The Guild Photo Archive

 

Over the last six months David Cowling has been editing and cataloguing the, literally thousands, of photographs that Rob Griffin has taken at recent conferences. Along with other photos from Jock Miller etc we now have an archive going back to 2006. Julia Riddington has been creating the software to create a database of these images and all guild members can now search though it by going into the members area of the website and clicking on “Archive” in the member’s menu.
 
The first time you do this a page will probably load that invites you to install Microsoft Silverlight. This is needed to run the software. Following the instructions to install it shouldn’t take long and the installation only needs to be done once. After that, on future visits to the archive, the start page should appear after a few seconds and you can then begin searching.
 
Details of how to search through and view both the images and the information we have about them can be found by clicking on the link below:
 
 
At the moment, you will come across images where the maker is listed as unknown and also other gaps in the “Image Information” for each photo. This is where we hope you can help. For example, if it’s one of your own pieces in the photo please let us know by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and David will then be able to update the information. Please also let David know if you find separate images that should be grouped or linked together because they are all the same or are part of a set.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Paper on transparent enamels applied to copper

By Raymond Jackson

Some Observations on Applying Transparent Enamels to Copper

Silver and gold are attractive metals for enamelling because of their intrinsic value and because they possess high reflecting properties, allowing transparent enamels to be shown to best advantage. In addition, gold and silver alloys do not oxidize significantly at the temperatures needed to fuse the enamels to them. Although minor oxidation can cause some transparent enamels to discolour, there are well established techniques to enable enamel clarity and colour to be of a very high order.


In contrast, copper presents a problem for transparent enamels, namely the rapid and significant oxidation that takes place when copper is heated to enamelling temperatures, (in the range 7000C – 10000C). Inexperienced enamellers might conclude it virtually impossible to achieve results quite as good as those on gold or silver. This may be true, but there is much published information on how to mitigate the discoloration of transparent enamels caused by the copper oxide that develops on the surface of the metal.

Read the full article

Raku Firing of Enamel With Silver PMC and Art Clay.

By Dorothy Cockrell and Joseph A. Ontko Ph.D.

Silver nitrate and raku firing have long been used to produce silvery patterns on enamel. There are certain difficulties in this process, ranging from the procurement of silver nitrate, the necessity of keeping the crystals and solutions away from light lest they deteriorate, through problems connected with controlling the various solutions, to the deep brown staining which can develop on hands, clothing, and work surfaces. Mixing an appropriate strength of any solution often requires making several test pieces.

It occurred to me that perhaps more modern materials could be used to produce the same effects with less trouble.

Therefore when packing my tutorial tool box for a raku firing workshop at the John C. Campbell Folk School, I included a very ancient unused piece of the original type of silver PMC (Precious Metal Clay). It was so old that it had hardened into a small bullet and re-quired breaking up and two days soaking in water to re-constitute it.
In a quiet moment I painted some of the resulting slip onto a pre- enamelled copper blank and fired it to burn off the organic binder. The result was a greyish patch of enamel.

Download the full article here:

A Beginners Look at Enamelling on Silver

By Raymond Jackson

Common Silver Alloys for Enamelling

Sterling silver (7.5% copper in a minimum of 92.5% silver) is widely used for silver articles including jewellery and for enamelling the same. The copper content increases the strength and hardness.

Britannia silver (a minimum silver content of 95.8% and the remainder largely copper) is less widely used but is especially suitable for taking stamps and dies. Being softer than Sterling silver, it is more susceptible to bowing unless counter enamelled. However, some experts state that enamel colours are truer when fired on this alloy. As to cost, there is virtually no difference.

It is reported that the presence of impurities even at low levels can affect the adhesion of enamels. In particular, Selenium and Teluriam can cause problems. To avoid this potential problem, reputable silver suppliers use only fine silver and pure copper in the initial alloy casting process.

Download the full article here:

An Investigation into Using Enamel Flux on Copper

By Raymond Jackson

Introduction

As a relative beginner in the craft of enamelling, I find myself especially attracted by transparent enamels. They yield their true beauty when light is reflected through them from the metal substrate beneath.

Copper, being much cheaper than silver, is a popular metal base for enamelling. However, the copper oxides that form at the high kiln temperatures necessary to fuse the enamel to the metal can both colour the enamel and reduce the transmission of reflected light. Some transparent enamels are little affected but most appear somewhat opaque and dark. As a consequence it is generally good practice to first apply a colourless enamel flux. This flux is formulated to more easily absorb the copper oxide. The result should be a clear and bright surface onto which coloured transparent enamels can then be applied.

The proper application of enamel flux is thus an important first step in achieving reflective enamel pieces with copper as the base metal. In contrast, silver presents problems only for specific enamels (eg some reds and oranges) and the flux layer is correspondingly less necessary.

Through my inexperience and understanding of the factors involved in achieving transparency with enamel flux, my enamelled pieces were rarely clear or bright, and more often they were muddy, or cloudy.

I decided, therefore, to embark on a series of experiments aimed at finding and controlling the factors that determine the clarity of enamel flux applied to copper. These experiments deal with the sieving of dry enamel flux powder on copper. Most of the results, however, are also relevant to the technique of wet laying of enamel flux.

This report describes those experiments that have subsequently led me to achieve a consistent and acceptable enamel flux base coat.

The information is presented in the hope that other beginners may find it useful. It owes much to various excellent publications that provide background information on the fluxing of copper.

Download the full article here: