25 thoughts on “Calla Lily 2

  1. Hi Mer – beautiful piece – what kind of paints did you use? Did you really only fire it twice?

    I havn’t been able to find a oil medium that I am happy with using fines. Mineral oil takes too long to dry and the oil medium that comes with china paint is quite dark – so it’s hard to tell what the colour will look like. Any suggestions? I am going to try glycerin next, though I generally find that the water based mediums dry too fast…


    1. I use Blythe china paints (on glaze paints? the brand is called Johnson Matthew now, if I remember well), these are by far the best I have ever tried. The only colour that is a bit fragile (should be fired last) is red, even the pinks are gorgeous, and they stand a lot of fire. I use paraffin essence as a medium, I heard you can also use essential oils, and tha these dry faster, but I have never tried. Paraffin is excellent, it doesn’t dry on its own for many months. I burn the paraffin in the kiln, very slowly (in and out fast) and carefully, before firing. If it is burnt too fast, it boils and spoils the painting.
      I never used fines as china paints.

      I fired two times, the china paint. It has about 4 layers of enamel under it. I used a quite opaque white opal (Schauer 64), then transparent green (I don’t remember which, I have it written down at home if you want to know) leaving the white for the flower, 17 Soyer for the stem thinguy, and white opal Blythe T-8 again over the flower, for a bit of a porcelain effect. Over it another layer to the 17.

      I am thinking of mattifying the petal, now.

      1. Thanks – I don’t know how available Blythe paints are over here – I will have to look. I am trying to find out what the medium is for my white paint – which is a Thompson product, I think, but I bought it many years ago from a company in Montreal that is now gone. It is oil base – stays wet while working – but dries fast when slightly heated (I just leave it on top on the kiln for an hour)

        I tried doing the mineral oil the way you suggest (in and out of the kiln fast) but it didn’t work very well…more practice I guess!

        Thanks again for the info – lovely piece!

        1. Thanks!

          You may want to try turpentine essence if you want something that dries faster. I never used it, but it was used in my school for silks screening with enamels.

          I don’t think these enamel paints are available locally over there, may be but I never saw. I sent a set to a friend in the US () because she could not find them. I buy them locally in Barcelona.

          What problem did you have with the in and out the kiln method of evaporating the medium? it is a bit difficult if you use a lot of medium, you have to be very careful. I use my paints with very little medium, but then the method of painting is closer to pointillisme.

          1. I used opalescent white mixed with mineral oil to paint details on one of my Bestiary pieces. I left it on top of the kiln all day to dry it a bit – but then I got impatient – and put it in and out of the kiln to dry faster. It seemed to fire OK – but then when I polished the piece (it was champleve – so had lots of metal) the tripoli stained it. It seemed to have a sort of matt surface – many tiny tiny pinpricks. I have tried everything to remove the stain, but it just won’t go. I will have to grind it off and start again (sigh)

        2. I will reply to your previous comment so you receive the notification email (won’t work for the annonymous comment).

          Hm, yes, I can imagine that would give problems. I have never tried to polish a piece with paints, but they are more fragile and should be done last thing on a piece. As I said I never worked with fines so I don’t know how that could work. You can always try to cover with flux (Soyer has/had some “fondant finition” for this, a very soft flux… I never used it). This tends to make the paints a bit dull, but if you have to polish on top, I would definitely try to protect them somehow. They are not as hardy as regular enamels.

          If you are comfortable with hydrofluoric and have it at hand, you could try and remove the stain with it, then clean and fire again. Maybe the paint would need an extra retouching layer, but to remove a very thin layer of it this could work.

        3. About the polishing- you can also cover the enamel with something, like a layer of tape, to make it easier to polish the metal without touching the enamel. I do that sometimes with more delicate stones, too.

          Also- I usually polish set pieces these days with very small shaped felt etc. and my flex-shaft- it’s a lot easier to avoid touching the enamel or stone that way.

          An ultrasonic cleaner may be able to get the tripoli out of the pinpricks… but if there are tiny cracks, it might not be great for the enamel.

          Good luck!

            1. The only things I do anymore of the regular polisher are big- and usually only when they need some serious stock removal, like the somewhat beat-up silver I’m using for the moth pins/pendants I’m working on now. I’m hoping I can get the dings out fast on the polishing machine, because else it’ll be a LOT of sanding! :P

              Since most of my work is quite small (at least in one dimension), the small polishers work more easily for me. And it helps that I can work more closely using them and really see what I’m doing!

          1. Covering the enamel is a good idea. I will post a pic of the piece once I get to my studio – there is ALOT of exposed copper on it – so covering the enamel is probably my only option. The whole problem started becasue I didn’t etch it deep enough in the first place – it just goes to show you that in enameling sometimes the first simple steps are the most important! Thanks for your help.

            1. I think there are also things like liquid masks (for watercolor painting, etc.) that can be painted on, allowed to dry, and then peeled off. I’m pretty happy with masking tape, though. Even if it leaves a bit of residue behind, a quick wipe with alcohol or acetone takes it right off.

              I hope this works well for you!

            2. Is that the Greek piece on your LJ? It’s gorgeous!

              Thankis for f-listing me- I reciprocated. Although most of my metals stuff (including enamels) I post on my afmetalsmith journal here- all those posts are public.

              1. Thanks Amanda – no the greek piece is not the one I’m having trouble with – there is no exposed metal on it so it didn’t need to be polished. I haven’t been able to upload the piece – becasue I have been working on library computers for the last three days (grr – I’m having trouble making internet connections on my new (used) laptop)

                I checked out your afmetalsmith site – beautiful moth brooch!

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