Grains of Glass Open Studio brings together Enamel Artists worldwide of every level to share their art and knowledge all under one roof.
One Country & Island at a time...
Argentina, Australia,Austria, Barbados, Belgium, Brazil, Bulgaria, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, Croatia, Czech Republic, Cuba, Denmark, England, Estonia Republic, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Hong Kong, Italy, India, Indonesia Iran, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Jamaica, Macedonia, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, , Poland,Portugal, Puerto Rico, Republic of Georgia, Republic of Korea, Romania, Russia, Senegal,Serbia, Slovakia Republic, , St. Johns, St. Lucia-V.I., Scotland, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan,Trinidad & Tobago,Turkey, UK, Ukraine, Venezuela, USA
Hi everybody, since I went too far etching this plate and got some holes on it, firstly I decided to perforate the plate, patinate it and put it on a polished limestone. But since I have read about the "plique á jour" technique, I am wondering…Continue
Started by Fernando Ramos on Saturday.
Hi folks, Please share your techniques for applying full-piece silver foil to copper that DOESN'T have air bubbles trapped underneath. Thank you! DianaContinue
Started by Diana Wieler on Wednesday.
Hi everybody, my name is Fernando and I live in Spain. I came to enamel from the etching and the sculpture world. I'm just starting, my first attempts were with torch firing and now I have a kiln. I have done some test with little pieces to see my…Continue
Started by Fernando Ramos. Last reply by Edmund J. Massow Mar 3.
Hello, I have just recently started enameling on sheet fine silver. I have experience with enameling on PMC with no problem. But with the sheet silver, 20 gauge, I find scratches on the silver and wonder if I should file them off with wet dry…Continue
Started by Mary Rose. Last reply by Mary Rose Feb 27.
Sorry my bad english, i try to ask a stupid question - how can enamel vertical, concaved or waved forms in plique a jour technique?I have tried flat forms on mica sheet - no problem, but now i will start with butterflys and leafs.Continue
Started by kairi kubja. Last reply by kairi kubja Feb 22.
There is a beautiful speckled technique that an artist I just found Patsy of Ox Art Jewelry uses and I love the look of it! I have no idea how it's done. Can anyone here point me in the right direction? Here's a link so you can see what I am talking…Continue
Started by Keri Lee Sereika. Last reply by Edmund J. Massow Feb 17.
I'm 63, 50 years ago I started enameling when I was a scout .( you know those Baden Powell kids) I remember we fired on a kitchen gas stove. we put the piece on a mesh and put it on the gas it worked fine. I'm on a french forum for metal clay…Continue
Started by Francoise Zainal. Last reply by Edmund J. Massow Feb 17.
Estoy empezando a realizar cloissonne con hilos planos de plata fina pero sobre soporte de plata de ley o esterlin.He tenido problemas cuando en algun colgante he queridosoldar un asa,o cuando he querido rodear todo el esmalte por un anillo de…Continue
Started by Jose Alegria Castell. Last reply by Rafael Arroyo Villemur Feb 16.
I have been using small plastic jewelry baggies to put each enameled piece in for travel.This entails hours of set up time when you sell lots of earrings and small pins, etc.I am brainstorming and sketching to build a system of pockets with felt…Continue
Started by lindsey owen. Last reply by lindsey owen Feb 10.
Does anyone know anything about this company?http://www.wellendorff.com/I have been approached by a jeweller to work with them and a client who wants a ring of this style - but their own design.Whenever…Continue
Started by Catherine Crowe. Last reply by Gisela Brill Feb 10.
These featured selections of Enamel Art are from our Members.
Posted by Trish White on February 28, 2014 at 7:58am
Posted by Barbara Minor on February 22, 2014 at 11:30am
Posted by Lara Ginzburg on February 16, 2014 at 12:10am
Posted by Barbara Minor on February 14, 2014 at 4:10pm
Posted by Trish White on January 17, 2014 at 10:00am
Posted by Ann Davis on January 15, 2014 at 2:00pm
All my life I have always used art as an escape with no real purpose. Up until the time I enrolled into college I never had formal training of any kind in art. While I was working on my business degree in 1987, I enrolled into art classes to take off the strain of my business classes. I have always enjoyed art of any kind, but it doesn’t come natural to me. I still find myself at times working hard to find ideas, and at the same time think out of the box. Problems and conflict are a constant in my work, but I use these to my advantage to help me improve and move forward, always forward. I was a painter before I entered college. Acrylic, oil, and water color were the mediums I used. I taught myself how to stretch and gesso a canvas, and stretch paper for water color. I experimented with different textures that I could apply to the canvas to form a three dimensional painting. I also tried different paint applications that would work on canvas just for something different. I painted abstracts, portraits, and realistic landscape. I was constantly looking for that one medium to put me in a different field than others. The one medium I couldn’t wait to start each day. I am not a conformist. I’m not a follower. I go my own way. I will learn whatever I need then go in my own direction.
When I decided to enroll into art classes I had no idea how my life was about to change or even who Professor John Killmaster was and how he would change my life. Before I could enter into his painting class I had to have his permission. I showed him examples of my paintings and drawings which he snickered at, but said I had promise. I found Professor Killmaster extremely receptive to any and all questions and ideas I put to him. When I thought my project was finished, he would push me further by adding color or subject matter. He showed me new ideas on how to use color. I learned how to use a color pallet in my mind before I ever put it onto canvas. This became a valuable asset for my enameling. He taught me how to make an uninteresting subject more interesting by just stepping back and getting a fresh look at my subject. But I still felt lost and uninspired with all the disciplines in art. I could not find a medium that I could grasp and keep my interest. The students around me were finding their callings, but for me, I couldn’t find that one medium that I couldn’t do without. I excelled in all the work I did, but I couldn’t find a passion; that one spark was out of my reach.
Then as some would say, the moment one’s life changes. I was in Professor Killmaster’s painting class when he brought in a portrait of a lady’s face, half blue and half red. But this was no ordinary portrait, this was kiln fired porcelain enamel on steel. I dropped everything and ran over to get a close look at this new art form. I had to learn this medium called enameling. I found my calling, and what I wanted to do. The following year I enrolled into his first enameling class. Just what the doctor ordered. The physical work of forming the steel, then the fine work of enameling was exciting. After learning the basics my first large project was Room #1, and The Party Is Over. My real interest in this new medium really kicked into gear when I constructed my first three dimensional project, Owl. A real three dimensional enameled project. Professor Killmaster told me it couldn’t be done, and when I told him I was going to enamel it in blue and red, I received the same statement. “It can’t be done.” These words are not in my vocabulary. It turned out to be a great success. At that moment with the success I was having I couldn’t wait to be on my own. I had no idea what was ahead of me and what I had to learn if I wanted to accomplish a three dimensional project, or even complete an enameled project. What I learned in school was the absolute basics of enameling.
After I graduated in 1992 with a Business degree and a Fine Arts degree I built my kiln and began to produce enamels. I didn’t have much success even though I was following the directions I was taught. Producing three dimensional work was out of the question. I was throwing away more projects than I was keeping. The enamel had to be sprayed heavy to keep the problems down, but that created additional problems. For five years I struggled with what I called sloughing. This is when the enamel slides off the top and bottom of the project, or pools into piles, burnt edges, bubbles, pits, fire scale and peeling. There are books and chapters written about what causes these problems when ground coat or enamel are fired, and I found that they were all wrong. I became so frustrated I stopped enameling and spent the next five years studying my notes and reading about steel trying to find the cause of why the ground coat acts the way it does when the ground coat is applied and fired. After studying and experimenting for those years my research was finally rewarded. At long last I found the cause for the existing problems. I had eliminated heat, cold, humidity, and natural impurities as causes. I found oil was the main culprit, also applying the ground coat and base coat too thick was a major problem. On the final cooling process cold oil is poured over the steel to cool it and this oil penetrates into the steel. Prior to stacking oil is again layered over the steel to keep the steel separated from each other due to weight.
I now had to find a way to clean the steel without the use of acid (sparex) or my kiln fired (anneal) because neither of these processes eliminate the oil, but releases the impurities in the steel. I found the answer when I was repairing my utility trailer with my 8” angle grinder removing rust and paint. I tried sanding the steel with 80 grit sand paper until the black dust stopped. The black dust is the oil, grease and dirt on the steel. When the project is ready for its final cleaning I cleaned the project with Awesome and Comet, and then applied the ground coat the same way I apply the white granular coat, but with very light coats. Since I discovered this process I have had only a couple of failures, to keep me humble. I’m now able to accomplish three dimensional projects like my wine cradles, and have my enamels take on a look of transparency.
On June 2013 Volume 32, No. 3 my process was published in the Glass On Metal magazine. I decided to share my findings with other enamelist because I thought this discovery was too important for one person to have. I’m continuously trying to extend my knowledge, and go beyond the phrase, “It can’t be done.” I don’t like to be told I have limits, and because a process has never been tried before that doesn’t mean there isn’t a solution to the problem. Recently I have been adding pulverized sand and glass to some of my projects with good results.
Examples of my cleaning process is my Tree, A Day At The Lake, Life #1, Life #2, Frog, and my wine cradles. My process has allowed for thinner ground, and thinner coats of enamel which produces a more transparent finish on the final project.
My work is not for the purpose of being sold, or expectations of others, but for my own goals and my own standards. I have raised the bar high for myself which keeps me from burn out or boredom.
My vision as an artist is to try to capture a thought and portray that thought visually to the viewer, even if I’m the only viewer. I believe in my heart that a person should try to learn at least one thing every day and be humble when things don’t go right. The harder one pushes forward, always forward through the unknown, the more satisfied one will be with the results. Each project I produce is a part of me, my soul, my feelings, or my surroundings. I no longer want to produce work for the sake of production as galleries would have me do. I now have a new love for the process of enameling from start to finish. With better control over the beginning steps, I can’t wait to start my next project.
Vitreous Enamel is simply a thin layer of glass fused at high temperature on to the surface of a metal.
The word enamel comes from the High German word 'smelzan' and later from the Old French 'esmail'.
The formal definition is : Vitreous Enamel can be defined as a material which is a vitreous solid obtained by smelting or fritting a mixture of inorganic materials.
The Collins English Dictionary defines enamel as "a coloured glassy substance, transparent or opaque, fused to the surface of articles made of metal, glass etc. for ornament or protection." Vitreous enamel is specifically on a metal base. It is thus defined as a vitreous, glass-like coating fused on to a metallic base. In American English it is referred to as Porcelain Enamel.
It should not be confused with paint, which is sometimes called 'enamel'. Paints cannot be vitreous enamel. They do not have the hardness, heat resistance and colour stability that is only available with real vitreous enamel. Beware of companies or products implying the use of enamel. Check their credentials and warranties.
Vitreous enamel is part of everyday life and found all around us. You will use it on many kitchen surfaces including cookers, saucepans and washing machine drums. You will find enamelled cast iron or steel baths and clock and watch faces. Out of doors, we use enamel for street signs, Underground station signs, architectural panels, storage and treatment tanks and many other places. It is selected because it is weatherproof, vandal resistant, fireproof and because it lasts and lasts and lasts. Titanic's Captain Smith's enamelled bathtub has survived very well under the sea.
Enamel is also used by artists and in jewellery, famously in Russia's Fabergé eggs. Decorative enamelling was the first use of the process of enamelling, dating back to the 13th century BC. This type of enamel is usually applied to copper and its alloys and to gold and silver. We make Vitreous Enamel by smelting naturally occurring minerals, such as sand, feldspar, borax, soda ash, and sodium fluoride at temperatures between 1200 °C and 1350 °C until all of the raw materials have dissolved. Other metallic mineral may be added to give specific properties or colour. The molten glass which is formed is either quenched into water or through water-cooled rollers. This rapid cooling prevents crystallisation and is said to be in a metastable state. This material is called "frit". To make a usable enamel the frit will be ground in a rotating ball mill either to produce a water-based slurry or a powder. Clays are used in the water-based products to give a product which can be applied to the metal by spraying, dipping or painting by brush. At the milling stage, other minerals will be added to give the properties which are required of the final enamel. Colour is introduced by the use of metal compounds. The recognisable blue enamel is produced using cobalt. Powdered enamels are applied by dusting or using electrostatic equipment. The final glassy finish so typical of vitreous enamel is produced by firing in furnaces at temperatures up to 900 °C. As it cools, it fuses to give glass-coated metal. This 'firing' process gives vitreous enamel its unique combination of properties. The smooth glass-like surface is hard; it is scratch, chemical and fire resistant. It is easy to clean and hygienic. It all started 3500 years ago in Cyprus. Since 1500 BC, enamelling has been a wonderful, durable, attractive and reliable material. You will recognise it as the material used to produce the now highly collectable advertising signs produced during the early 20th Century.
The 'Hovis' and 'Virol' signs were part of the everyday street scene. Your cooker will almost certainly have a vitreous enamelled oven and the higher quality cookers will use it on the outer parts. Your cast iron or steel bath will have been vitreous enamelled. Less obvious are the storage silos on farms, usually blue or green; they tower over the surrounding countryside. Carl Faberge used enamel for his unique eggs and jewellery and the Battersea enamellers are famous for their copper enamelled boxes. These are only two of the better-known groups of highly skilled artists who used this very special material. Vitreous enamel can be applied to most metals. For jewellery and decorative items it is often applied to gold, silver, copper and bronze. For the more common uses, it is applied to steel or cast iron. There are some specialised uses on stainless steel and aluminium.
The durability of the early advertising signs, still showing the brilliance of the original colours after a hundred years, is one of the best examples of the long-term colour stability of vitreous enamel. Compare them to signs, for example, road signs produced in less durable materials which fade and quickly become shabby. The scourge of graffiti will destroy signs and panelling produced in less durable materials.
Graffiti can be easily removed from vitreous enamel
Some of the early vitreous enamelled relics date back to the 13th Century BC and the colours are still as vibrant as the day they were produced (click our page on Enamelling History). The picture is of some Ming dynasty enamel from the 16th century. If you want something where the colour will never fade, use vitreous enamel.
London Underground LogoFollowing the disastrous King's Cross fire, where combustible materials underground were the major cause, the specification of vitreous enamel for both decorative and functional parts in underground applications is now universal. It cannot burn, in contrast to paints and plastics. The famous London Underground station signs and maps are instantly recognisable uses of this unique product.
FOR THOSE OF YOU unfamiliar with this technique of Enamel Art
PLEASE allow me to re-introduce Master Artist
Mauricette Pinoteau is an enamelist living in Limoges. She specializes in relief technique, she learned this technique at the very famous " Atelier Camille Fauré "in Limoges ,during the 70's .
Mauricette is one of the only two living enamelists that studied with the Masters the secret of the relief technique.
Today she masters this almost magical style of enameling wich seems to defy the logic of enamelling.
She works and sells her work in her own gallery in the same town of Limoges.
Mauricette has provided us with a file to watch how this technique is done.
Also, go to Notebook 1, "Fauré Techniques" to read all about Camille Fauré and his studio.