The Enamel Shop Established 1976
What is Enamel?
Enamel is glass which has been coloured by metal oxides and Enamelling is the craft of making a design by applying the different coloured enamel powders to the metal surface. Enamelling is an ancient craft practised by many past civilisatios including the Greeks, Egyptians, Celts and chinese. Thin layers of coloured glass are fused to the metal surface to create pictures, patterns or just pools of colour. The metals have to be pure: either copper, silver or gold. Virtually anything that can be fashioned in these metals can be enamelled, The enamel is ground to a fine powder and is applied to the metal surface either by: sifting on dry, or is mixed to a paste with water and is layed on wet. The article is then placed in a kiln at a temperature of about 780 Degree Celcius. It takes approx. 2 1/2 minutes - depending on the size of the article, for the enamel to fuse to the metal and achieve a glossy surface.
Enamelling is a thriving craft today; more so than perhaps it has ever been since its beginning some 3000 tears ago. Methods, materials and equipment remain much the same though refinements in the manufacture of the enamels have brought it within the reach of everyone.
Enamelling kilns are much smaller than their pottery counterparts and the process of firing a piece of copper with enamel only takes a few minutes: equipment can be layed out on the kitchen table, in fact anywhere, and the put away later and the kilns are light enough to be easily moved around the house, studio or workshop. For these reasons enamelling is expanding rapidly both as a hobby at home, a recognised craft in schools or the start of a jewllery business for the enterprising individual. There is an increasing demand for challenging pursuits: people do have more time but they are also more discriminating in the way they spend it.
Basically enamelling is simple: it takes 5 minutes to learn but you can spend many years experimenting with a multiplicity of effects, for glass is the most fantastic medium for learning new things.
Enamelling is a craft, not an art, and anyone has the ability to make beautiful pictures and pieces of jewellery: the craft lends itself to free expression as well as to more controlled designs and thus covers the whole range of abilities appealing to the artist and the hobbyist. Simple designs can be made easily and quickly. Most people start with jewellery and the craft never fails to thrill and fascinate as ordinary pieces of copper are transformed with a kiln and a few grammes of colour, into beautiful jewellery. In minutes!
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