Happy Little Kilns

Our small kiln is getting a little shelf insert to collect our enamel spills

I seemed to have neglected my blogging duties… I am back in action after a relaxing Holiday spent with family.  My first concern upon returning was taking care of our enameling kilns.  We have some Enamel classes coming up soon so I want them to be in tip top shape for students and of course for myself and other enamelists in the studio.  After searching the internet and making a few calls I came across the Pottery Supply House and their technician Geoff.  Yesterday I dropped the kiln off and in a matter of minutes he had it rewired and back up and running.  After discussing the issue of cleanliness and enameling in a kiln they suggested simply buying extra shelves to collect any mess and prevent ruining the built in bricks.  A very economical choice compared to other options I had researched, and so simple!  Now I’m thinking I should give them a try this afternoon just to make sure they do the trick and to get some work done.      – Alexis

A departure

As most of you know, I am usually busy making brightly coloured designs during my studio time. I usually look to marine animals, textures in nature and anything living (including the smallest of cells) for my work. I’ve been hoping to get back into this and revamp some designs and ideas I had started while still at NSCAD. I’m thinking sea monsters, predators and unusual specimens will inspire the body of work. I develop for an upcoming invitational exhibition I am to be part of next April. Although I will still be working on production pieces, I want to spend more time on developing a strong body of artwork for my own conceptual and artistic development, something I feel I haven’t had much time to do since being in school. I make jewellery because I love to explore and to make unusual things to spark interest, and I am looking forward to taking the time to make some solid new work.

Speaking of new work, the month of August and September took a new turn when a friend’s brother asked me to design and make him a wedding band. The design was fairly simple, but I knew it would be a challenge right from the get-go. I was stepping out of my usual comfort zone of choice materials (usually enamel, copper and sterling silver) for once to try for the first time
a) working in gold
b) working in wood
c) a tight schedule

The saga began with a trip to Burlington to go to the Exotic Wood store where several very knowledgable employees helped us choose the appropriate wood, which was a beautiful variety of rosewood called “Cocobolo”. Of course it had to be the size of a table leg which I would then handcut the perfect little piece out of to incorporate into our white gold ring design.

Many hours and a few cracked wood ring “tests’ later, the results. I am so happy with this ring and so was he! And dare I mention I look forward to working in gold again in the near future? 

And on a final note. I am pleased to have found a little used enamel kiln to start adding to my collection of equipment. It’s always good to pounce on a craigslist opportunity like this when it comes up, because you never know if you will find a good deal like it again. So this is my new used kiln.  For now I’m keeping it at home until I can install a thermometer on it and fix a cracked firebrick inside, but I am very excited to at least have my very own. Next step will be finding a torch I suppose.

Thanks for reading!

Emily

Some people sing in the shower, I sing disco while working alone at the studio

First of all, happy new year to all our blog followers from me, Emily.

This year brings a few new changes, and a busy schedule for me. I have recently made the switch to full time member and changed benches. As some of you know, I work part time as a florist (yes, I love flowers…..!) and come here to Jewel Envy everyday after my morning shift whipping up floral deliveries to brighten people’s days. Although I have lived in Toronto for about 9 months now, I feel more settled than ever, really enjoying my studio work, friendships with all the girls (yes, we are all girls at the moment) here and networking with other crafts people and jewellers. My eventual goal is to work full time and survive from my jewellery, but I am finding a happy balance with my part time job, which is important. I won’t be leaving Toronto any time soon 🙂
I have been working what feels like non-stop since returning from Montreal after the holidays. I started teaching my Introductory Enamelling class two weeks ago, and love my students! Laura, our co-op student, although new to enamelling, is a HUGE help as my assistant. Thanks Laura!
Just when I thought I could have a little break a slew of shows I want to apply for or participate popped up!
In Halifax, my friend and jeweller Vanessa Neily is curating Adornable, an exhibition of work by selected NSCAD jewellery and metalsmithing alumni. Its going to be so cute and whimsical, I am totally into it! The show will run in the summer (you should also check out her website, her stuff is incredible https://www.vanessaneily.com)
I am particularily tickled by the invitation by Lafreniere & Pai Gallery to participate in their tenth year anniversary show entitled “Eros from Chaos” an exhibition of erotic jewellery and sculpture running in May in Ottawa. Ooh la la. I have a plethora of ideas 😉
The icing on the cake will be the Jewel Envy group show, which we have just started planning. No set dates yet, but we will keep you informed!
Now I must get back to work. I’ve been here almost every night until at least 9pm with Young, who is attempting to make her first Mokume ring. Last night, however, was a record late night, leaving here at 12:35am exhausted, but very content with the amount of work I completed. Sometimes it is great to work until you can’t anymore. I prefer having a working buddy those late nights; too bad no one else gets to see how my late night enamel-dance moves improved and I now can do a rendition of Thelma Houston’s “Don’t Leave Me This Way” disco tune pretty much accapella. Yikes!
Disco is cheerful, and so are my happy little brooches. Take a peek at how they transformed.
I sift enamel powder (a form of powdered glass) onto the hand formed copper flowers. 
And from my powdery bench, I put the little guy on a steel trivet. He is ready to bake!
Into the kiln at about 1500 degrees fahrenheit for about 2-3 minutes…..until they get nice and glossy.
Et voila! So many happy brooches!
I am also making more necklaces with this form. My bench is a garden of colour when I have them all out.
I love enamelling. I couldn’t live (or make jewellery) without it!
– Emily
if ( !is_woocommerce() ) { get_sidebar(); }