Saturday, September 11, 2010


I've been eyeing Barbara Lewis' Tutorial on Torch Fired Enameling for some time now.  I figured someone who loves glass and fire should be a good candidate.  I ordered my tutorial which by the way is very well written and has pictures throughout.  You can go here if you're interested Painting With Fire.  After going through the tutorial I figured "I can do this" and ordered an enamel sample kit with different colors and some beads to practice on.  I figured I'd use my minor torch, my mandrels and a bread pan filled with vermiculite to cool my beads.  Here is my little setup.
As you can tell by the picture this is an after shot.  The beads made it through the fire just fine.  My biggest problem was getting the bead off the mandrel.  Man did I have some lampwork deja vu.  Anyways, as you can tell by the picture that first bead will NEVER come off the mandrel.  I accumulated so much enamel at the end and inside that it's impossible to remove.  I should of bought one of Barbara's Bead Pulling Stations. The little dipping dishes are great to use when you don't have a lot of material for a deep container.  I use those for my frit when I lampwork.  When I'm low on a particular frit I push the frit up one side and I can pick up more frit all around the bead.  I'll have to take a picture for you guys.

Here's a closer picture of the beads I made.  I also made some headpins, those where a blast to make.  One important note on the headpins, use a tweezer with a wooden handle like the red one in the pictures and only hold the wood area.  The metal gets extremely hot and you will get burned.

Here's a close-up of the tweezers.  Also, if you have these little brass rounds, they didn't do so well in the torch.  They shriveled up and I had to throw it out.  They might work if you're melting the enamel straight in the kiln.

Even though this isn't a tutorial, I hope some of the info. and tips will help you and hopefully inspire you to try something new. 

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