Enamel on steel and copper.
I found this workshop very interesting and I had a lot of fun during the whole process of enamelling metal.
The first thing, that I had to do, was to choose piece of metal that I’ll be working on, in this case we had to select copper or steel. As the first attempt, we had quite big piece of copper, which we have cut into smaller pieces, by using one of the machines for metal cutting in fabrication.
The second thing which we have done, in order to prepare the piece of steel, was to clean the metal with pumice surface powder , small piece of fabric dipped in water. In this way, we gained very nicely clean surface, which was ready to put enamel on.
Aferwards, we have used black wet process enamel and have put quite thick layer of it with brush onto the back side of the copper . The other important thing in order to prepare enamel, is to prepare the right consistency of the enamel, the thickness needs to be equal to single cream density. Here is the thing: if it’s not thick enough, it won’t cover surface properly. Very useful thing to cover metal properly, is to use the spray gun, which covers the whole surface very accurately and equally.
When it’s been covered properly, we left the enameled piece on the top of the oven and waited until the surface is entirely dry. When it was dry, we have put it to the oven. It was important to check the temperaure first, which needs to be approximately 815 degrees. Depending on the temperature ( if it is lower than that ) and also on the size of copper, the piece needs to stay longer/ shorter inside, usually it’s aout 3 minutes. To put the copper inside the oven, it was important to wear the gloves and glasses, and put the copper on metal tray and use the sticker to put it inside and then take it out. When I get it from inside, it’s extremaly hot, so it’s important to wait a while unil it’s cold. After that, I cleaned the unnameled side .
The next step was to do the front side of the tile. I used white enamel this time and after I covered the front side, I left it to dry on the top of the oven and when it was completely dry, I’ve put it again to fire. The next step was to design it- at this point it got very exciting and interesting. I’ve covered two stripes with black enamel and left it to dry. To keep them perfectly straight, I used sticky tape (which I unstick when it was dry).Then I used one of the thin tools with sharp tip and stratched straight lines. I used the edge of paper as a line. I wasn’t satisfied with the final effect, as the lines were chipping off, and also I didn’t use thick enough layer of black enamel, so ( because of the reaction of steel with enamel) it looked like the acid has been poured on the top.
The next step which I’ll do during the next enamell workshop, will be building up the layers, and I will use colourful enamlels, which will i will sift. I’ll use transfluent enamels, which will make the piece to be see-through( I can see the layers underneath and the patterns).