November 17, 2016

Our life journey, illuminated by meaning, becomes a pilgrimage : connecting us to our inner self, to each other, and to what is sacred in the world. JL.

‘In sacred travel, every experience is uncanny. No encounter is without meaning.’  Phil Cousineau ‘The Art of Pilgrimage’


'The Time Of Your Life' lyrics by Randy Newman in 'A Bug's Life'
'Isn't it a bit surprising
How one's fortunes ebb and flow
And only to the enterprising
Does the magic fortune cookie go
Believe me
It's the time of your life so live it well.'

A Picture Story: Enamelling Pegasus

Enamelling Pegasus: The picture Story_Talisgirl Charms

Enamelling the old fashioned way, with powdered glass in a red-hot kiln, is a fabulous thing to do. There's something of alchemy in it, though I'm inclined to admit too that it's a tricky business, in which you have to accept a fair number of failures. The reason I put up with it (since it doesn't pay!) is because I so love the refined craft of it and am endlessly seduced by the subtleties of colour from which I can choose and adjust by layering.

Most enamelled jewellery out there is not the proper old fashioned glass enamel, but a variation on car paint which requires only a little heat to cure it. What we're talking about here is the real stuff, made from powdered, pigmented glass which melts and fuses to the metal base when heated up to a red hot temperature. 
This is a brief picture story in which I enamel my silver Pegasus charm in an absolutely gorgeous transparent turquoise blue vitreous enamel.(made by Schauer Enamels, a veritable institution in itself.)

Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus_workshop Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus_preparation glass powder and silver charm

Choosing a colour that looks good on silver: Pegasus' blue should be a blue both of the sky and water, as when his hoof strikes rock a spring of fresh water breaks out: hence the symbolism of Pegasus as the muse of creative inspiration...but I digress, back to the workshop.

Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus_adding water to glass granules   Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus_glass granules packed into charm  
Distilled Water is added to the ground glass powder/granules, which is then carefully packed into the charm. A very clean and precise stage of the process. 

Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus-excess water dabbed off wet enamel Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus_glass powder must be dry before firing Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-drying on the kiln
Glass granules must be completely dry before firing to avoid miniature volcanos in the kiln during the firing. By the way, the mangled object on the left of the kiln top is there to remind me what happens when I forget that I put something in the kiln...

Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus-putting in kiln to fire Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus-Closed kiln_firing 820 degrees C for around a minute Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus_Glass melts at orange-red heat-ready Talisgirl Charms_Enamelling Pegasus-Charm removed from kiln red hot metal
Firing is a matter of temperature and timing. Sterling silver 925 melts at around 962°C , this particular enamel glass melts at around 820 °C, at which point the metal is an orange-red. I often use that colour to help me 'read' readyness, but I also can see the granules gradually melting into an orange-peel like texture and then flowing into a smooth surface. The glass fuses to the silver.
Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-red hot fired Pegasus charm Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-half cooled charm Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-Cooled charm Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-Fired charm ready to be cleaned up
These pictures show the Pegasus charm after emerging from the kiln. In the first image the metal and glass are still red hot and the glass still molten. As the glass cools it changes colour in a lovely way. The cooled piece has a blackish oxide on the metal surface which I'll be cleaning up with sulphuric acid (below), wire brushed, details polished up, and a final good bath and rinse in clean water...

Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-cleaning in the sulphuric acid Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-Wire brushing after the acid Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-polishing the details Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-cleaning up the finished Pegasus charm 
Talisgirl-Charms_Enamelling-Pegasus-Finis! Pegasus ready to fly and inspire

Fin. Pegasus ready to fly off into the world, a bit of alchemy and inspiration. 



Jacky Lloyd
Jacky Lloyd