John C. Campbell with Anne Havel

For years I have admired Anne Havel's work.  Her soft colors combined with the texture she achieved with sgraffito technique always caught my eye. I could not believe that she was scheduled to teach near me (4 hours or so) and a week I could go.  My hot little fingers were pushing the computer keys months and months in advance of the class and was lucky enough to be one of 8 in this class.

Anne Havel's wonderful enamel work   

Anne Havel's wonderful enamel work



First let me tell you a little about The Folk School, or the other name John C. Campbell. This school teaches all the Southern Heritage crafts like blacksmithing, paper arts, woodworking, dyeing fabrics, quilting, storytelling, jewelry and enamel plus so much more.  If you want  to immerse yourself in an art for a week without the outside world interfering, then treat yourself here.

Misty morning at John C. Campbell Folk School

Misty morning at John C. Campbell Folk School

Now to the good stuff.  Anne's class was centered around liquid enamel and adding lines. 

Lines through sgraffito, lines with graphite, lines with cat whiskers and more.  She shared and answered any questions.  Questions about torches, kilns, different style settings and more.

But, and oh, what a wonderful thing..... we enameled, we enameled, with the torch, we enameled with the kiln, with acrylic enamels, with liquid enamels, with sifted enamels. We overfiring, we separation enamel, with crackle (thank you Paul Roche; resident at JCCFS). We etched the enamel, we stoned, we burned out organic materials; if it wasn't nailed down we enameled it.

Anne's work before and during class   

Anne's work before and during class


Some of my work

Some of my work

In most of my work, I use bold colors so transparent enamel (Anne's love) was intriguing to me.  I didn't know the results I would get, it was scary and exciting.

I made new friends, played with enamels, rested, walked along the wildflowers and meandering paths of the school.  New doors were opened. 

Student work at Show and Tell

Student work at Show and Tell

So... go out, think and try new things, push yourself in a different direction.  I did and I am glad!

Tucson or Bust!

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For those of us that create jewelry, Tucson Arizonia during the first two weeks of

Feburary each year is like a Mecca.  There are more than 40 shows of every rock, every crystal, every gemstone and jewelry component that you can think of or dream up!  Its there in all its glory.  So many wonderful accents of interesting people from many different nations, and what bonds us?  The love of the shiny, the rough, the different and uniqueness of jewelry!

This is my third year teaching in Tucson, and it is overwhelming, and exciting, and exhausting and exhilarating!  Its everything all rolled into one adventure!

This year I had two wonderful roomies, Eva Sherman and Melissa Muir!  Each lady was teaching their own classes and we came together in the evening to laugh and eat and be inspired and share our wonderful stories of our classes and yes.... our treasures.

I get so overwhelmed that I forget to take pictures, but here are a few of the jaw dropping delites at JOGS, where I taught for JewelryTools!

And to share some of my student work!  These pictures were made from our Keum Bo class at JOGS, as well as the Scrapbox Cuff!

Oh, how pretty this is! Gold on Silver

Oh, how pretty this is! Gold on Silver

   scrapbox cuff


scrapbox cuff

I also taught at The Art Retreat in the Desert, which is a retreat where the attendees are treated like royalty!  There are shopping excursions and nightly cocktails, not to mention a wonderful selection of talented teachers! What an honor to be included this year.

hard at work, getting ready to add gold to their earrings!

It was a blast in 2014!  Looking forward to what 2015 holds in sunny, warm Tucson, AZ!!!!!!

Electro Etching with Salt Water

I have been remiss... well that isn't the right word.... downright horrible about blogging.  I don't promise to do much better, but I do promise to try.

Thanks to Ann Sanicola,  I have been learning to etch with salt water and batteries.  I have done a lot of experiments, and thought others might like to see this


  • copper
  • resists (PNP, sharpie, stazon, oil paint, fingernail polish) anything to block the design from the etchant
  • brine water (distilled water boiled with kosher salt until it will not absorb more salt)
  • citric acid (find in the canning department of the grocery store)
  • 2 9volt batteries
  • alligator clips (2)
  • plastic container
  • copper wire
  • tape, I have used painters tape here, packing tape is good.

My experiment started with 2 containers, one with citric acid, one with just salt water.  I wanted to know if the citric acid made the etch go faster, like in Edinburgh Etch.

I started today with a batch of salt water and saltwater with citric acid (1/2 teaspoon) that had been used once.

etching 1.jpg

Notice that the right side is clear (citric acid) and the one on the left has a lot of sediments

Clean metal. Apply your resist (pnp etc)





 Attach a copper wire to the back of the piece with your tape. Cover the entire back and sides with the tape so that your metal doesn't etch away



Use a bare copper sheet (called a sink) and attach to the side of the container.  I just taped it, but a clamp would be great.  Part of the copper (at least  half) should be in the salt water solution


Clip the positive wire to the large wire and the positive side of the battery.

The negative wire to the copper sink and the negative side of the battery. 



The sink will start to bubble.  If it doesn't, check all clips.  If it doesn't bubble it doesn't work!!!

 At 20 minutes I had to clean the sink in the citric acid and I changed both batteries (which were not new, I had etched 1 hr with them the day before) because they weren't bubbling.

I checked the depth of both.  Needed more time.  I shook the plain salt water one to make sure all the copper was not clinging to the piece I wanted to etch.

at 50 minutes I took both out of the water bath, used baking soda to clean and then scrubbed off the resist.

pnp with salt water and citric acid, very clean etch!  depth decent

pnp with salt water, look at the etching around the edge, not smooth.  I know its hard to see!

etching 109c.jpg

Here is a side view of the saltwater bath. Left side has a lot of copper sediment, the right one with citric acid is cleaner...... much cleaner!

For my purposes I will use citric acid, but will use a different power source, one that can plugged in.  For teaching purposes I think 9volt battery will work.