Crafting jewelry with glass enameling is a slow and a bit tedious process but produces wonderful results. It is a beautiful way to add color variation to my silver cast items. Of course glass enameling can be applied to many other metals. I hope I can live long enough to try them all.
That’s not a fatalist statement. I am not on my way out any time soon as far as I know. I am just hinting at all the possibilities with glass enameling. Surely a full lifetime of opportunity exists.
I think what fascinates me as much as the results is the technique. It is a fusing process requiring high enough heat to melt glass. It is a very hot process requiring temperatures (in the process I am using now) of between 1400 to 1500 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) .
When I purchased my kiln, I had the idea if working with melting glass, so I picked one that can create temperatures over 2000 degrees Fahrenheit (F.) if required. I have had it up and over that temperature once. All my needs so far have been around 1300-1450 F. The kiln glows a fuzzy red on the inside at those temperatures. It is a bright yellow-white color above 2000 F.
Both silver casting and glass enameling are high heat process that I love to do. It is creation from heat that makes it something special to experience. At least for me.
I am sure the pottery and glass makers share the same experience of creating with high temperature. It is the wonder and fascination of working with a high heat process and how it differs from the normal temperatures we experience in our daily lives. Maybe bakers and cooks and weldors understand too.
It is the results of a high temperature process that are enjoyed by most people but understanding (and performing) the process is a form of appreciation and enjoyment for me. It fits well with my moto, “Doing what I love for those who love what I do.”
I just received my “makers mark” 4/21/16 for my jewelry silver work. It is a custom with silver work (and I assume other metals) that the designer/craftsperson mark the work piece created, with a steel identification stamp. The impression design is chosen to be unique to the artist or craftsman.
I designed a stylized KC as shown in the graphic. It of course represents KautzCraft. The “leg” of the K is merged into the lower positioned back of the C. The logo is also used on the website as the favicon (icon) that is seen on the tab of the browser and in the “favorites” listing of most browsers.
Overall the stamp for silver marking is 2mm tall. That is not very much, as the intention is to identify the artist and not be a design feature of the piece. There is another mark I use and that is “.925” which is a recognized symbol for Sterling silver. (containing 92.5% pure silver). It is 1 mm tall.
The marks have a meaning and are intentional and even required when selling silver and calling it Sterling. I am conforming to the long established standards of quality and tradition. I feel it is an honor to leave my mark in this world.
I recently read an intriguing definition of jewelry that called it “wearable art.” I am sure I have heard or read it many times before, but this time it seemed so appropriate after thinking about it for a while. While the word “Jewelry” may infer the use of jewels or gems, I prefer the broader interpretation of “wearable art”.
Jewelry really is an art form displayed on a person’s body. The wearer is making a statement that “I like this” and I want to share my opinion. There is certainly the opportunity of what and how it is worn will create some interaction and hopefully admiration. As with all forms of art, jewelry makes a visual and sometimes tactile statement about the owner.
Yes, jewelry can be used to flaunt wealth and status, and that too is a public statement. But jewelry is always worn for the personal reasons of the person; Sometimes modest and sometimes boldly. Hang it around your neck or poke it through your lip (or elsewhere) if that’s what you want to do.
What I am discussing is simply the fact that it is art on public display in a very personal way. It has some sort of expressional meaning to the wearer. Jewelry design is often symbolic and is worn as an indication of membership or faith. Design can be recognizable or abstract. There are no rules. Jewelry can be changed to alter the message.
This type of body art is wearable and does not impose the permanence of indelible inking. It allows for a change of mind and expression. It is portable and also transferable. It can easily be passed on through generations of human existence. Dread the thought, it can even be recycled.
For me as a creator, the art is in the design and making. Reasons for design are limitless. My enjoyment is in the freedom and expression, creating from raw materials with the durability to last for a very long time.
I look with wonder at discovered treasure. It is often some form of jewelry. It far outlives the original owner, but quietly says a lot about the person who made it and also the person who owned it. That is close to immortality even without a human name. The piece is what remains tangible and speaks for itself.
For what more grand a result can a local artist strive? There’s no harm in imagining…
The recent article I wrote in my “Dimension Print Studio” website titled, “A Thinly Veiled Secret” is a wake-up call for me about some of my cast silver jewelry designs. I tend to leave heavy sections in pieces where thinning is possible. This ignores some of the rules of fine design. Light weight is one signature of professional work. Massive weight has a place but is generally not desirable in wearable jewelry. Unless you are a “Mr. T” or designing a Super Bowl ring.
Thin, light, skinny design requires more creative care as models become fragile. Especially when hand carving. Thin, three-dimensional printing becomes fragile too. Therefore, I have a habit of producing heavier sections in my models. These thicker castings are a “safer” form of silver work. Functional but less refined, less “fine art”.
Casting silver or any metal is by its nature, a more solid process than working with sheet metal or wire. But it doesn’t need to be massively heavy. Lost wax casting is an excellent media for displaying very fine shapes and detail. Once cast in metal, the fragility is gone.
I took formal lessons in the “lost wax - fine art” design and process for casting silver (or any metal). I learned emphasis on design such as thinning and reducing weight; also, to produce perfect models. Lost wax re-produces very fine details from the model. I occasionally stray from that training. Call it creative license; rules to break at my own risk..
The casting procedure is a production process, separate from artistic design. Thin sections can be managed.
The difficulty with three-dimensional resin master casting models, is thick sections in the model. So why are they there? A very good question. I put them there by design.
So, thickness is an inherent problem with resin curing. It is also a wake-up signal for examining the silver work I design. I can improve my designs. I have no control of the resin. Thin is in, and always has been. Ah-ha! There IS a future for castable resin in my studio.