Saturday, January 21, 2012

More Than Metal...

I've recruited William to help me roll out these beads in porcelain.  Aren't they fun?  We pressed simple designs into the clay to add a decorative element.  The impressions are enhanced and really shine when enamel is added.  Before the enamel is layered on top of the porcelain, they kind of look like chewed up pieces of spearmint gum – lumpy, white and nondescript.  But adding the color is magic and all kinds of hidden details are brought to life.

Of course, the high temperature porcelain reacts differently in the flame than metal does and the success rate is much lower.  Sometimes the beads experience thermal shock in the flame and pop, snapping in half! A fourth do not survive the fire!

The porcelain also takes enamel differently and I've had to create a new cookbook of recipes to achieve the colors and vibrancy that I want.  The above image is of my efforts.  Seeing a dozen different color-palettes and five each of these beads make the process look easy, but is in fact, quite tedious and monotonous.


9 comments:

Rebecca said...

Tedious and monotous to create but certainly not the finished product! SOmetimes I like a bit of tedium and monotony in my working life (only a very little, mind ;-)), sometimes have a few hours of routine can help steady the mind.

Pine Ridge Treasures said...

I like all the different colors, esp. the turquoise blue.

Gina Chalfant said...

When firing in the kiln the temp rises gradually. I'm not surprised at the cracking. The ones that did turn out are fabulous, though. Maybe glazing is the way to go. I'd hate to see you not make them, as I and others would love to have these.

TesoriTrovati said...

Wow. Those are awesome. So vibrant. When will you let us buy them, hmmm? I love the fact that you are willing experiment and have a willing partner in crime in William! ;-)

Enjoy the day!
Erin

Sharon Driscoll said...

Awesome Andrew! I hope you don't mind that I linked your blog to mine.

Andrew Thornton said...

"Willing partner in crime" is generous. More like, "coerced, guilt-tripped, and partially starved". :-)

Andrew Thornton said...

Eventually I'd like to glaze them. But right now, we don't have cash in the budget for that. I've got enamels... so I'll work with those until we can afford to pick out our favorite glazes.

Barbara Lewis said...

These are gorgeous, Andrew. I love the texture and the way the enamel shows it off!~ Beautiful work!

Charlene said...

Andrew, these are wonderful. I knew that ceramic and enameling were sister crafts from my time at Penland. I did not know you could use enamels and torch fire ceramic beads. Cool.