Enamel Applications and Preparation

For more than two thousand years, goldsmiths have fused glass onto their work for color enrichment. Wonderful enameled work can be found from many ancient cultures, providing familiar icons of the technical skill and aesthetic sensibilities of their makers.

In our own century enamel has benefited from scientific and industrial research and because of this it has grown from being just one element of the goldsmith’s art to a position of prominence on its own. One need only think of enameled housewares, architectural trim and utilitarian objects to understand the importance of enamel in our society.

For a complete description to enamel the reader is referred to books specifically on that topic such as Kunsthandwerkliches Emaillieren by Erhard Brepohl, third edition, VEB Fachbuchverlag, Leipzig, 1983. But even those who do not intend to incorporate enamels in their work as a primary element should have an understanding of the historical importance of enamel and a general idea of the process. It is for those people that the following pages are included here.

enamel is a simple process that uses very little specialized equipment. The electric kiln in which the metal is brought up to temperature is the single most expensive piece of equipment, and even this has the advantage of lending itself to several other uses in the studio. Of far more importance and requiring greater skill is the preparation of a piece preliminary to enamel. Without intelligent design and proper goldsmithing work, enameled pieces are simply colored bits of metal.

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