Looking Forward Looking Back

It has been really hot here for the last 2 weeks and creativity tends to wilt in proportion to the rise in temperature. So most afternoon we have taken our deckchairs down to our rainforest lined creek, and sat in the shade with our legs in the cool water waiting for a breeze. 
The time was also used to review the passed year and the direction of the future.
My year was one of endurance and frustration as events beyond my control moved at glacial pace. These events have finally been resolved. One more hurdle to get over and onwards.
The silver lining of this cloud has been the time I have been able to devote to being creative - just playing.
Most of the playing involved enamel so thought I'd share some of my enamel tests and the direction my inner 'mad professor' wanted to take.
I have flirted with pretty enamel, but I was looking for rustic, grungy, raw and edgy. So began the journey.

This is a series using liquid white enamel and liquid copper. Was hoping to get copper nitrate, but the local pharmacist's eyes glazed over when I tried to order some.  Lateral thinking and a trip to the hardware store yielded cupric hydroxide a gardener's fungal treatment.
(Note: copper nitrate and copper hydroxide can be a hazard, so sensible precautions to limit exposure are required)
Tile one was wet on wet. Tile 2 is wet on dry liquid enamel. Tile 3 is strong copper solution on wet white liquid enamel and the last is the same as 3 but high fired. 
The wet on wet yields a rather nice dotted halo effect. Best results are using a weak solution.
Put this one in the useful file.

This is a test using borax which is a flux. Like the pink effect where the flux has thinned the enamel and let the copper show.
2nd panel was fluxed and high fired.
The third one is the craters left when the borax is quickly heated. Might be more effective on paler colours. 
(Note: borax is also hazardous)
Next was a test of white liquid enamel with a reduced atmosphere flame. The 2nd one had flux added and the last one was fired from the front deep in the flame. Really like speckled carbon deposits and the colour variation where the flux ran

 Next some more of my faves - toxic chemicals! This time in the form of salt glazing. Salt glazing in pottery gives a textured satin finish so thought I'd try. 
(Note: heating the salt results in the release of chlorine gas soooo beware)
Love love LOVE the result on this tile.
Satin finish, great colours, fine texture and detail,but could I duplicate it?
 Nope, nope, nope, and nope! More time and testing needed on this one.
These two are a combination of liquid enamel, cupric hydroxide and borax. The bottom one is high fired. Really complex textures and colours. Put this one in the useful file.

Next a dalliance with champleve. Need heavier copper, so that deeper compartments can be etched but I like the rustic bleakness.

Finally a sneek peek at a technique in Barbara Lewis's Painting with Fire book.

You will have to come back for more of the story and the full reveal


  1. Hi Greer, lots of interesting experiments and great effects there - look forward to the next installment! :)

  2. Your first enamel pieces were lovely - but I was wondering where the 'rust-loving' Greer hat gotten to... These experiments sound scary - the results are interesting. The piece I like most has to be the champleve - just stunning! Would love to see you do more of this!

  3. Your experiments are yielding some really tantalizing results. I keep wondering what would happen if you added some of the traditional potters glaze colorants to the liquid enamel experiments. Things like iron oxide, cobalt and copper. After all the coloruants in enamels are essentially encapsulated blends of some of these basics.