The enamel on copper works began for me with a love of the luminosity of glass. Enamels are dynamic, always interacting with their environment, illuminating nuances to discover.
THE PROCESS: How it’s done
Enamel (glass) is crushed to a powder somewhat finer than granulated sugar and somewhat coarser than flour. This powder is applied by one of several methods to the cleaned metal surface. I mainly use copper and, rarely, silver. Next, the article is heated to between 1350 – 1550°F, either in a preheated front-loaded kiln, or with a hand-held torch. The heat causes the powder to melt, flow and then harden to a smooth surface. After l-1/2 to 10 minutes, the article is removed and allowed to cool to room temperature. Subsequent coats of enamel, normally different colors, are applied. If red is being used, it usually is applied in the last or second to last firings, as red turns brown. Sometimes 10-20 firings are required to bring about the desired results.
I also use a torch to flame torch copper to bring out colors of blues, reds and golds or add iridescence.
Below are the two front loading kilns, and on the right is showing a fired bowl being taken out of the kiln.