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Enamel & Corinthium Aes. Exploring historical alloys and ancient techniques with Nora Kovats

Lectures  /  Making   History   Technics  /  24 Jul 2021  -  25 Jul 2021
Published: 21.07.2021
Studio Nora Kovats
The studio’s front façade. Photograph by Verónica Sanchez Tortosa..
The studio’s front façade. Photograph by Verónica Sanchez Tortosa.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.

Intro
In a two-part live presentation in her new studio in Bamberg, Nora Kovats and her partner, Alvaro-Luca Ellwart, will take visitors on an imaginary explorative journey. They will trace stories surrounding both the almost forgotten precious metal alloy corinthium aes and the technique of enamelling from ancient beginnings through medieval history all the way to contemporary Bamberg.
Nora’s presentation will begin with the earliest origins of Egyptian and Byzantine enamel. Pigments were extremely difficult and expensive to obtain, and some colours, like vivid reds and blues, were considered incredibly valuable. Enamellists were most definitely indebted to medieval alchemists, in whose laboratories many synthetic pigments originated. Nora will explore just how difficult the enameling process must have been before the invention of electricity, highlighting the astounding craftsmanship of ancient enamellists.
 
A live demonstration of the modern process – which is a key technique in Nora’s jewellery making practice – will follow. Although, of course, enameling has become considerably easier today, there remains a shimmering aura of mystery, secret recipes and alchemical treatises still clinging to this ancient technique, animating it in our imaginations.
 
Alvaro’s historical presentation will examine an ancient precious metal alloy, corinthium aes or Corinthian bronze, and explore the legends associated with its origins in the Greek city of Corinth. He will investigate the alloy’s unique properties, such as its scintillating purplish-green lustre on a dark surface, and suggest its use in contemporary metalsmithing in a live demonstration.
 
Verónica Sanchez Tortosa from the Escuela de Arte de Murcia in Spain, currently finishing her internship with Nora Kovats, will also display her own explorations into various materials and techniques, with a focus on enamel, patination and layering found materials. Her experiments show a common theme of searching for oxidation effects.
 
This summer event is born from the desire to get the public more involved and interested in the intricacies of the jewellery making process. NONNE 11, the couple’s new creative space, is dedicated to finding a spirit of connectivity, creating a dialogue between differences and merging disciplines. Nora and Alvaro search for stories that charge their work with meaning, acting as connective tissue between past and present, traditional and contemporary, between the outside world and the self. This space, they hope, will be one that allows them to stay curious, keep exploring, to blur the boundaries between different modes of making. A space where they can live out their contribution to the world, where they can hand-craft unique pieces that tell stories and inspire. A space to practice emotional articulation through art, both to improve their own being in the world and to touch the lives of others.

Presentation Program
Saturday 24 July 2021:
12:00 Alvaro-Luca Ellwart | Corinthium Aes: A Forgotten Alloy’s Lustre
17:00 Nora Kovats | Enamel: The Language of Molten Glass
 
Sunday 25 July 2021:
12:00 Nora Kovats | Enamel: The Language of Molten Glass
17:00 Alvaro-Luca Ellwart | Corinthium Aes: A Forgotten Alloy’s Lustre

Free entry. Please get in touch if you would like to attend.
 
Contact details:
Nora Kovats: info@norakovats.com
Alvaro-Luca Ellwart: alvaro-luca@ellwart-design.de
 
Nora Kovats enamelling a bright green, floral pendant. Photograph by Roberto Ferraz..
Nora Kovats enamelling a bright green, floral pendant. Photograph by Roberto Ferraz.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
The kiln can reach temperatures up to 950°C, although most enamel are fired at temperatures between 730°C and 850°C. Photograph by Nora Kovats..
The kiln can reach temperatures up to 950°C, although most enamel are fired at temperatures between 730°C and 850°C. Photograph by Nora Kovats.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
A selection of splintered and powdered enamels. The glass fragments are first broken into smaller pieces and then ground into a fine powder. Photograph by Nora Kovats..
A selection of splintered and powdered enamels. The glass fragments are first broken into smaller pieces and then ground into a fine powder. Photograph by Nora Kovats.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
Individual enamelled pieces for a spring-coloured neckpiece. Photograph by Nora Kovats..
Individual enamelled pieces for a spring-coloured neckpiece. Photograph by Nora Kovats.

© By the author. Read Klimt02.net Copyright.
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