Vitreous Enamel Sculptures
What is Vitreous Enamel?
Vitreous Enamel is a transparent or opaque glass that is fused to a metal. The process of enameling involves applying finely ground glass in thin layers to a metal, which is then fired in a high temperature furnace, causing the glass to melt and fuse to the metal surface. Enameling is a centuries old craft that is known to date back to the Fifth Century B.C. It appears in the arts and crafts of numerous cultures throughout the world.
Creating Glass Enamel Sculptures and Jewelry
Our enameled sculptures make use of the brilliant colors and transparent qualities of vitreous enamel. First, the design is developed and drawn, then each part is cut from a sheet of copper or silver, annealed, textured and shaped over various stakes and forms. After we are sure the parts fit together properly, they are soldered and cleaned. The enamel is then applied by hand in layers. Each application requires a firing in a furnace at temperatures ranging from 1425 to 1575 degrees F. This fuses the enamels to the metal surface and begins the interplay between the different enamels as they melt together. To achieve the desired color and transparency for each design, several layers and firings are necessary.
When the enameled pieces are completed, they either stand alone or are attached as decorative elements on a sculpture or piece of jewelry. After final assembly, metal surfaces are often antiqued or patinated and when appropriate, given a protective finish.
Jewelry and small sculptures may be constructed of fine silver, sterling silver as well as copper, bronze and brass. Larger sculptures may also incorporate steel and aluminum.