Using enamel threads
- January 7, 2009 at 2:35 am #9290
I am new to the forum and have what is probably a stupid question. Can enamel threads be fused on my jewelry? I am new to the fused glass scene and have a lot to learn. Thanks, SherrylynnJanuary 7, 2009 at 6:24 pm #11072
In a word, no.The glass threads that are used for copper enameling are a different COE than those used for fused glass.Thompson Enamels carries an enamel for the glass you may want to use.
I have melted the threads in molds I’ve made with some success. You have to watch the temperature and the time. Old threads can also become scummy in use because the metals in the glass threads (creating the color) react to the air. My first attempts were scummy, gray slags that resembled nothing I’d take credit for. With better control of the kiln (I slowly ramped up to the melting point, then cut the temp, allowed it to drift down to an annealing point, soaked the glass, then allowed it to cool), I had some very pretty bits that I could then incorporate in other cold work. I’d provide the notes, but those were damaged in a flood recently and aren’t much good to anyone unless you’ve got x-ray vision. I did anneal the threads because they ended up being in items that were 1/2 to 1 inch in thickness. The colors ran together in ways I could not expect.
I’ve also “painted” with them on a kiln shelf. It was just a matter of laying the items on the shelf in an attractive pattern (like a star) and then fusing the stuff together. I know I wasn’t as careful in annealing as I would be with thicker items, but I got some pretty dynamic Christmas ornaments for a bazaar one year.I know I was very slow in melting those since I didn’t have a clue what I was doing and just seemed to be the right thing to do.
Check out Thompson if you are interested in their enamels. I’m sure there’s some other place that offers enamels for glass.
Hang on. Someone will come along who knows more and will provide you with a more definitive (and enlightening) response.January 7, 2009 at 8:58 pm #11073
Thanks so much for your response. I am just winging it most of the time. I have been learning from books mostly. I have been able to sell a lot of pendants but it is difficult for me to do much else because I have modified a ceramic kiln with a pyrometer so it is hard to control temps. Soaking is very hard to achieve. Any suggestion are valued.
SherrylynnJanuary 8, 2009 at 1:16 am #11074
That’s the beauty of working with glass– you can experiment and devise new and sometimes wonderful techniques. I am by no means an expert on anything except my successes, but so many of them came about because of reading other’s ideas and making mistakes and forging ahead despite that glob at the bottom of the kiln that was once so infused with great hope. The 10 Commandments that are listed on this site have it right– experiment.January 12, 2009 at 8:12 pm #11075
I agree with everything you wrote! The failures are painful, but the successes are sublime.January 14, 2009 at 3:39 pm #11076scabiosabbParticipant
In the fused glass classes that I have taken we were taught that enamal threads could be used with any COE glass. I’ve successfully used them many times. Delphiglass advertises and sells them as compatible with any glass.January 14, 2009 at 6:10 pm #11077
As I noted in my response, someone would come along and be wiser than me. I can only speak to what I have experienced. I used glass threads made for copper enameling within lampworked beads and the beads sometimes held together, but more often than not, fell apart even after annealing in a kiln. (I started learning on a Mapp gas torch with Cindy Jenkins way back when and started experimenting with the glass threads because I figured all glass would work together.) I used those same glass threads in experimental fused pieces and viewed the results through a polariscope to find that there was halo around the threads suggesting an incompatibility.
A nephew had a similar problem with the same kind of threads.
Perhaps the problem is with the age of my glass threads or the fact that these were specifically for copper enameling. I know that in the class I took with Kate Fowle Meleney on copper plating beads a couple of years ago, she talked about working with the Thompson people in Kentucky about coming up with enamels that could specifically be used with various COEs of glass. I was happy to hear about the I’ve since ordered enamels and such from Thompson and used them with no problems.
I have since looked at the glass thread assortment at Delphi Glass, but I haven’t used them. I wasn’t aware that they carried them and say that they are usable for all kinds of work– copper, glass, art clay and so on. I think we might be talking about different glass threads, but I’m not sure.January 19, 2009 at 6:42 pm #11078glassy-eyed-galParticipant
I am a beginner on many subjects, and this is one… What the heck are ‘enamel threads’? And how are they used in fusing? Can a person make their own?January 20, 2009 at 5:46 am #11079scabiosabbParticipant
Maybe we are talking about different things. I purchased them from Delphiglass – they are very limited in color range – red, black, 2 blues, yellow, white, green … I think that’s it – don’t feel like jumping over to look. I forget what they cost – but they send you a TON of them – usually I’m disappointed with the quantity I get for the money – in this instance I was thinking – I’ll never use this stuff up in my lifetime, LOL Some of them are so threadlike (thin) they are really hard to pick up and place – and then drat they widen like a tick after you fire them sometimes.January 20, 2009 at 5:42 pm #11080
I was wondering how the thin ones spread. I was hoping they remained thin!
- You must be logged in to reply to this topic.