Enamel brooch by Keith Lewis

Enameling Oddities

This workshop will feature a number of somewhat unusual enameling techniques that are straightforward and simple to use, but which significantly expand the expressive potential of enameling and which are easily adaptable to many purposes.


We will begin with a brief overview of basic conventional Limoges (painted) enamel techniques including drawing directly onto enamel, the use of watercolor enamels, the preparation of enamel paints from raw oxides, and the use of lusters, etc. After that we will explore the following:


  1. The firing of graphite drawings into enamel- which offers the possibility of producing highly detailed and delicate images. Demos will include prepping the enamel for receiving the pencil marks, the use of blending, shading and graphite washes, the building-up of layers and over-glazing and the combination with Limoges techniques- especially watercolor washes. While it is possible to fire the drawings in a kiln, I will focus on a straightforward method of torch-firing that maximizes the clarity of the images.


  1. The second technique (pioneered by jeweler Joan Parcher), will utilize reflective glass beads (used on airport runways) to create unexpected optical effects. Demos will include the use of various sized beads, compatible enamel undercoats and the complex optical interactions that can be created.


  1. The third technique- virtually unknown in contemporary enamel circles and only described in one 1911 book- utilizes synthetic aventurine (goldstone) to produce enamels which sparkle due to the inclusion of copper or cobalt crystals into the enamel matrix.


  1. The final technique will be the application- on enamel- of extremely delicate sgrafitto drawings in gold leaf- a technique derived from late Roman glass portrait rondels and adapted for use on vitreous enamels. Demos will focus on the crucial aspects of surface preparation and precise firing conditions that are necessary to achieve the effect.

Some materials included.