Day 15

Still hanging in Enamelleing area of the Centre for Fine Print Research at the University of the West of England in Bristol. Still enamelling washers, but also having a go at an enamel transfer. This is where a screen print is made of your design in a special enamel + paint medium onto a thin layer of paper-backed plastic. You take the print, on its paper substrate, and submerge it in water briefly. This loosens the gum that sandwiches the two layers together, so that you can slide the plastic layer off the paper, and with some of the gum still on the plastic, you can move it about a little until it settles neatly in place on your object. That’s the theory…

It’s handy to keep the paper layer nearby, in case your piece of plastic loses its tack. You can then gently slide the paper under the plastic layer again to deposit a little more damp goo. Essentially you’re back where you started, but since you’ve just practiced the whole process, with luck you’ll make a better fist if it the second time around. Sound like I’m talking from experience? Yeah…

First transfer on mug - straigtening continues...
Positioning transfer with paper backing still in place. This will be repeated...
After initial firing - plastic gone, but text still vulnerable until 'proper' firing (over 750°C)

And well may you ask “Melissa, why mugs?”

Buh-cause Studio Fusion is having a show in honour of this year’s royal nuptials entitled “Two Mugs”. The British have a long tradition of commemorating such occasions with the release of thousands of “collectors edition” crockery and homewares.  And in homage to that tradition, everyone in the enamel studio, and a few outsiders besides, were making decals to put onto a mug for the show. Some were political – £5,000,000,000 being the amount of money lost in productivity for the bank holiday that the nation will be enjoying/enduring on the wedding day, others funny – a royal garter versus a brides lacy one or ‘Zara & Mike’ – the ‘other’ royal wedding of this year (Zara Philips – another grandchild of Her Maj will also marry this year, but whose ‘big day’ is getting lost in the princely hubub), while some mugs were just plain nice. Mine was attempting to be political/funny, but as it’s the only with a clear Australian perspective in the bunch I’m thinking the point might get lost…

I wish I could name all the artists. I know that Matthew Partington did the Zara&Mike and the £5,000,000,000, and that Anamika and Cathy’s were in that bunch, but that’s about it. Sorry to all the artists for not taking names. (Please feel free to email me with work credit details.)

Speaking of Cathy, she brought in her work to show today:

Cathy's enamelled brooches - silver, copper, enamel, thread.

And Anamika set out more of hers;

Anamika shows off her latest - enamelling on her metalworking, and to the right, copper pieces using copper firescale as the green colouring agent

And me? I spent another day wrestling with the massive sandblaster and my comparatively tiny washers.

Yet another hoard of washers
Yet another hoard of washers: sandblasted

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