Monday, February 17, 2014

scenes from an Enameling Playdate weekend

in which in which much fun was had with glass on metal, combined with extreme heat and a great mixture of friends from near and far, and our plucky heroine learns it is possible to fit almost twice the number of usual students into one workroom...

At one point on Saturday there were SEVEN adults in the studio, as well as Toshi the WonderPup tucked in the corner near the laundry, and two patient and well behaved children entertaining themselves in the living room. It was the first weekend long Enameling Playdate, and there have been some amazing first and second pieces created. It does my teachery heart good when folks have so much fun on their initial effort that they immediately want to make another one...

Larry and Jen had both come with specific ideas to try out, while Cathy looked for new inspiration in some books on Anglo-Saxon artifacts

Jess works to bend the tiny cloisonné wires for her design...

Larry starts to apply the enamel powders

Jen is working on her second piece of cloisonné

Bill is engraving sample plaques for trying out the new Japanese and French transparent red enamels...

there were, at times seven folks in the studio... not quite all are visible in this picture...

in the background, our plucky heroine is conversing with Cathy about some odd enamel behavior
(photo courtesy of Jen Ariadne)

our intrepid supervisor: Toshi the Wonder Pup; happy to have so much of the pack in one place at the same time

the various colors of washed enamel powder in the center of the larger worktable... I usually keep the enamels, when in use, in small china dishes on lazy susans, but Cathy thought to add labels to the colors, which helps when there are enamels that look similar as powder, but different colors when fused and fired

After the damp enamel is placed in the cloisons, it must dry completely before being fired...these enamels, resting in their firing trivets, are on top of the kiln, drying...

Cathy sketched out several possible designs before choosing which one to make; her first enamel is inspired by the enameled center medallion in an Anglo-Saxon disc brooch

Jen's first enamel is this graceful trillium

Jess used her heraldry for her first enamel

Jen has a real knack for bending the cloisonné wires - look at this tiny sphinx!

and Cathy's second enamel is inspired by Anglo-Saxon floor tile motifs. This design would be an excellent one for any beginning enamelist, as the graphic quality is strong, the wires easy to bend and apply.

Larry's piece is not quite finished yet (he had to leave early) It will need another layer of the background enamel, and then grinding and flash firing. Still, he did amazingly well, given that he had major dental surgery on Friday and came to enamel on Saturday...

Cindy's piece is also not quite finished (she also had to leave early) but all it still needs is to have the surface ground smooth and be flash fired in the kiln. She will be adding some lighter blue embellishment to the surface of her blue cat.

I always need a sample project when teaching so as to have something available to demonstrate various enameling techniques. My sample enamel for this weekend - one of my favorite animated characters, Puppycat!


  1. Looks like a good time. I enjoyed your photos and especially liked the one of Bill.

    1. I think that is one of the better pictures I have of Bill, right in the middle of engraving

  2. Oh boy, that looks like big fun! A weekend-long enameling playdate! Someday I will be ready for such a fabulous thing!

    1. Glad to hear that you are back again Claire, and I hope your moving in is going well... I will be starting to do weekend teaching again, possibly in March but certainly in April

    2. The moving is hellish but we've got it under control. I haven't moved my studio yet but my sewing machine is set up in the new house and last night we slept there for the first time. It's a good and quiet house for sleeping! Soon I will be able to open my eyes and not see boxes!

    3. Once you get your sewing space and your studio space set up, it will really start to feel like home! Glad to hear it is good and quiet, that helps. I am always surprised at how quiet it is here at night at Acorn Cottage, much more than one would expect in the heart of the city

  3. Talented friends creating beautiful things. That's as good as it gets!

    1. welcome Terri... I certainly agree with your statement, that was the plan for the weekend. It made me happy that not only my friends with more workshop experience were successful, but also those who have not spent a lot of time messing about with glass and metal

  4. speaking of angle-saxonisms.......

    HOLY FUCK!!!! i cannot BELIEVE these are first time pieces! You must be the most amazing teacher, and i'm guessing you got you some talented students there too!!! Man oh man that looks fun, wonderful wonderful wonderful!!!

    i'm just so excited. Speaking of herding dogs, if you like goofy dog stuff here's some video of dad and bonus ma's swedish vallhund taking on a banana:

    hope it makes you smile :) take care angel, steph

  5. Oh Steph, I wish you lived closer and could come play in my studio... That dog video definitely brought a smile to my face, and reminded me of the many odd things that we gave Beloved Smokey to take to pieces... and what a cute dog... now I have another breed to add to my maybe someday list!