Using the Kiln + Not Using the Kiln

Using the Kiln + Not Using the Kiln


After making the decision that I'd taken enough courses and needed to get the show on the road, I joined Daniels Artscape and really felt I'd found my place in their Jewelry Studio.

I'd taken on a Challenge with a dozen or so jewellers and committed to an end of February 2020 deadline of making charms to send to everyone as a fun and motivating exercise and as a push to learn to properly operate my new kiln. There were some good YouTube videos and a Manual that came with it which empowered me just enough to believe I could follow through. I wound up having to purchase a few more unexpected tools and I did so without too much thought especially after Gary asked if he could offer me one piece of unsolicited advice; it being, 'you can never have too many tools'. I'd laughed at the time. Little did I realize ...thanks bro. I do my homework but don't hesitate for too long once I know about a tool that might make things a whole lot easier.

My next purchase was a tumbler with stainless shot and WOW what a great tool it is. I barely have to lift a finger after running it with a few drops of dawn suds for about half an hour. Mind you, I spent a good amount of time sanding the dry clay prior to firing these pieces in the kiln which meant they came out pretty smooth - but still.



A few months before I joined Daniels, I had discovered another studio in Toronto. One that had a studio set up for working with metal clay (something that Daniels didn't have).

In October 2019, I called BeadFx to ask about their Jool Tool. People were raving about it but Sandra McEwen's review of it wasn't quite glowing and I really respected her opinion. I'd purchased her diamond stick on Etsy but knew it would only last so long and it was a hand-held tool and I knew she used a real polisher, too.

I wanted to know more about all the polishers before making a decision to possibly purchase one because it was a comparable investment as the kiln.  I'd used a Paragon kiln in classes taken over the Summer of 2019 at George Brown College when I went through Catherine Crowe's Cloisonne and Enamelling Course and had gone in with a couple of other classmates to make this purchase in order to bring the price down a bit and felt I'd done excellent research before committing to this purchase.

Christine was the studio monitor at the Open Studio at BeadFx. I had spoken with her when I called to find out more about the Jool Tool and she suggested I come in and try out some of the polishers. When I arrived, it was clear the other people around the table knew one another as they were animated and deep in conversation.

Christine set me up in the next room with the Jool Tool.

I began to grind away at a set of enamelled buttons I'd not finished working on in class.
Jool Tool
The machine on the left is the Jool Tool attached to a vacuum extractor.

using the Jool Tool at BeadFX

The entire time the wheel is turning, you need to keep dipping the piece you're polishing in and out of water so the sanding wheel remains wet. It was a sloppy job and I got wet, too.
I let go of the button once and Christine came in to see if I was ok. That thing made a noise when it pinged across the room and hit the adjoining door. She also helped me find it again.
Ha. Ha.
Now I knew why she'd had me wear a mask and goggles.


Then Christine had me try the Diamond Pacific Genie (above) saying she felt it was a little more user-friendly.

After trying both, I began to seriously reconsider my choice. She said she owned the smaller version of this Genie I was using. The one she suggested was the Diamond Pacific Pixie. Using the Genie just felt a lot safer and it was definitely faster and easier to use and it did a great job. At school we used simple hand filing tools. They took time and I thought if I was going to set up shop, it might make sense to get something quicker and easier.

Since joining Sandra McEwen's Vimeo Group, I've been introduced to a set of polishing attachments I can use on the Fordham I already own.

BUT let's backtrack a bit. When I came back into the open studio room where all the others were passionately deep in converstation still, I overheard them mention Sandra's name. That's when I waited for a break in the discussion and asked if I'd heard them correctly. This is when all hell broke loose, for me, anyways.

THEY HAD ALL ATTENDED A WORKSHOP SANDRA HAD GIVEN IN CANADA and here they were finishing up some of the pieces they'd made with her and they told me she was coming back. I let them know that since discovering Sandra's work online, I'd decided to take the course at George Brown. They all taken Catherine's course as well.

The course they had taken with Sandra was in a small town, called Levis, just outside of Quebec City. As mentioned last week, it's where Gary was born. You know when there's just so many coincidences happening all at once, how crazy it gets in your head as you try to make sense of things that have all somehow just lined up on their own without any help from you whatsoever.

I left that day as high as a the nuns at Mom's Mom's funeral (another story for another day) and immediately signed up for Sandra's workshop. I found a lovely place to stay a few doors away from Casa Artistica École D'Arts and decided to add on a trip to see my friend, Barry, in Montreal, afterwards.

I'll leave the post here ... on a good note.

Next week I'll talk more about finishing the charms just as lockdown was announced. That'll bring us to the bit about 'Not Using the Kiln'.



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