Melting stuff is always fun – right? Not to talk about playing with fire. I’ve been experimenting with various substances you can melt on your enamel surface. So far I’ve tried wire, mashed up glass, enamel sticks, other bead chips. Not sure where the limits might go, but it sure creates some interesting effects!
Of course it can be a bit tricky to get these things stick while you have a torch going and one hand is busy holding your steel rod (where your copper piece is dangling). The power from the torch is like a wind that makes your piece move constantly so getting something on top of it can be challenging. The mashed up glass you can sprinkle on, with copper tube you can roll the hot tube in it, which is great. I think the hardest to get the way you want them is shapes of wire, they go and blow away real easy in the “wind” of the torch. Also, your piece you are trying to adhere it to is often curved and the wire will just slide of. So, yes, it’s a balancing act, luckily no acrobatics involved!
I find that my favorites are the wire coils and smashed up glass (they call it frit if you go buy it in the enameling universe). I imagine you can buy some really nice even shaped frit, but I find that I like my own smashed up stuff better. It gets more interesting and doesn’t always work (which is part of the fun). Some glass bead chips don’t melt, or you might have smashed something that is not exactly glass. Also, using transparent enamel can make it even more interesting because of the see through effect, and you can keep layering it on. The copper wire I use gives out a nice smoke when it gets torched and you can end up creating some nice flame patina on it, too. It is the hardest to make stick, your copper piece has to be hot enough and your arm very steady. Plus you want just enough enamel to adhere it properly but still keep the surface texture.
I will keep experimenting, no two pieces are never alike. That’s the best fun of using the torch!
You can find more items on my website: www.evadesigns.us