As I mentioned a few days ago, my enameling kiln recently pooped out on me, so I've been experimenting with torch firing.
Now that I've got the technique down, I'm really loving torch firing. It seems to go faster than kiln firing, and I feel like I have more control of the enamels when I torch fire because I can see the exact moment when they fuse, so I never overfire (unless I want to)
The best part, though, is just being able to watch the glass heat up, melt and fuse. I think being able to see it happen close up has given me a better understanding of how enameling works, not to mention that it's just really neat to watch.
Of course there are some things I won't be able to do without a kiln. I can't make any pieces that are enameled in the round, because the torch has to hit the enamel somewhere, and it will turn black in that area. It would also probably be difficult to do any very large pieces with a torch.
Since I want to try enameling vessels at some point in the future (probably when I'm done with school and have time for it!) I'll probably eventually buy another kiln, but for now torch firing is where it's at.
I also think torch firing would be great for somebody who wants to try enameling, but doesn't want to invest in a kiln right away.
All these things I never learned in art school...