It’s time to get things started.

OK, now I REALLY need to work on the craft room.
Thompson Enamels is raising their prices. 8% on enamels, 10% on everything else. So, predictably, I just placed an order for more enamel. Not a lot; just enough that I have a full rainbow of opaques (Orient Red & Sunset Orange I had, ordered Mellow Yellow & Hunter Green, already have a couple of blues, ordered Iris Purple – which I’ve wanted to order for, like, 2 years, but couldn’t justify the cost because purples are wicked expensive for some reason. Plus a couple of colors of 6/20 frit – foxglove purple, black and mellow yellow; I already had red, white and blue. The frit is good for Headpins, & making dots on stuff).
I’ve torch-enameled exactly once, since the original class. In the garage. In the middle of winter.  It went badly, but not TERRIBLY. About as badly as one could expect, given that I’d done it once, almost a full year before. But it being summer, now… ain’t doing this in the garage.
Between wanting to enamel, & wanting to get some metal clay studs done, getting the craft room into some kind of usable shape is imperative.
Period.
End of story.

Moving right along.

OK! So! Bit of an update.

I have a house! I live there!

It’s still full of boxes. It’s been a month; I just… haven’t accomplished as much as I’d like. Which for me is pretty normal, but still frustrating. But! Such predicaments, we must move ahead.

 

I’ve just this minute completed an order that brings me up to 3 – 4 oz of the following enamel colors in order of when I remembered them, a.k.a. no particular order (some of these I had already ordered, so this is a grand-total list):

Thompson Enamels:

Sunset Orange

Foxglove Purple

Peacock Blue Green

Ultramarine Blue

Flame Red

Beryl Green (Transparent)

Robin’s Egg Blue

Medium Fusing Clear (Transparent. Duh.)

Calamine Blue

 

Discontinued Rio Grande Colors:

Scarlet

Mallard Green (transparent)

Sea Green

Silver Grey

 

I have slightly less than 3 oz of a few other colors: Foundation White, Butter Yellow, Jungle Green, Daphne Blue, Black, Mocca Brown

There may be others that I’m just not remembering right now.

I’ve got a whole bunch of copper and iron beads and charms to start playing with. First order of business, I think, being the copper tags, bought for the purpose of having a sample of each fired color to tape to the lids of the tins. Of the things needed to get to work, the only things I officially do not own at all are an appropriately sized loaf tin, enough vermiculite (I looked at what was included with my Bead Pulling Station, and found it not enough for my comfort), and the MAPP gas can, itself. The loaf pan should be obtainable at Shop Rite; the others are readily available at Lowe’s. The can is slightly cheaper at Home Depot, but they don’t carry the vermiculite in store and Lowes does, so… there you go.

Oh, and I haven’t yet located the torch head I bought. For some reason, it wasn’t packed with the rest of the enameling stuff, so I have to hunt in the office for it.

 

Mind you, I may be ready for this. My tools and materials may be almost ready. What ISN’T ready is the room I plan to DO it in! Right now it’s a catch-all for things I wasn’t sure where to put elsewhere. All my musical instruments (two guitars and a trumpet) and their accompanying music are there. A boatload of vinyl records are there. I don’t know where those things are going to end up, but I don’t think they really belong in the office. I may USE them in the office, but I don’t think they can live there, given that it might get warm in there. So, they need new homes. I need to dig the window exhaust/intake fan out of the closet. This was the only ventilation solution I could come up with, in the short term. I know it’s not ideal. We’ll have to see how things go. But it’s better than nothing.

 

So! Yes! Enameling to begin soon. Then, most likely, kumihimo, for bracelets to hang enameled things from. I imagine earrings will also be happening. Even necklaces are possible, though historically, I haven’t had a whole lot of patience for necklaces. I think that with a combination of chain, kumi, and enameled beads, necklaces will happen a lot faster than they would with, say, individually formed wire links.

 

In other news, I’ve ordered tiny, nickel-free stars, for the top of Swarovski Christmas trees – ‘tis the season (or near enough, anyway).

