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Sunday, October 30, 2011

VisArts Enameling Workshop

Last weekend I taught a Basic Enameling workshop at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond.  It was my first workshop there, and I had a great time.  The facility is very nice, fully equipped studio, friendly people, organized administration, fabulous students! 

Mark and I moved to Richmond this past January, and knew basically nothing about the city.  Someone suggested that I look into the Visual Arts Center as a place to work and to meet some interesting people.  I made an appointment last Spring and pitched my proposals for classes and workshops for the Fall session, and came to find out that VisArts was fully equipped for enameling, with four kilns and lots of old enamels, but they had had no one to teach it in years.  Lucky for me!  I proposed two enameling workshops and an etching and enameling class.  I was able to make my Basic Enameling workshop run with only three people, but I don't think my next workshop, Alternative Techniques in Enameling (Nov. 12-13) is going to make this session.  Oh well.  I already have five people signed up for my evening class, Galvanic Etching and Champleve Enameling, starting in a couple weeks (Tuesday evenings, Nov. 15 - Dec. 20, 6-9pm).  So that will be a lot of fun. 

Anyway, back to the Basic Enameling workshop.  Prior to the workshop, I went into the VisArts studio and made colors samples of all the enamels they had to offer.

I made handouts including some basic info and facts about enamels, descriptions and how-to's with the techniques we were covering, and some tips and tricks that just make things a little easier as you're going.  I made samples of all the different techniques we'd be trying, which were surprisingly a lot, given that this was a basic enameling workshop.  And honestly, it was a lot of fun to revisit those techniques that I don't often use.  In my first enameling class, we were presented with a whole lot of basic techniques like this, and then were asked to take this knowledge and make a piece of jewelry.  Well, that's all well and good, but there were so many different things that I wanted to try, I ended up trying to use several on one piece and it came out looking rather muddled.  I remember wishing we had been given some extra time just for making samples of each technique to try them all out and see what we liked before jumping into a piece of jewelry. 

So that's what I asked my students to do.  The first day, I did demos of several basic limoges techniques, and then the students did their own samples.  After lunch, I showed them a few basse-taille techniques, and they were free to make some samples of basse-taille or anything else they wanted to explore.

Since we only had three hours to work on Sunday, their homework assignment that night was to come up with a piece that they wanted to make based on the techniques we had covered.

Greg made a beautiful landscape tile:

Gwen made a gorgeous leaf-shaped pendant:

I thought everyone did a wonderful job, and we all had a lot of fun!  I hope to see them again in future workshops and classes.  Can't wait for my next class. 

Thanks VisArts and students!

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