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Mosaic Info & Epoxy


#1

If epoxy resin will work, it can be colored with a variety of
household items, including (but not limited to): talc, spices &
herbs, mostly dried stuff but also effective is the water color paint
from tubes. Just get the slightly longer setting epoxy so you will
have time to mix in your experiments. This was passed onto me by
Karen Christians, Metalwerx. Also, the epoxy should come in separate
bottles, rather than the duo injector style. The injector is too
futzy about getting an equal amount of epoxy and catalyst & is also
usually short setting type. Karen’s class let imagination take over &
made samples of mixtures (with notes of course!) on some stiff card.
The dried epoxy can be sanded level if necessary, but you will get a
matte finish rather than a shiny one.

The suggestion concerning enamel: If you meant vitreous enamel,
which is glass, it has all the strength and weaknesses of glass. To
fuse to metal it must be exposed to very high temperatures (1400F or
more, up to 1000C). If you try embedding stuff in molten
glass–well, there are many problems to overcome. I am not speaking
as a lampworker, (bead maker), I don’t know how to do that. I have
semi-successfully embedded fine silver in glass, but it will usually
break down at the interface between the metal edge & the glass
foundation. I mean that I left the surface of the fine silver
exposed above the glass. A different technique from cloisonnE9 or
champleve or completely covering metal foils or even bits of
cloisonnE9 wire. Working on my own, everything I do is an
"experiment" LOL ;-).

Rio Grande sells colored epoxy resin. Trade names are Colores and
Durenamel. Never having used either, I can’t speak for or against
them. You would get repeatable results with a system, where you might
not doing the “fly by night” additives to epoxy.

Have fun!

Eileen Schneegas
Middlesex, England
Snow Goose Designs, Metal & Enamel Art
@D_A_Schneegas


#2

I forgot that I did this years ago - you can also add actual enamel
powders, too, to the epoxy resin. These look great, especially the
dark greens and blues. The blue comes out looking like lapiz lazuli,
and I had made a pair of cufflinks where, instead of using a stone, I
used this mixture and everyone thinks it IS lapis. --Arts


#3

You know all those drawers full of unused eyeshadow, I bet that
would work really well mixed up in the epoxy, and they came in all
those awsome colors too…humm… Chastain


#4

Oooo. Sounds wonderful. Am very seduced by such ideas–BUT: I do
worry about longevity. Does anyone know how epoxy stands up over the
years? Does it go brittle? Cloudy? Off-colour?? Is it preferable
to set it like a stone, so it isn’t affixed to the metal [I’m thinking Re: expansion/contraction, & easy removal for future repairs/reworking of the metal.] There is a type of pourable varnish you can buy in
craft stores, that comes in two parts like epoxy–pours on thick,
dries crystal clear. Within a frame, it can be poured very thick.
It’s fun to work with, and I have wondered about using it to create
interesting elements for jewellery. I’m held back by not knowing what
’quality’ the material really is. I want my customers’ pieces to
LAST–for their children’s children. How do you all manage this
Orchid thing? The amount of info each time I check in; the number of
brains I want to pick, the number of generous contributions I want to
acknowledge, is a bit overwhelming. I’m so delighted this exists.
For the first time, I’m in danger of becoming one of those people who
spends just a taaaaad too long on the net ea. evening…


#5
       Oooo.  Sounds wonderful.  Am very seduced by such ideas--BUT:
I do worry about longevity.  Does anyone know how epoxy stands up
over the years?  Does it go brittle?  Cloudy?  Off-colour?? 

I know of a very excellent epoxy that will not turn yellow over time,
doesn’t go brittle and is crystal clear: check www.polytek.com they
have a good choice of epoxies.

Fady Sawaya
fady@fadysawaya.com
http://www.fadysawaya.com


#6

Dear Gordon,

Yes, I too am delighted that Orchid exists and for the first time “
in danger of…” I have been wondering, being very new to this
amazing gift of energy and idea exchange who is Gordon Green and
those other wonderful people with time on their hands for thoughtful
responses to many questions. Delighted to read about your familiarity
with Santa Clara del Cobre. Spent three weeks there last summer,
visiting shops, looking at stuff and even working a bit with a family
of coppersmiths. Now I am completely confused between working hot and
working cold. The oversized tongs, made for me by a local blacksmith
on my last day of stay are too heavy for my fairly small vessels, and
the larger pieces that I started in Santa Clara and am finishing now
are difficult to anneal well without a forge. The kiln works better
than the torch. I long for a different work space…the dirt floor
shop with only natural light, proper stakes cemented into the ground,
low stools and short handeled one sided hammers. And I too love San
Miquel de Allende. Have gone there several times in recent years and
for the first time more than thirty years ago when the art scene was
fresh and exciting. Do you really live on a five year plan? How
wonderful. Do you have a place to work there? Is jewelry your main
interest? I met a lovely jeweler/enamelist there on one of my visits.
His name is Peter Hechtman. Do you know him? I believe that he used
to teach at the Instituto Allende for years. All the best, and thanks
for your time and ideas. Vlatka Varga


