Enamel

29th June - 28th September 2019

Emily Higham

Emily graduated from Edinburgh College of Art.  With a love of colour and surface pattern, Emily uses the technique and process of enamelling to translate these elements onto metal, creating organic and characteristic jewellery pieces.  Beehives and the beautiful gradient colours of honey and honeycomb inspires her jewellery collection, where she takes inspiration from the rectangular shapes of beehive boxes and the layers they are built upon, stacked in a neat uniform line above each other, contrasted with the organic unpredictability of how the honeycomb itself grows and forms around the frames within the hive boxes.  These layers are then translated into formed metal and enamel.  Resembling the layers built up within beehive boxes, both within the outside of the box and the rectangular slots hidden inside, the enamelling process itself is mainly about layering.  One layer of enamel is fired on top of another, thus the process goes on.  Emily's work starts as a silver sheet which she shapes and enamels onto.  She then applies a couple of layers of vitreous enamel, followed by wet liquid industrial enamel.  Allowing the enamel to try she then draws into it using a tool, most often a craft knife.  The hand drawn aspect and the way things fire in the kiln means each piece comes out different from the last.  The process of enamelling allows Emily to build up gradient layers of colours, marks and surface patterns which are then removed, scratched back and stacked up to reveal a collection of unpredictable marks and varied assortments of colour. 

 

Ann Little

Ann is drawn to colour and enamels provide a beautiful palette to work with.  Windsor blue, parrot green, signal red and Ochre yellow are some of the opaque enamels you’ll often see in her collection of jewellery.  Powdered enamel can’t be mixed like paint to create new colours so layers are built up and fired in the kiln before the next is applied.  Ann’s necklaces are enamelled on both sides allowing them to be worn either way or with the movement of the wearer her long necklaces flip and change colour.  Alongside these bold shapes and vivid colours Ann has continued to make tubes of more muted hues.  These tubes were inspired by the papery bark of the birch trees which are prevalent in the countryside surrounding Ann’s home and workshop. Playing around at the workbench she began to leave the join in these tubes open so her colourful enamelled elements could now slot into these tubes combining her two contrasting styles of work.  One piece inspires the next and the work naturally evolves.

 

Cathy Newell-Price

Cathy’s Jewellery expresses a passion for the natural world, especially plants. The pieces are sometimes symbolic, sometimes figurative and others just evoke a sense of a walk or just being in a particular environment.  Cathy uses a variety of techniques to transform precious metals to reflect botanical forms and scenes where she combines precious metals with gemstones and enamels.  Cathy is a self-taught jeweller and has been making jewellery for many years.  She started working in silver as a teenager and still uses the piercing saw that was given to her when she was 15.  Cathy then studied Botany for her undergraduate degree and the combination of these two interests underpins everything she does.  Before enameling, most of Cathy’s pieces are highly textured with either a recess or relief design in the silver, achieved by various techniques such as roll printing her drawings onto the silver, chasing and repoussé, and direct casting into hand carved moulds.  Cathy uses transparent vitreous (glass) enamels which are supplied in lump and powder form.  Before use, the enamels have to be ground to a fine powder under water in a pestle and mortar and are then washed to remove any cloudiness.  They are then applied to the silver when wet and the piece is then put on top of the kiln to evaporate any water before firing in the kiln to fuse the enamel to the metal.  Once cool, the surface is then "stoned back" so the enamel is flush with the silver and any pits and holes are repaired before refiring; each piece may be fired several times to achieve the required results.  The silver is often oxidised to give it a dark appearance that contrasts well with the vibrancy of the enamel.

 

Judit Patkos

Judit’s jewellery features contemporary handcrafted silver and vitreous enamel design which feature lively colours and interesting textures.  Judit takes pleasure in discovering new possibilities in working with enamel by creating tactile and organic surface patterns inspired by abstract forms of art.  In her Splash Collection she developed a technique where she used a few layers of jewellery enamel as a base coat and then splashed liquid form enamel on top, allowing the enamel to draw interesting, abstract patterns on the base layers.  After firing the pattern, she adds other elements or colour selected areas using transparent jewellery enamel. Instinctively designed, none of the pieces are pre-planned where she gradually builds up the pattern layer by layer. This technique guarantees that each item is unique and one of a kind.  Judit’s finished enamels either stand alone as individual pieces or are incorporated into her silver jewellery designs that enhance the look of her enamels.

 

Caroline Finlay

Caroline designs and makes her distinctive enamelled jewellery in Fife, Scotland.  She works in silver and vitreous enamel and her new work is also available in an 18ct Gold Plated Finish.  She explores traditional techniques in a spontaneous and experimental way to create mark making, textures and form inspired by the Scottish coastline.  Each stage is made by hand; Caroline prefers the fluidity this gives her work; nothing is identical and she enjoys the connection this gives her with each piece.  Both transparent and opaque enamels are used in variations of traditional Champleve and Basse-taille techniques as well as Stencilling and matt and glossy finishes.  Caroline enjoys using colour in her work with a palette that echoes the plants, flotsam, sealife and materials found on the shoreline. 

 

Rebecca Blakeway

Rebecca graduated from the Birmingham School of Jewellery in 2015, and has since worked on numerous collections of jewellery using precious metals and enamel.  In her collection 'Surface Nebula', she delves into her imagination to draw her representation of space, exploring the intricacies of constellations, nebulae and the beyond.  Rebecca uses etching and vitreous enamelling to achieve a unique and detailed surface on each of her pieces in the collection.  Each piece is completely unique and handcrafted in her workshop in the heart of Worcestershire.

