The first step in our week was to cut out copper pieces to use, limiting the size to an inch or so. This included filing, drilling holes, doming, cleaning -- that took care of the first day! But then it was time to start. I demonstrated how to apply the Klyr Fire, sprinkle on the first coat of enamel, then torch fire it. Here's a photo of my friend's pieces (she started off firing two pieces at a time!) with the funky set-up using a steel binding wire holder we made in Richard Salley's class. It works.
So after I demo'ed my first piece and it had been taken out of the pickle pot, I was explaining the process of always filing the edge of the piece clean before the next firing. I was standing there, filing, when I dropped my piece on the cement floor and, guess what, a piece of the enamel chipped off. ##@*!! I couldn't believe it. But I calmly sat and reapplied the second coat, adding a little more to the broken area. Then minutes later after I had refired the piece, I was standing in the same exact spot filing my piece, when, guess what? YES, I dropped it again and another piece of enamel chipped off. My cocktail hour almost started early that day, but since I was the Teacher, I was not going to give up or have a temper tantrum! My day continued in the same way -- nothing worked. However, my friend had an absolutely wonderful day! Here are the pieces she made -- WOW!
I took the next day off. Am happy to say I worked several hours yesterday experimenting again. This time I had no accidents. In fact I refired THAT piece again and it's one of the two bright ones on the top right. It was originally all red. I was experimenting with browns in the other pieces and like the results.
Then I wanted to try find something that looked like turquoise.
Years ago I made two bracelets using copper pennies that were dated before 1982. These were 95% copper (the later ones are 97.5% zinc and plated with a thin copper coating). The top bracelet has domed pennies soldered to flat textured sterling silver pieces. The bottom bracelet has domed pennies soldered to flat pennies.
I learned that the 95% copper pennies can also be enameled. So .... in addition to the copper pieces that were cut at the beginning of the week, I also drilled, domed and cleaned pennies. Here are pennies with tests of different colors. The backs are not enameled. Notice the penny in the middle -- it cracked when being domed.
It sure was fun, and I think there will be more to share next week!