line: Enameling, while not as completely unachievable as I had feared, is still pretty difficult. The hardest part is the getting the pieces in the kiln quickly without 1) letting all the heat out, 2) spilling the enamel everywhere, and 3) burning myself. Seriously, standing almost 2 feet away from the 1500 degrees in the kiln I can still feel my skin burning!