I have absolutely no idea what to do with Thanksgivukkah, as far as jewelry. Blue turkeys, perhaps? Ah, no, no turkey enameling blanks to be found. *sigh* I’ll have to think of something….

 

Anyway, just wanted to keep you in the loop. Things are coming. I will be making sparkly things. They will be posted. The train marches on. 🙂

No enameling – denied!

So I was all sorts of enthused about starting up with torch-fired enamel. It’s fantastically fun, and easy, and hey – fire! That’s always fun! Or, y’know, not – mostly, fire scares me. Wisely, I feel. But because it was pretty much stationary, I didn’t find it as daunting as the creme brulee torching of metal clay. Plus, it’s over in moments, instead of it taking (at least in the case of ArtClay Copper) a significant chunk of time.

Then I actually bought Barbara Lewis’s book, http://www.amazon.com/Torch-Fired-Enamel-Jewelry-Workshop-Painting/dp/1440308861, which mentions, among other things, that you want to work in a well-ventilated area. It recommends doing a search on how lampworkers ventilate their work areas.

My work area (which is to say, my apartment) is not particularly well ventilated. This is predominantly because I never open the windows. Ever. So unless a closed HVAC system counts as ventilation, this is not good. When I did the search on lampworking ventilation, and my brain exploded. There is simultaneously a huge quantity of information out there, and a complete lack of what I feel, in my case, is actually useful.

I have simple needs, I think: I need something non-permanent and inexpensive, that will allow me to hook it up, do my thing, unhook it, and put it away, while keeping myself safe and not setting my home on fire.

Some people recommended getting materials from hydroponics companies, but the information on how to actually set it up was a bit sketchy (I saw one with what looked like dryer vent tubing hooked up to a hydroponics fan, set up on cinder blocks, and stuck poking out a barn door. Since I’m lacking in barn doors, and wouldn’t leave one open, anyway, that’s a no-go. Plus, I don’t recall seeing how the part you actually sit near and use the torch by should be set up). Others were downright dangerous (make a fume hood with foamcore board covered with aluminum foil. FOAMCORE?! Can you think of ANYTHING more toxic and flammable?! It’s STYROFOAM and PAPER, for the love of…!?) Some had oven range hoods vented to the outside, which of all the available options, seems the most feasible; most of the comments regarding those systems stated that they didn’t accomplish nearly enough in the way of venting, and that they might cause a backdraft explosion in your freaking furnace because fresh air isn’t replacing what gets vented. Some seemed to have seriously complex ventilation systems, and others, just fan in a window.

I am very confused.

I don’t particularly want to fill my lungs with copper oxides and flaming silica and whatever all else is going to fly through the air, during torching (or firing in a kiln, for that matter). I’m not in a position to cut a hole in the wall and hook a duct up to it. On top of that, even if/when I do move to more permanent housing, I was planning to move to a townhome or condo; these sites implied that the HOAs in such places would be very unhappy to learn of torch or kiln use. Which, when you get right down to it, makes perfect sense. I wouldn’t be happy to know that my neighbors were using open flames in their apartments, either (even if they are really small ones. The flames, not the neighbors). This… is kind of a game-changer, I’ve gotta say.

So I will now be extending my search to stand-alone, single family housing. Preferably with… no yard. At all. Whatsoever.

I don’t particularly want to own an actual home (as opposed to a townhome). It opens a whole ‘nother can of worms, and it scares the bejeesus out of me. But I don’t want to be confined to wirework for the rest of my jewelry-making career, either.

The only other option I can think of is finding a studio space to rent, outside the home, where I can keep my torches and kilns and implements of destruction. Problem being, I can find no such place, and might not be able to afford it, even if I could. It looks like there ARE such places in existence; they’re just in urban areas, e.g. Newark.

So… yeah. Feeling kinda discouraged, just at the moment. All revved up, and, quite literally, no place to go.

More as it develops. IF it develops. *sigh*