A Checkered Past

Connie-EnamellingI know this is a juicy title and with today’s star-studded scandals you might be anticipating nothing less. However, anything I have done in my life may be momentarily entertaining but far from titillating.

On to the issue at hand. I am sharing with you how a jewelry technique has eluded me for years, and only recently took hold.

When I first started making jewelry I was captivated by color. Using beads with wire made this a natural focus of attention. I eventually gravitated to fabrication and for the most part color was left behind. Off and on I worked with enamel for long stretches, took classes, read books, and yet always found it difficult to express my own aesthetic in this media. I recall one of my 5-day trips to see my friend Debbie Brown in Ohio (we share jewelry ideas and play in her studio). Our intent was to devote the week to enameling. After an hour or so I grew exasperated, threw in the sifter, and returned to fabricating sterling silver.

Perusing Pinterest over the last year has made me keenly aware of how much I am drawn to color, and in particular, enamel. Additionally, my trip to Italy, especially visiting Alchemia, a contemporary jewelry design school in Florence, and Linda Darty’s study abroad program in Certaldo Alto, inspired me to press on. Donning my mask and grabbing the kiln fork, I set out to find my groove in this elusive journey. I set up a multi-prong approach:

1. Spend more time enameling.

2. Re-read the enameling “bible”, Linda Darty’s The Art of Enameling.

Meet Charity Hall, a great enamelist and teacher.

Meet Charity Hall, a great enamelist and teacher.

3. Study with Charity Hall.

4. Study with Elise Preiss.

5. Examine what is currently being done.

6. Take an advanced enameling course.

And finally I started making progress. Two of the classes I am offering during this session are a result of my efforts. This whole venture reminds me of learning to drive Dottie’s 1945 Chevy with a standard transmission. What a knee-slapping, hilarious, jerking experience! And just when my neck was protesting the loudest, I had a dream. And in the dream I jumped into that old car and all parts were in sync, including mine. And so it was the next day. While no sleep state lead me to improving my enameling work, the dream of getting better certainly did……


All images and text are ©Copyright 2010-2013 Connie Fox except where indicated. All rights reserved.

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  1. Connie Fox

     /  January 17, 2013

    Linda, I am up to my ears right now doing class registration. If you go to my website, look up classes in the Education section. You will see some examples in Pattern and Color. I also used enamel as a foundation for the Anodized Aluminum sample.

  2. linda

     /  January 16, 2013

    We would love to see some pics of your efforts, please share. You are such an inspiration.

  3. Connie Fox

     /  January 15, 2013

    Janice, thank you for your comment. I do look forward to the journey!

  4. Connie Fox

     /  January 15, 2013

    Jeanie, where is the conference? Hope all is well with you!

  5. I like your look! I too have become enamored with enamels and the colors coming from the textile arts world. I look forward to seeing what comes of your journey. I spend a lot of time playing with my kiln at home and hope to go to the Enamelist Society Conference next July to broaden my horizons.

  6. I look forward to watching what you do with it Connie. It seems like so many people are enameling these days and while it’s great that it is becoming so accessible, I see a lot of really poor technique and bad instruction going around. I know you will teach it well!

  7. Connie Fox

     /  January 15, 2013

    Truth be told that I often look scarier than this picture. Add magnigiers flipped up overhead and an apron with pickle holes, then the outfit is complete. Thanks Jonna for your lovely comment.

  8. Love the disguise, Connie! Looks like you’re ready to take on all invaders. I love what you’ve been doing with enamel — just gorgeous work!!! — and am inspired by your tenacity in pursuing your quest for color. Thanks for sharing your journey and helping us follow our own paths.

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