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Amazing Enamel Effects

Buying a kiln recently has given me the chance to experiment with enamelling on larger pieces of copper and to produce some really cool effects. These effects happen when you combine different types of enamel.

I usually use smaller flat pieces of copper for making enamelled earrings and have had some of these effects happen when firing with a torch but they are much more obvious when you use larger pieces. I made a few practice pieces which you can see in the photos below.



This was flux {a transparent enamel not to be confused with soldering flux!} applied straight onto copper and fired until the copper was a bright golden colour. Then I added a layer of liquid enamel in green and red over the flux and fired again. 
The lines and spots form when the enamel becomes hot enough to start moving and in this case the transparent pushes through the liquid enamel layer forming these cool lines and spots. The effect is better in the green liquid enamel than the red. 


Next is an effect that reminds…
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Turning Round Wire Into Square Wire

Up to now I've always regarded the wire grooves on my rolling mill as slightly annoying as they take up space on the rollers that I wish was smooth. Then I'd be able to texture wider sheets of metal instead of the measly 4cm I can do now. I've never had any inclination to make my own wire so the grooves are those things that are just "there".
That's up til now! I've known for a while you can make square shaped wire using the grooves so thought I'd have a go. I have searched for square copper and bronze wire in the past and only managed to find the thinner gauges in the UK. Being able to make my own in thicker gauges is a real bonus.
 I just need to apologise now for the blurry photos. For some reason I decided not to brace my arm/hand on anything when I took most of the photos.....
If you move the two rollers close together on the mill you can see the diamond shape gap the  grooves leave.



I annealed some bronze wire and fed it through the first groov…

Using Titanium Soldering Clamps for Soldering Earring Posts

I wrote a post recently about forming soldering clamps from the Knew Concepts titanium strips I ordered sometime last year. One of the most useful clamps I made was a shape that would help me to solder earring posts onto stud and open hoop earrings...

I can position it to hold the post like this for studs....

And like this for soldering posts onto open hoop style earrings....

Previously I was holding the piece of 20g post wire with a pair of tweezers in my right hand and the hoop was held in place using reverse action tweezers in a third hand as it is above. I would hold the torch in my left hand and as the flux heated up and became liquid I would find the post wire would start to move and I'd be forever stopping and trying to get it back in position. The metal for the hoops is only just over 1mm thick in some cases so that also used to make it a bit tricky and swearing would occur quite regularly!
Now that I can set it up with the titanium clamp holding the {much too long in thi…

Titanium Soldering Clamp Strips

So having ordered five of the Knew Concepts titanium strips about a year ago {!} I thought it was time I actually did something with them. I've heard great things about how useful they are as soldering aids so why it's taken me so long to get round to it who knows.
I think I was worried they would be hard work to bend, saw and shape being titanium and to some extent they are but not beyond most peoples' ability.
Warning! This post contains lots of photos. And the tri-colour ink on my printer was running out which is why the print out looks as though it's had a sepia filter added to it :D My camera also developed the white screen of death half way through {and is currently away being repaired} so I had to change to my tablet to carry on with the photographing.
I decided to start with the easiest looking "clamp". This one........

I marked two points on the strip where I was going to bend it and using an old pair of flat nose pliers I made my bends.



I didn't b…

New: Earrings and Bangles

Despite the fact that I haven't felt as busy with orders this year as I was last year, I've still struggled with finding the time to make new stuff recently. However I have managed to make a few new things - some silver earrings with cabochons and a couple of new bronze bangle designs.

One of the reasons I've made some new designs in bronze bangles is because I can't get hold of the 3.5mm bronze wire I use for my most popular bronze set. The website I buy some of my bronze wire from has been out of stock for a couple of months now, citing technical problems with production according to their supplier. There's also a shortage of 4mm bronze wire {luckily I have some of that stashed away in my shed!}

The other reason is.....well, you can never have too much choice when it comes to jewellery :D


The first set of bangles is made from 5mm and 3mm bronze wire flattened and textured using leaf skeletons. There's something about flat bangles that pleases me - maybe it&#…