Enameling on Hadar’s Clay™

My student Hayley Tsang and I prepared a few copper clay pieces for enameling, and I sent them to Thompson Enamel for testing. The assessment arrived today.

Bill Helwig, who tested the pieces, says that Hadar’s Clay™ can be enameled. Here is a piece he enameled. The piece was made by Hayley.

Mr. Helwig also explained why certain pieces that we sent were not likely to yield good results. The explanation is very detailed and professional so I won’t present it here. However, he offered some good advice that I would like to share with you. I would like to thank Mr. Helwig for taking the time to discuss this at such length and in such detail.

1. Metal clay is porous. The material should not be exposed to liquids.

2. Find ways to reduce porosity. Work the surface of the metal so that it is highly compressed, e.g., burnish, chase, planish, engrave, or tumble with steel needles. This will greatly improve the clarity of transparent enamel provided that the enamel was properly prepared and applied.

3. When designing a piece to be enameled:

a. The metal should be of uniform thickness
b. It should have an edge to stop the enamel
c. Depressed areas should be between 0.3 and 0.4 mm, nothing deeper
d. No undercuts

4. If the surface condition is not improved as described in #2 above, transparent enamel will never look very good, so use opaques or gold and silver foil.

These are pieces I played with. I told you I was no enameller!

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