Feb 23, 2010

Not Everything I Do Works Out Perfectly

I probably should have done more testing before I began in earnest on these earrings.  I can be a bit impatient, a quality that’s a real detriment to a jeweler.  I could have taken the time to try some enamels in my kiln to figure out the proper temperature and time, and to see how the various colors would turn out.  I would have gone with a different color had I known the red enamel would come out so dark.  I guess if I’d done sufficient testing, I might have learned how to fire the enamel properly and it wouldn’t have come out dark!  Oh well, the last eight hours haven’t been a waste.  The earrings aren’t a total disaster, and I learned a lot. 

There are a number of things I will do differently next time:  I’ll solder posts on the earrings rather than attaching with PMC paste.  The posts I attached with paste broke off and I had to epoxy them onto the finished earrings.  I wouldn’t sell you a pair of earrings with a part glued on any more than I’d twenty-three skidoo you a song!  The second thing I’d do differently is to file the filigree flat before adding enamel, because as it turns out, I like the look of the slightly domed enamel better than the flattened enamel.  The problem with that approach is that I’d have to apply the enamel perfectly, without getting a single grain of it outside of the filigreed areas…oh man, forget it!  A couple stray grains of enamel so small I couldn’t even see them is what caused the ugly discoloration on one of today’s earrings.  Filing the enamel and filigree flat at the same time serves to ‘clean up’ some of the enamel that isn’t perfectly inside the filigreed spaces, and it’s also what gives the earrings the look I was going for.   

Then again, I get excited when I look at the photo of the earrings after the enamel has been fired but before I filed them down.  Maybe that’s where I should have gone with today’s project.  I could have simply oxidized and polished the earrings at that point.  The resulting look would be fairly different from my original concept, but it would be less work and I might end up with prettier earrings than those I made today.

Today’s project had me tense and made my stomach hurt.  A little lemon ice made it all better!  

To see the full photo album of me making these earrings and some lemon ice, go to:  enameled earrings on frankie's facebook  

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