Another good article by Barry Leighton for the Swindon Advertiser. I feel like a celebrity! Here is the online version. Well, there are no more exhibitions planned for a while, the next thing for me is to pass selection for the Guild of Enamellers Associate Craftsman in 2014.
This photo of my enamel box is taken at the School of Jewellery, Birmingham UK, where it's on display in the Heart of the Heat Exhibition. I was there last Friday with my wife and son. We made quite a day of it, going to the Christmas markets in the centre of Birmingham, then going to see my sister and her partner for dinner before driving to Buxton to see my Mum, Dad and little sister.
I'm fully booked for Christmas 2013! I can't complain really, but it's not so good for my customers who'd like to find a special gift. It doesn't take much to get me fully booked so I always recommend placing your order well in advance. It takes 3 weeks to create an enamel box from start to finish, so placing the commission by July wouldn't be unreasonable. As always, please email me for availability and to discuss your requirements.
Here's my page in the Heart of the Heat catalogue, I hope you can read the description.
I appeared in Monday's edition of our local paper, the Swindon Advertiser. The journalist referred to me as the Fabergé of Freshbrook (the region of Swindon where I live) to which I was over the moon. The article was stimulated by my getting all five entry pieces into the Royal Society of Miniature Painters Sculptors and Gravers annual exhibition. The journalist's name was Barry Leighton and he went out of his way to understand the enamelling process so he could write about it accurately. Here's a link to the online version
Last Wednesday I visited the Mall Galleries where my enamel boxes are on display in the Royal Society of Miniature Painters, Sculptors and Gravers Exhibition. I met up with my friend Valerie who visits the galleries around London far more frequently than me. Valerie was also a good friend of the late Anthony Phillips and I was glad for her support for this, my first, exhibition.
All five of my entries for the Royal Society's exhibition have been accepted. This is really the best that I could have hoped for.
At first I thought that none of my pieces had been selected. Later I found all five codes listed on the Society's website under the Sculpture heading! I guess because these are enamel boxes they need to be exhibited in a similar way to sculpture.
Here's the five enamels with their titles:
Baby Orla (62mm x 82mm)
I use on-glaze enamel paints and mix them with oil and turps substitute to get the right consistency. The turps thins the paint down and the oil acts as a binder. I'm currently using lavendar oil, although I'm finding this a bit thin for some purposes, like stippling.
The important thing is to minimize the number of firings. To do this I aim to cover the whole piece with paint for each firing, resisting the tempation to focus on just one area. Each firing typically takes about a minute at 800oC. In this case the enamel lid was quite thin so it only needed 50 seconds.
I recently painted a portrait of Louis Armstrong onto an enamel box lid. I took photos after each firing stage.
Here's after the first firing