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[Enamel Bits] Leaded with unleaded

Eileen here, trying my hand at sending CC to all the Enamelists presently
in my little book. This is kind of a test, but will also pass on
as set in the subject line.

According to “Thompson Enamel Workbook”, written by Tom Ellis, Woodrow
Carpenter & Bill Helwig, lead free & lead bearing enamels may be used
together in the same piece as follows.

“Most Enamelists prefer to fire lead bearing enamel on top of lead free
enamel.” Using lead free transparents or opaque as a base coat, apply the
lead bearing opaque or transparent on top (after firing the base coat of
course). You can also wet pack them side by side or stencil them. In
Cloisonn�, individual cells can be packed with one or the other (in the
same piece). Of course, lead bearing can be applied to one side of a
piece & lead free to the other side “if the expansions are close.”

Everyone with me so far? Thompson goes on to say that you can break the
rule above, by firing lead free on top of lead bearing. “This results in
a textural surface which may add interest to a composition.” This is the
part where we’d all have to do some test pieces to see whether the
interesting texture is what we may want in any design. Just make sure
that you don’t contaminate your supply of lead free with grains from lead
bearing or vise versa, as “dimples will result in the fired enamel

The Workbook sells for $6.00 as listed in Thompson catalog No. 953. I
would recommend this to anyone using Thompson products or enamels. The
Workbook answers many questions I have had over the years. Very few of
Thompson products ever came with any instructions or so this
little paperbound book is great.

My next topic will cover Silver Plated Steel, which is a short paragraph
in the Workbook, but I can expand on that!

Happy Fusion!

Eileen Schneegas

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I mix leaded and unleaded enamels all the time in my
work. I would like to point out that I rarely do
enameled jewelry anymore. I do a test strip of any
combination I want first as the combinations are
extrememly unpredictable. I have noted that even with
careful firing the leaded enamels tend to “consume” the
unleaded variety. The unleaded will seperate upon
contact and be lost. If watched carefuly you can get
some really interesting effects playing with this. I
use this to add texture to alot of my bread & butter
work for shows. I want to make them interesting while
only taking the time to fire a couple of times per
image and this really adds to the work.

I somehow missed the book from Thompson…does it
include on their metal lusters? I too have
bought supplies from them and had difficulty figuring
out how to use them. Next order I plan to get it…even
though I think that frequent buyers of their specialty
products like me should probably get a copy tossed in
gratis, after all, most products do include
instructions for use.

Karen from Chicagoland…where you must watch the NBA
finals or they kick you out of the state. (ok, you can
get away with watching the last quarter and fake the


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