 

Rachel Brown

Rachel is a jewellery specialising in enamel and graphite drawn jewellery working from her studio at home in South Yorkshire.  She studied jewellery and silversmithing at Loughborough College of Art and Design graduating in 1993.  Initially Rachel went into teaching and kept jewellery making as a hobby but in 2014 she decided to make her passion for making her full time job.  Rachel fell in love with this lesser known enamelling technique when she was researching different ways to enamel.  Rachel has always loved sketching and doodling, pencil being her favourite medium and so this was the perfect way to explore her drawing.  Over the last few years she has developed a simple technique using white enamel which represents a sheet of white paper.  Although her work is minimal in colour white enamel can be overfired to produce subtle tones of yellows, blues and greens.  The addition of gold also brings a colourful element to her work.  Rachel is inspired by anything and everything and a lot of her work explores the repetitive patterns and shapes she sees in everyday life; from leaves on a tree to the brickwork in a building.

 

Annabet Wyndham

Annabet’s metal of choice has always been silver.  Using uncomplicated shapes and techniques of construction Annabet enjoys making small tactile pieces.  Texture, perforation and geometry play a large part the mixed metal jewellery that she makes.  Jewellery allows her to explore visual ideas, to sketch with metal whilst still keeping the ease of their use at the fore.  In 2003  Annabet  completed a residency in Australia, which gave her invaluable time to explore new ideas and techniques.  On her return she continued to use torch fired enamelling and wire construction, both techniques she started to experiment with on the trip.

 

Sheila McDonald

Sheila started enamelling when she was 13 and was immediately smitten by the whole process; there was a magical quality to enamel and it always surprised her.  Originally Sheila studied Silversmithing and Jewellery at the Glasgow School of Art followed by an MA at the Royal College of Art, London.  She has also worked with several experienced enamellers.  Sheila is curious to learn the huge variety of technical skills in the process of enamelling and with her eclectic range of jewellery pieces she is able to combine techniques such as engraving, etching, cloisonné, bassetaille, plique a jour and painting enamel.  Many of her pieces have fine gold and silver foil fired between the layers of enamel too.  Drawing and painting is a very important part of the design journey and she always starts working on a series of coloured sketches to develop ideas.

 

Claire Allain

Claire graduated from the Birmingham School of Jewellery with a B.A Hons in jewellery and silversmithing back in 1998.  Claire has been fortunate to live on both sides of the Planet and has travelled and seen many things.   Her love of the outdoors leads her to more rural places and her life in the UK has been mainly spent by the sea in Cornwall.  Claire’s other longest place of residence was New Zealand for ten years, where she saw and was part of the recovery of native gold.  Claire made a conscious choice to use recycled metals, Fairtrade and Eco metals, and to only obtain gemstones from reputable sources many years ago.  Claire enjoys the randomness of dusting and painting on metal with powdered glass and firing each piece individually, never knowing what is going to appear when you open the kiln door.  Making pieces which are little abstract pictures or sculptures which can be worn, Claire loves the textures and colours that appear and she has also been adding 24ct gold foil to the firings.  Claire also uses sheets of anodised aluminium which add another colour and surface to some of the pieces.  Claire loves the rawness of the metal, and the way that firings produce different textures and patterns on the enamel and she layers colours and materials to create her unique pieces.  Claire uses a variety of enamels and she experiments with adding layers on top of layers.  Claire also uses paint on enamels which are very fine enamel dust which has been suspended in water, she paints on small layers then scratches through firing, and she then sometimes adds more and re-fires the piece.  The addition of 24ct gold foil is usually done last; abit like the full stop at the end of a sentence.  Once she is happy with a general colour or set of layers she adds a flash of gold to finish it off.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Enamelling is the beautiful art of fusing powdered glass onto metal in a kiln at a temperature around 850-900 degrees.  During the firing process, the enamel powder melts and flows, and when the piece is taken out of the kiln, it hardens to a durable vitreous coating.  With this method it is possible to add lively, luscious colours and interesting textures to a piece.”  Judit Patkos

The ancient technique of enamelling is explored in this exhibition of contemporary jewellery highlighting a variety of enamelling techniques.  Jewellers are brought together to celebrate this exciting craft through their unique designs and skills honed throughout their jewellery making careers.

Emily Higham

Emily Higham

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown

Claire Allain

Claire Allain

Gallery overview

Gallery overview

Claire Allain

Claire Allain

Gallery overview

Gallery overview

Caroline Finlay

Caroline Finlay

Caroline Finlay

Caroline Finlay

Emily Higham

Emily Higham

Emily Higham

Emily Higham

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown

Rebecca Blakeway

Rebecca Blakeway

Rebecca Blakeway

Rebecca Blakeway

Sheila MacDonald

Sheila MacDonald

Sheila MacDonald

Sheila MacDonald

Ann Little

Ann Little

Ann Little

Ann Little

Cathy Newell-Price

Cathy Newell-Price

Cathy Newell-Price

Cathy Newell-Price

Annabet Wyndham

Annabet Wyndham

Annabet Wyndham

Annabet Wyndham

Judit Patkos

Judit Patkos

Judit Patkos

Judit Patkos

 

Every show we curate has a strong educational focus where we explain processes and techniques, highlight the very best makers working in the UK today and make contemporary craft accessible to all.  Our Enamel Jewellery Show is supported by information boards, leaflets you can take away for just 10p and even some of the equipment our jewellers might use in their studios to create their enamel jewellery. If you have any other questions on your next visit then our friendly team are always around to help so don't be shy, join the conversation! Here's what you can expect to see alongside our exciting enamel jewellery collections and become an expert in this fascinating jewellery making technique.

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Ann Little