Melissa has been to Australia. But before she left she did some enamelling in Seattle.
As you may have suspected, owing to my less-than-discreet trumpeting of upcoming events that I was going to actually attend in my home country, I’ve just returned home to Sunny Seattle from Australia.
Whilst there I went to a LOT of jewellery related events, spoke at a couple and generally ran around getting my fill of home-town food, comedy, gossip, family, friends and most importantly, jewellery.
Another common thread (beyond just jewellery) through my whole trip was running into people who I have previously communicated with online, with the majority of contact coming thanks to this ‘ere blog. So before I get caught up in talking about all the action of the last couple of weeks, I want to send a shout-out to everybody who came and met me in real-body:
I really loved meeting you, finally! It was great to catch up and please lets keep in touch. 🙂
Suffice to say I was frequently in a position to appreciate the kindness of strangers, and lucky for me getting to ‘talk blog’ in person is just as good, if not even better, as receiving comments online, though believe me I do (still) go mad for comments up here (as I might have alluded to in my presentation at the Seams Seems symposium – I’ll pop that up here soon too, promise.)
And to the lovely lady in Melbourne who had me pointed out at the end of Elizabeth Turrell’s lecture, I’m sorry we didn’t get a chance to chat, I didn’t realise you would be departing so soon! Corner me next time and feel free to chide me for being rude…
Now, as usual I was in a flurry of making before I left, firstly to finally to send my works to the My Australia exhibition at the Berkeley River Lodge in the Kimberley in WA and to have a pin ready to swap at the JMGA Pin-Swap dinner. And since I had the kiln on doing some enamelling, I finally got to working on some rings for the La Geometrie series, which I’d had set out ready to enamel on my enamelling bench for several months.
So, since they were enamel, and since that enamel was a theme amongst the people I had been chatting about the blog to, I figured it was time I updated the Enamel on Steel – some insights section of this blog. (And of course no small amount of enamel impetus was provided by the incredible Elizabeth Turrell who was coincidentally teaching a workshop in Melbourne while I was in town.) With the pin and ring works I just finished I have been using graphite again, so I have specifically added more detail and images to the ‘using graphite‘ section. However, if it’s been a while since you’ve read the post I have also responded to a bunch of questions and comments right down the bottom, in an effort to clarify and add more detail to what is written above. In an effort to save you some time in trying to find what I’ve just added today, I’ve re-posted it here in full:
*new graphite experiment results*
So I have been at it again, firing some graphite directly over a clear and a half clear/half red enamel surface. The pieces below were created by firing a couple of very thin layers of enamel (Thompsons Clear and their Chinese Red that was a half/half mixture with clear, a mixture I created to help the red stick first time around or to provide a bit of colour to an undercoat for the red) and then abrading them back with my trusty set of 3M diamond hand pads. On the freshly abraded surface I was able to draw directly with graphite pencil and then fire, and this was enough to get the graphite to stick beautifully. On the broch – the piece in the centre – I added an extra layer of clear over the fired pencil, so with the grey on grey the linework doesn’t come up in the photograph too well, though that is not all in the photography, as in fact in some lighting it’s hard to see with the reflections on the layer of enamel.
However the Cardinal Point ring on the left-hand-side also has two layers of graphite on different layers of enamel, so you can see the shadowy layer on the top-left of the drawing that is the layer under the final layer of enamel. The Locations ring on the right only has one layer of graphite, which sits atop the second (and final) layer of enamel.
A slightly better view of the linework…
And if you were at the conference you might have seen the superlative Mel Young sporting this on Saturday night. More on her and her frequent creative collaborator Lauren Simeoni very soon.