I took a class from Coral Shafer (Enamelwork Supply Company) a couple of weekends ago that focused on using metal foils and leaf in enamel work. I had my first experience, though very brief, with screen printing enamel – in this case on silver foil. We used gold size to adhere metal leaf and Vaseline to adhere silver foil to fired enamels. We used liquid enamel to set up a base to do a process called “ginbari”. Coral sells a silver foil she calls ginbari – it’s thicker than traditional foil -, but I didn’t realize that it was intended for a special process involving embossing the foil, and then “back filling” the raised embossed areas during firing. The liquid enamel base fills the raised lines.
One way to accomplish the embossing is shown here (Coral’s demonstration): 24 or 28 gauge wire is glued on a non-absorbent surface, in a pattern – much like laying cloisonné wires. The foil is then placed over the wire and a brayer is rolled over it (protected by felt) to create the raised surface.
After properly adhering the foil to the (already fired) liquid enamel base, and being careful to avoid pressing the raised pattern down, all is fired together. The enamel is pulled up into the raised areas during firing, leaving the raised lines rock hard. The “cells” can then be filled with enamel and fired. When time permits, I’ll do this to finish my class pieces.
I sort of fell in love with the palladium leaf. I’m looking forward to working with that more.