The Art of Fine Enamelling

Book  /  Technics
Published: 14.03.2008
The Art of Fine Enamelling.
Karen L. Cohen
Edited by:
Sterling Publ. Co
Edited at:
New York
Technical data:
160 pages, hardback, 423 color plates and 13 demonstrative sketches, text in English, 27 x 22 cm
from $ 82,50

The Art of Fine Enameling is not just for practicing enamelists, it is for the collector and art lover, too, as the book includes so many beautiful photos and easy to read descriptions of the major enamleing techniques. As a how-to book, it is for both the beginner and the more skilled enamelist and works well as a text book because of it's easy to read desciptions and it's comprehensive troubleshooting section.
Twenty artists have contributed a wealth of knowledge on their own unique variations of enameling techniques. The projects are: Basse Taille created by etching with natural elements by Ingrid Regula; Champlevé by Katharine Wood; a Cloisonné Brooch created directly in the setting by Karen L. Cohen; Decals and applications of other embellishments by June Jasen; Fusion Inlay Under Enamel by Charles Lewton-Brain; Ginbari Foil Embossing by Coral Shaffer; Grisaille by D.X. Ross; an amazing 8 page mosaic Limoges project by Ora Kuller; Liquid Enamel and Glass Ball Additives by Judy Stone; Minimal Firing (2-3 firings) Enameling by Averill Shepps; Mounting large enamel installations by Marian Slepian; Plique-`a-jour Pierced-heart Pendant by Diane Almeyda; Raku-fired Bowl by Jean Tudor; Separation Enameling by Tom Ellis; Sgraffito Plate and Stenciled Tile by Sally Wright; Silk Screen for Enameling by Ute Conrad; Stone Setting Within an Enamel by Dee Fontans; Torch-altered Metal with Cheesecloth Stencil by Roxane Riva; Torch-fired Beads by Aileen Geddes; and Vessel Forms - how to successfully enamel vertical surfaces - by Sarah Perkins. Additionally, there are Photo Galleries scattered throughout the book representing another 51 of the finest enamelists, with a total of 71 represented in the book.
Each chapter is laid out beautifully and clearly: Tools, Materials, a short overview, Metalwork, Enameling, and Finishing, each in numbered steps. A highlighted box prior to the overview lists Techniques to Know with page references to instructions covered at the schuster-nicole-schuster-nicole-beginning-2016-2016 of the book. Another lists colors needed to replicate the project as illustrated. "Notes" throughout include helpful hints such as how to avoid problems with a specific instruction, or special touches the author might add at this point. "Tips" include where to find specific tools or supplies. The 3" margin is filled with clear step-by step photos.
The book opens with a brief history and then a complete glossary of terms, techniques and tools used in the book. I thought it brilliant to place these terms first as an integral part of the book instead of an afterthought at the back. The Enamelists' Tool Kit was not just a complete list of everything you could need, but warnings and instructions on how to maintain a safe studio - also important information before jumping headfirst into a project.
The section on Enameling Application covered every possibility, including tools, with referrals to project pages, and firing, including supports, heat sources and their care. Studio Basics, Tips and Tricks included where to scavenge tools, when to high fire, and excellent photos of the four stages of firing. Cohen clarifies the 6 grades of sifting and when to use each with a fine chart. Her helpful hints throughout, such as capturing silt with coffee filters when washing enamels, are wonderful and highlighted so they are easy to spot. She continues with sections on test firing and color analysis, computer-aided designs, metal patterning, soldering/fusing, metal preparation, wirework, basic enamel applications, foil application, finishing , metal finishing, and mounting. Then she added a miscellaneous section, in case she forgot anything. There are 31 tips in these sections alone. Written by Cohen, this information is referred to in every chapter in the highlighted "Techniques to Know" boxes. The final chapter confronts 14 common enameling problems with 56 possible causes and solutions.
This book is overwhelmingly well- organized and leaves out nothing. The artists represented are amongst the best and so are their projects, which can be created in any studio.

About the author

Karen L. Cohen is a designer specializing in one-of-a-kind cloisonne on fine metal (gold and silver) jewellery, boxes, wall pieces and sculpture. She is a member of The Enamelist Society and lives in Pennsylvania.