We’re honored that Anne Dinan, an internationally recognized jewelry and visual artist and instructor, agreed to post a guest blog.
I am beyond excited to be able to create blue ceramic decals from my own imagery and use them in my enamel art. Using my personal imagery in my work is important for me. I am absolutely loving the new CerPrint True Blue cartridge. It switched out with the True Black cartridge in my CerPrint 3500 laser printer so easily and cleanly. The color is gorgeous and I am getting different shades of blue depending on firing temperature and time.
I love to experiment with decals in enameling because the possibilities are endless as far as coloring, firing at different temperatures to get different results, and layering decals to mention a few. With the dandelion piece, I experimented with CerPrint True Blue using a higher temp in the kiln and got a pretty shade of light green. I am currently learning an alternative photo process called cyanotype. It also involves imagery and the results are blue. There is the possibility of these two techniques merging in some way. It’s too early to tell.
Sometimes when I am working with a new product and experimenting, I will use both sides of an enameled piece to apply a decal. It gives me more space to try a different image, and on the reverse side I can see how the decals are holding up to multiple firings. The CerPrint True Blue decals held up beautifully.
Using multiple firings with CerPrint decals to add painted colors over top of a base decal would definitely work for artists using many colors. I just have not gotten to it yet. Soon. In enameling there are many options for coloring. My favorite is china paints.
I am continuing to edit my photos so they are as clear with as much high contrast as possible and experimenting with different temperatures and time in the kiln. I’m also experimenting with merging the cyanotype process to enamels.
For the blue enamel platter shown here, I prepared the copper first by cleaning it very well using a glass brush and some copper cleaner. Sometimes I use an acid bath. After I cleaned the copper, I used a surfactant to ensure the grains of enamel distribute evenly. Next, I brush or spray some gum with distilled water on the piece before sifting the enamel evenly onto the copper. After the copper dried, I fired it in the kiln around 1450 degrees Fahrenheit until the surface was glossy. I repeated the process for the reverse side after the piece cooled and I cleaned the edges. Next, I applied my decal by using some gum arabic to hold it in place. I slid the decal over the gum and used my finger to push out any air bubbles, excess gum etc.. Then I went over it again with a lintless paper towel, making sure I had good contact and there were no air bubbles. I let it dry overnight then fired it until the surface was glossy.
Anne Dinan attended the School of Museum School of Fine Arts in Boston where she studied welding, photography and lithography. After learning everything she could about metals, she turned to glass where she learned how to blow, cast, fuse, slump, and more. The natural progression of things led to vitreous enamels, which she has been exploring for over twenty years. Dinan, a member of the Enamelist Society and a juried member of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, has presented her unique and diverse pieces at many national and international shows. She teaches enameling and creative techniques through popular online classes (@STUDIOo2B2 on Facebook; @AnneDinan on Instagram) and at workshops in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Several of Dinan’s pieces are featured in the CerPrint Artist Gallery.