#7

Hello, Vlatka. “…thanks for your time and ideas,” you wrote. Well
the ideas are never in short supply; it’s the time part that gets low.
So here’s a messy-splat-fast series of responses to your offerings:
How fantastic Re: your experience in Santa Clara; I fantasized about
apprentising there [would be such a ‘pure’ way of learning]–but my
heart is really in jewellery. As for SM, I’m continuously falling in
love with the place. How interesting for you to have witnessed it
throughout the recent years of intense changes–I’m told by those who
knew the older, less ‘colonised’ SM that it has lost much of its
charm/simplicity/authenticity. I think this is true all over the
world. (I also think that as people age, they tend to mourn the
passing of their own personal time in the guise of more general
nostalgia. SM’s population is, as you know, for the most part older.)
Do I know Peter H.? Not yet–but certainly know of him, and am
planning to enroll with him as my next step. First, I’m studying
with Billy King (former head of Instituto Allende jewellery)–all
fabrication, all sterling. This is like memorizing the alphabet
before attempting to write poetry. What I really want to be doing is
gold & enamel, very sculptural pieces (I have studied bronze
casting)–but if I go to Peter now and start working that way, I know
I’ll never look back. And that would be a mistake, because I’d be
limiting myself. In fact, I LOVE what I’m doing with Billy. It’s
challenging and exciting, and I’m getting to know the personality of
metal in a way that casting doesn’t offer. Yes, I do live on five
yr. plan. Wonderful openess to Life–but high price, too. I’m
looking forward to being still for the next little while; roots are
nourishing.

You also asked, “Who is Gordon Green?” He’s my father. I’ve left
San Miguel for a month and have come to my parents’ house in Canada to
retrieve some of my posessions from storage in their basement. My
name is Andy. Thanks for your kind words, Vlatka. ( If you feel like
it, I’d love to read a description of some of your pieces.)


#8
Oooo.  Sounds wonderful.  Am very seduced by such ideas--BUT: I do
worry about longevity.  Does anyone know how epoxy stands up over the
years?  Does it go brittle?  Cloudy?  Off-colour??

The Indians of the southwestern U.S. have been using 2-part epoxy for
what is known as chip inlay for at least 30 years that I know. I still
have a few of those pieces, and it’s still holding up well. I’ve
always warned people, however, not to flex a bracelet with a lot of
inlay of any sort, because it will fracture and pop out. Most epoxies
will yellow with exposure to UV. The Indians solved this by using some
color in the epoxy. This color was usually black, made from finely
ground jet or lampblack. Another way they got around it was to oxidize
the channel black before inlaying the stone and epoxy combination.

Is it preferable to set it like a stone, so it isn't affixed to the
metal [I'm thinking Re: expansion/contraction, & easy removal for
future repairs/reworking of the metal.] 

It’s best to place the material coated with epoxy into a channel, and
add additional epoxy to fill gaps. The channel is overfilled and then
ground down and polished.

     There is a type of pourable varnish you can buy in craft
stores, that comes in two parts like epoxy--pours on thick, dries
crystal clear. Within a frame, it can be poured very thick. It's fun
to work with, and I have wondered about using it to create
interesting elements for jewellery. I'm held back by not knowing
what 'quality' the material really is.  I want my customers' pieces
to LAST--for their children's children. 

I’ve found this material doesn’t hold up as well as that made
specifically for jewelry. Many 4-H projects have deteriorated in a few
years–cracking and yellowing primarily. It also doesn’t polish well,
and it scratches much too easily for my taste.

I have used Durenamel and been pleased with the results. I like the
convenience of premade colors. I have a piece made of copper, chip
turquoise and clear resin. It’s been sitting in sunlight for the past
year. The resin is still crystal clear, and the copper still sparkles
underneath. I have not noticed any deterioration such as crackling,
softening, chipping, etc. I made some pins for one of my customers.
She didn’t want enamel because she was afraid the enamel would crack
if the recipient dropped it. I made one with chip stone, and one with
just the Durenamel. Oh yes, she wanted it over sterling silver, rather
than fine, so that jinxed enameling too. They’ve been around for
almost 2 years now, and no complaints, even when I ask specifically.

K.P. in WY -


#9

Great info, K.P. Tx. There are some amazingly intricate micromosaic
pieces out there in the antique shops & museums; many of them are as
complete as the day they fabricated. What did they use before epoxy
came along? It’s certanly something that has stood the test of time.
(Or is the difference here one of visible ‘grouting’ vs. invisible?) –
Andy


#10

Hello - I missed the original question, but wanted to mention that I
have used the Durenamel that Rio Grande sells and it worked
excellently. I chose Durenamel because they said it could be ground
and polished (and being a lapidary as well I can’t resist the chance
of being able to futz with things). The main project I got it for was
inlaying malachite chips/powder (yes, I used a mask, etc.) into very
narrow channels in a couple of rings. I was able to mound the chips
and the enamel above the surface, baked it hard, and then ground and
polished it down to be level with the rings. It polished great. It
also seems to be harder than other epoxy resins I’ve tried.
kara


#11
 What did they use before epoxy came along? 

I was told they used pine resin, and it was baked in a cooling
beehive oven after the bread was done. Makes sense if you know how
copal and amber is formed.