Saturdays-Sundays, August 7-8 & 14-15, 2021
4 Sessions (2 consecutive weekends)
10:00 am - 1:00 pm, PDT
Instructor: Jan Smith
This class includes the video recordings, which you will have access to for 30 days after the class (we've got your back if you can't attend the live class in person!).
Zoom link and instructions for joining the call will be emailed 1 day prior to class.
The class supply list is below and contains links to buy the supplies you need.
This class will be recorded, and the recording will be available for students to access through their Little Metal Foxes accounts for a full month after the live class.
Learn the basics of sifting and firing lead-free vitreous enamel. Develop patterns, textures, and images with stencils.
We will cover basic techniques of sifting and firing, discuss safety and firing temperature.
Students will learn methods of applying enamel with the use of stencils. We will look at how different stencil materials or resists give different results and explore effects that can be achieved.Registration methods for using multiple stencils will be demonstrated and various methods discussed. We will explore enamel techniques that allow us to achieve lines, patterns, texture, and images both with the use of additive and subtractive methods.Additionally, we will talk about some simple drawing techniques with pencil and ceramic oxides pencils that you can use to enhance or add detail to the image.
The goals of the workshop are for you to understand the basics of sifting enamel and firing, and for you to develop a series of samples to allow you a broad range of directions for your work.
All are welcome. It would be beneficial to have basic metal skills, but not necessary. Previous enamel experience is welcome but not necessary.
Supply List for Students
The links below will take you to RioGrande.com or other suppliers. To see prices for precious metal items, you need a free Rio Grande account. Registered Little Metal Foxes students can access Rio Grande wholesale pricing for significant savings. This site may contain Amazon and other affiliate links. If you purchase something through the link, at no cost to you, we may receive a small commission on qualifying purchases.
Please note we are NOT using leaded enamels in this class: specific supplies for this introductory enamels class are listed below.
Enamel Supplies for sifting/stoning/firing:
- Thompson 80 mesh enamels: minimum 6-8 colors - A sample kit of 169 Thompson enamels is pricey but a great way to start.
- Thompson also sells a sample kit of 10 colors (you choose the colors!), and obviously sells all their colors individually
- A-1 Klyr-Fire Thompson also sells this in pints and quarts
- Etchall Dip’N Etch (Etchall)
- Alundum stones - 220 grit, 150 grit, or diamond sticks or pads (HIS Glassworks)
- Glass brush (fine fiberglass brush). Also available from the other enamel suppliers
- Sifter 2-inch diameter 40 mesh. Thompson also sells this
- Sifters 2-inch (50mm) diameter:
- Kiln with pyrometer (temperature indicator) If you don’t own a kiln we will discuss options
- Firing screen/rack (you need to measure the inside dimensions of your kiln to ensure you don’t buy a rack that is too big to fit in your kiln). My preferred rack is:
- perforated stainless steel 6"x6" (Enamel Art Supply) OR
- perforated stainless steel 4"x4" (Enamel Art Supply) OR
- flanged lightweight firing rack 6"x6" (Thompson)
- Trivets 3 point trivets 2 small, 1 medium, 1 large. Also sold by E-namels and Thompson in similar sizes
- Firing Fork or spatula. I prefer Thompson K-4 Firing Fork as it has a heat shield.
- Fireproof gloves
- Tile (unglazed) for the bottom of the kiln, or small kiln shelf (Amazon) OR
- Kiln wash (Seattle Pottery Supply) OR kiln wash (Amazon)
- Ventilation system, home built system or Vent-A-Kiln made by https://www.ventafume.com
- N95 dust mask (Amazon), OR I strongly recommend a half mask reusable respirator and cartridges. The best mask and cartridges are: Honeywell North 7700 Series 7781P100S (mask), 75SCP100 or 7583P100 (cartridges). Almost all women need a size small. Some men need small also, but perhaps medium.
- 1 pair tinted eye protection strongly recommended:
- Glassworking Safety Glasses – BoroView 3.0, Model 70-PC (Phillips Safety) These are what I own ($155), and consider the best. I get no coating on mine. OR
- Model 33 Fitover Torching Welding Safety Glasses, #WLD-S*-33 shade 3.0 or higher (Phillips Safety)
Optional Enamel Materials for Line/Mark Making after Stenciling:
- Pencils (I like a mechanical pencil)
Thompson P3 Underglaze Fine Line Black 1 oz liquid (Thompson)
- Lavender Oil (A Painters Collection)
- Oxide pencils You can also check with ceramic suppliers like Seattle Pottery Supply
Stencil Making Supplies:
- Different weights of paper for stencil making…from as thin as industrial paper towels, bond paper, magazine pages, tracing paper, graph paper, manila file folders, premade stencils (paper or plastic)
- Exacto knife, extra blades #11
- Optional - hole punch or any punch shapes you have
Non-Enamel Supplies & General Studio and Safety Supplies:
- Small glass or plastic containers with tight-fitting lids to hold dry enamel (baby food jars or E-namels carries appropriate containers in a number of sizes)
- 2 squeeze bottles, 2-4 ounces (so you can drop out distilled water a few drops at a time to mix Klyr Fire and distilled water)
- 2 PLASTIC containers, both large enough to your hold pieces (NOT glass or metal!). You will pour the glass etch into one and immerse your piece, the second container is for water and baking soda to neutralize the piece once you remove it from the glass etch. I often use a yogurt container or flat plastic take outbox.
- Baking soda
- Acid-resistant gloves
- 4-6 plastic bottle caps, preferably same height
- Catalogues/paper to sift on, shiny paper preferable rather than bond
- Green Scotch-brite pad
- Pumice powder or baking soda & vinegar or commercial copper cleaner like Pennybrite (Amazon) - (you do NOT want a cream-based polishing compound: this is for cleaning the copper prior to enameling)
- Flat #10 or 1/2" acrylic brush
- An assortment of fine round brushes. #01 and #03 are a good choice (get good quality brushes)
- A couple of pennies
- Metal spoon
- A couple of sharp tools like a needle tool or old dental tools
- 24-20 Copper sheets or pieces. if you prefer pre-cut shapes, both Rio Grande and E-namels sell pre-cut shapes (Please do not buy beads as they are heavy and challenging to fire)
- Fire-proof surface (I have a stainless steel countertop but cement board or tiles work great if you have a wood countertop)
- Torch for annealing (you can also use the kiln)
- Jeweler's saw frame and saw blades or hand shears if you are cutting shapes out of copper
- Paper towels and/or rags
- Water source or jugs of water
- Bucket to dispose of water you stone enamels in
- Flat trays for stoning enamels (I like old photo trays) or, if stoning over sink, bucket or pan to capture water and dust – you don’t want it going down the drain
- Fire extinguisher
- Thompson Enamels Sells Thompson liquid and granular enamels, tools, equipment, painting, and acrylic enamels
- Rio Grande Sells Thompson enamels and supplies, assorted tools & firing supplies, kiln
- E-namels Sell Thompson, W.G. Ball, Vintage leaded enamels, Japanese leaded, Milton Bridge/Blythe leaded enamels, sunshine enamels, tools, precut shapes
- His Glassworks Sells grinding and glass finishing/drilling and 3M Diamond sticks and pads
A Painter’s Collection
- Enamel Art Supply Leaded Japanese enamels & tools