What is Have Kiln Will Travel?

What is Have Kiln Will Travel?

Have Kiln Will Travel (HKWT) is a fully equipped traveling fused glass studio. Six small kilns are brought on site to teach glass fusing along with a large selection of art glass, and all of the necessary tools. It is the only traveling glass studio in the United States servicing art centers and community education programs.

HKWT is truly a unique opportunity and an ongoing experiment in community education. HKWT teaches the basics, gives you the opportunity to watch your creations come alive in the kiln, and for the jewelry classes you take your works of art home that day.

When Are Events
/Classes - Use the calendar below for a complete listing of classes and their locations.

Detailed Class Information - Use the "Search Terms" section in the lower left column to find detailed blog posts regarding what is taught and what is made in the classes. There are also class specific descriptions found at the "Information Links" section in the left hand column of this blog.

Where To Register For Classes - Use the "Register For Classes" section for links to the art center or community education program that you are interested in.

Fund-Raising Events
- In addition to classes the HKWT concept can be used to raise money for your favorite charitable or nonprofit organization. Use the "Information Links" section to obtain a document with detailed information on hosting a HKWT event.

Blog Archive - Look through the blog (lower left column) for more information on projects.

Calendar Of Events & Classes

----- Have Kiln Will Travel Event Calendar ------ Registration Links Are Below Left of Calendar

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Enameling Adventures Begin

Have Kiln Will Travel is now offering copper enameling classes!

Enameling is a very close cousin to glass fusing which HKWT is based on. In a nutshell, enameling is the process of placing glass powder onto copper, then baking it in a kiln until the powder melts into glass and permanently adheres to the copper base.

Enameling is a perfect addition to the HKWT adventures, because it is quick and that helps make it fun. You can make changes to your work very quickly by adding more color or completely covering over and starting again. A single firing only takes a couple of minutes in the kiln, and nothing is lost by repeated firings which encourages you to enhance your efforts and try new ideas.

Enamels are basically ground glass which are heavily pigmented. You use very little, less than 1/16 of an inch, to completely cover the copper base. You can sprinkle it with your fingers, sift it onto your project, create patterns with stencils and apply it wet like paint. There are in fact books full of techniques and you will learn quite a few during a three hour class.

 Like a lot of art forms the basics of enameling are learned quickly, however you could also spend a lifetime and not uncover all of its secrets. The class will focus on a few technical details like preparing the copper, how and when to use binders/glue, and you will be introduced to the basic tools and equipment.The butterflies to the left show what the copper looks like before and after putting the first layers of enamel on. A typical piece may be fired three to five times before you are satisfied with the colors. Some of the enamels are transparent and the thicker you put them on the more intense the colors become. Some of the most beautiful professional pieces may be fired as many as thirty times. This gives a piece smooth gradations, color intensity and a great sense of depth.

The shapes are machine stamped pieces of 20 gage copper which is approximately 1/16 inch thick. I ordered approximate 40 different shapes ranging in size from 1/2 inch to several inches. The shapes and the enamels are included in the cost of the class. The largest shapes however cost 50 cents each. Copper as you know is becoming expensive. Many of the items can be turned into pendants, pins and earrings and the hardware/findings for these can also be purchased.

At the end of class it is great fun to turn your work into a finished piece of jewelry when adding the findings. Everyone shares in the excitement of seeing all the work that was completed, and we all learn from the different approaches taken for color choices, application techniques and design.

Because enamel is glass you can also use enameling as part of a  fused glass project where the enamel is placed on a glass sheet instead of copper. We will start to do this in future Fused Glass Jewelry classes.  The only thing to keep in mind is that the enamel set for fused glass is different from the set used on copper. You use them the same way, but they are not compatible. Kind of like mixing oil paints with acrylics - you just can't do it. The result would be a cracked and broken project after it comes out of the kiln.

Some of my repeat students who have been through the enameling class and have attended the fused glass class could attend a class and do anything they want - either enameling projects or fused glass jewelry or even using enamels in a jewelry piece!

This is really incredible... I'm thinking as I'm typing... not only is HKWT a unique experience, but we will also be combining media in ways seldom seen. I can't wait to see what happens!

Those who have had one of my longer running classes at an art center know that I'm highly  experimental in my approach. I love to try to do things in new ways, mixing it all up just to see what comes out. The great thing about teaching is that that the students are mixing it up for me. As they discover new textures and application techniques the best thing I can do is just keep my mouth shut and not ruin things by saying "that's not how I would do it". Of course I steer them away from obvious pitfalls, but there is a fine line between doing something 'wrong' and discovering something new.

Eventually, at one of my art center classes we will make our own large copper shapes out of sheets of copper. We will then fuse the copper partly into glass, leaving some of it outside the glass. The part outside of the glass can then be bent into a third dimension and  copper enamels applied to it. This of course is now taking enameling into the realm of larger sculptural forms, but it all starts with the basics - just applying enamels to machine stamped shapes... pretty simple - but there is no telling where we will go from there.