Friday, August 2, 2013

A New Color Adventure: Enameled Beads

I spent an afternoon at a friend's studio last week, learning how to torch fire enamels.  I've been wanting to learn for a few years now.  I love playing with color, so this seemed to be right up my alley.

I was so excited when my friend, Christine, offered to show me the basics.  Unfortunately I was so focused on playing with the enamel, that I forgot to take any pictures in Christine's studio. :(  But here is what I came home with.

This is very obviously a beginner's attempt.  The top left bead doesn't even appear to have color on it, although it is shiny.  But here's what I love about enamel:  I can just fire this black bead up again, add enamel, and it will look fine. It is a very forgiving medium.  Next to the black bead is one that is ivory color.  It looks a bit darker in the photo than it actually is.  Next to it is one that was supposed to be ivory with an overlay of green, which is just barely noticeable.  On the bottom right is a blue bead, that could probably benefit from an additional layer of enamel.  The green speckled one was my last bead.  I started with 2 coats of blue and then I scattered green frit on it and got the speckles.  The 2 headpins have a nice layer of color, but some of it chipped off the ends.  I've since read that headpins can be a bit tricky.

Before the day was out, I'd ordered enamel supplies from Barbara Lewis's website and I ordered her book from a local independent bookstore.  I was so giddily happy that night. Enameling was like color heaven for me.

A few days later, my goodies arrived.

I tore open the box! Oh!  Wow!  I felt like a little kid on Christmas morning!

I have my biggest show of the summer in a few days and I'm currently in full panic mode.  So I haven't really had time to play with my new "toys" yet.  As soon as the show is over, this will be my next focus and I'm raring to go!

In the meantime, I've have an extensive enameling Pinterest board, which has tons of inspiration and tutorials, in case you'd like to check it out. I've also gathered up some wonderful samples of torch fired enameled jewelry to share with you here.  Enjoy!

AJE team member, Melissa Meman, sells both finished jewelry and enamel components. I hope my enamels will look this pretty someday!   Here are some examples.

Sue Kennedy, also creates enamel components.  Wouldn't these be pretty in some autumn jewelry?  Fall is coming up faster than you think.

Or, if you don't want to let go of summer yet, you can try these pretty lilac beads.

Ellianne's shop focuses exclusively on torched fired enamel jewelry and components.

And here's the shop that originally started my love affair with enamel, Teka and Zoe.  I am the happy owner of two pairs of earrings from this shop, (these are actually, probably kiln fired, not torch fired, but I find her work very inspiring and I want everything in her shop!!!).

So stay tuned for "The Further Adventures of Linda's Enamels".  I'll keep you posted.  What is something that has fired up your creative enthusiasm recently?



  1. I can not wait for your further adventures in enameling! I love it!!!

    1. Thanks Kristen. I'm excited to get started!

  2. Oh Linda, now you've got me started again! I would so love to add this to my list of accomplishments. But I really want to go to Barbara's store and take a class! Looks like you're off to a great start!

  3. Thanks for sharing your new fun and addicting direction! I love playing with will have a blast! Thanks for the shout out as well!

  4. Your work in enamels is inspiring, Melissa!

  5. Good luck with you endeavours Linda - Teka and Zoe where my inspiration too!

  6. wow! What an amazing website! Now I want to explore some more. Hmmmm............well, I guess I should have a job I will tag along on your adventure. I've been fired up about wire again. I fall in and out of love with it. Having some fun.

  7. SO....what happened? Did you ever make anything else with enamel? (:

  8. Oops! You can forget my last was the earliest enamel post not the last!! (:


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