Our palettes

by Mer Almagro, February 2021

I like to test enamels before we offer them to you here at enamelworkshop.com, first to make a rigorous selection, and second to provide you with as much information about these enamels as possible. This will save you lots of time and uncertainty.
I create different types of palettes to find out everything I can about a colour and in which ways it can be used.

Read on below to learn more about the how and why of each type of palette you’ll find throughout the website.

All photos are taken in natural light.

Flux

Flux is a transparent enamel designed to be applied directly to the metal, or on top of other enamels for particular purposes. There are many different types of fluxes because enamelists have different things they need the flux to do, and also tend to have personal preferences to suit their workflow.

Fluxes can be divided into two main categories: hard fusing fluxes designed to be applied directly over a particular type of metal (and below other enamels), and soft fusing fluxes designed to be applied on top of other enamels. Yet again, some fluxes are quite versatile and can fulfil multiple or even all jobs in most circumstances (such as Blythe C1).

On our flux palette I apply the enamel:
  • Directly on copper
  • Over opaque white (Blythe T6)
  • Over gold foil (23,5k)
  • Over silver foil (999)
  • Under opaque black (Soyer 36)
This will let you know:
  • How the flux performs over all three common metals: silver, copper and gold.
  • If the flux has a tint, as will show over the opaque white
  • If the flux is hard, as the white will break up though it
  • If it is soft, as the black will break up over it

Transparent

Transparent enamels let the light through, and are coloured with metallic oxides to enrichen the enamelist’s palette.

Transparent colours are extremely versatile in the workshop, since their appearance can dramatically change or be altered depending on the metal or enamel they’re applied on top of. Learn more about interactions in our Intro to Enamel article and video.

On our transparent palette I apply the enamel:
  • Directly on copper
  • Over opaque white (Blythe T6)
  • Over opalescent white (Blythe T8)
  • Over copper flux (Soyer 1)
  • Over gold foil (23,5k)
  • Directly over silver foil (999)
  • Over silver flux (Soyer 3) which was in it’s turn applied directly over silver foil (999)
This will let you know:
  • If the colour is able to absorb all copper oxide as a flux does (when applied directly on top of copper)
  • How the shade changes over different metals & backgrounds
  • If the colour is silver reactive (when applied directly on top of silver foil)

I also create textured colour palettes for some of our transparent enamels to show how the enamel behaves as a thin/thick layer on textured metal. For non silver reactive colours (for example blue) I apply them directly over copper. For reactive colours I apply them over Blythe C1 flux (you will see the tell-tale strip of flux at the bottom of the palette. For some colours I do both, and you will see the colour change plus the flux strip at the bottom edge.

Opalescent

Opalescent enamels are semi-translucent, and often used for special techniques.

I create different palettes for white opalescent and colour opalescent.

White opalescent

Due to their refractive qualities, they tend to look blueish over darker colours, thus look better over dark blue. This is the basis for the opalescent grisaille technique (learn more here).

On our white opalescent palette I apply the enamel:
  • Over cobalt blue (Soyer 26)
  • Directly on copper
  • Over copper flux (Soyer 1)
  • Over gold foil (23,5k)
  • Directly over silver foil (999)
  • Over silver flux (Soyer 3) which was in it’s turn applied directly over silver foil (999)
This will let you know:
  • How the opalescent looks in a gradation over different backgrounds
  • If the opalescent is silver reactive
Color opalescent
  • The palette for colour opalescent is the same the white one, with the exception of Soyer 26, which is eliminated in favour of opaque white.

Opaque

Opaque enamel palettes are very simple. I first apply a fine layer and fire it strongly to show any possible discolouration that occurs. The second layer covers only half of the palette and shows the enamel under normal conditions.

 

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