Engraving for Enameling

mdengraver

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Engraving for Enameling
Enamel and champlevé


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ENGRAVING FOR ENAMELLING AND CHAMPLEVÉ
Engraving for enamel is a highly skilled and distinct aspect of hand engraving. It enables artists to fuse coloured enamels (essentially powdered glass) to precious metal objects. Champlevé and basse-taille are the two principal enamelling techniques that require the surface of the metal to be hand engraved before the enamel is applied. The ground glass is applied wet using a goose feather quill and can be either transparent or opaque, with each creating a very different effect.
In champlevé troughs or cells are engraved leaving thin borders of metal to contain individual enamel colours. When fired the metal portions remain visible and serve to create the framework of the design. The firing of the whole piece is highly skilled as different enamels fire at different temperatures. The often complex engraving and carving seen through the coloured enamel can be a tour de force of the engraver’s art.
Basse-taille enamelling is similar to champlevé with the artist engraving a pattern in low relief over which the enamel is applied. By varying the depth of the engraving in different areas the engraver can create a brilliant interplay of patterns which add depth and variety to the surface of the piece.
We are very fortunate that we have such an extraordinary group of practising artist enamellers working in the UK today. Click the images below to see the work of some of our members who also practice enamelling.

Fred Rich


Ruth Ball


Phil Barnes


Jane Short


(image coming soon)

© The Hand Engravers Association of Great Britain
  • Reg. Charitable Incorporated Organisation no. 1175879
 
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Wow... I've done enameling for class rings and several customs, and I know how tricky it can be. This is some great combination of skill and science to produce a very high quality product. I absolutely love this field I get to work in. There is always more to learn and more to see. Always new branches of the fine arts to explore and combine with your core trade. Thanks for posting!
 
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#4
That Frog looks great!

Do you need to use counter emaille for that kind of work?

Is there any book or tutorial for this technique?
 

mdengraver

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Yes unless you go with thick gauge metal to compensate for the different expansion and contraction rates of the enamel and the metal, otherwise the metal may warp and the enamel may pop off! Sometimes depending on what you are trying to do the warpage in the metal may be a good thing but counterenamel is still essential to success!
 

mdengraver

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Some warpage will often take place even with counterenamel on the back of the piece. There are many variables at work. When it is still molten fresh out of the kiln an old heavy iron may be placed and pushed on the piece to flatten out any warpage that takes place!
 

mdengraver

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Certain areas may heat up more in the kiln than others which requires rotating the piece to compensate. Also the temp may vary in different parts of the kiln. These and other variables need to be considered!
 

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