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The weather is warming up, not so good for enameling, the kiln is going all day while the temperature outside is soaring! I’m lucky to have airconditioning in the studio, so I’m able  to keep going, which is just as well, I’m having fun and don’t want to stop!

My classes here on Queensland’s Gold Coast are small, my studio is in the back of my husband’s little factory, he’s a cabinet maker and is very supportive of my creative efforts, always has been:) My students are great, happy to play and try new things and share their findings with the group.

Enamel on Copper workshops on the Gold Coast

Over the winter months we have been enameling on copper and all my students got involved! Working on copper has a few advantages from working on silver:

  • It is quick! – Making between 5-10 pieces in a 3 hour night class is easily done! Instant gratification!
  • It is inexpensive – Copper is cheap and we are working with opaque enamels mainly, these are also cheaper to use than the Japanese transparents I usually work with.
  • It is colorful! – No doubt about it, opaque enamels make a statement! Bright and cheerful, or neutral and restrained, there is a color palette for every mood!
  • It is Fun! – Trying out colors and techniques is so much fun, learning how to combine colors, take a little risk sometimes, if it all goes pear-shaped it is not a big deal, you don’t have hours or even days invested in the piece, you just learn what didn’t work and play with what did!
  • It’s Addictive! – Who knew…. working with simple copper shapes, more often than not just quickly cut with the shears, enamel on and see what happens next…. and then again… oh and what happens if I add this…. Before you know it the hours have gone and it’s time to go home!

I’ve been very lucky with the students I’ve had in these classes, all willing to play and share their triumphs and disasters with each other, learning as we went along.

Stencils for enameling

Brand new techniques were used, things I’ve never even tried! Decals printed with special toner in a laser printer, very exciting! Some screen printing got started but needs more time for experimentation….. we tried using glass paints, enamel is glass on metal so it will take a lot of things you wouldn’t associate with enameling at first.

Now with summer fast approaching, and the heat and humidity that comes with it, I think the hot work will slow down for the classes, we’ve all made lots of stuff and it’s time to get them made into finished pieces and out of the UFO (UnFinished Objects) box!

Sterling silver chain with enamel elements by Jan Brown

Sterling silver chain with enamel elements
Jan Brown

Jan wearing her new chain!

Jan wearing her new chain!

I can’t wait to see how everyone is going to use their enameled bits & pieces! Check back regularly, I’ll post updates as more work gets finished!

Do you work with enamels? Or haven’t you been game to try yet? Please leave a comment below, I will try to respond quickly:)


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