Thursday, August 14, 2008

Enameled Kiddush Cup

''For thousands of years the haunting beauty of the enamelists' art has attracted the admiration of kings and bishops, jewelry lovers, architects, and museum goers. Enamels can be as tiny as a single bead or as immense as a wall-length mural. The earliest known existing enamel is a ring from the 13th century BCE. Here in the United States, a renaissance of enameling began some 60 years ago. Many have attributed that surge in the appreciation of this art form to the acquisition of the 11th Century Guelph Treasures by the Cleveland Museum of Art in 1931. Since that point in history, enamelists have explored historical techniques and developed their own."
''I fabricate a rigid metal form, then alter the basic metal surface to add depth, texture, and definition to the smooth and fluid nature of glass enamel. Modern metalsmithing techniques are combined with the ancient art of cloisonné and basse-taille enamel. This involves a process by which high quality glass is melted and fused to a silver or gold surface. The design is created by separating the enamel glass colors into cells outlined by fine wires. More intricate pieces may be fired as many as 60 times."
''Do you realize that when 'fine artists' paint with acrylic or oil pigments all they must do is mix the color and then apply it to the canvas surface? The paint stays exactly where the artist places it. It remains the same color-- at least for the first three or four hundred years of existence. The paint does not reject being placed next to pigment of a different brand. It does not chip off its surface and fly across the table at you while making obscene cracking noises.... (so) why in the world do we enamel rather than paint or (heaven forbid) use epoxy resins? Putting aside any masochistic tendencies, perhaps it is because no other media can provide the constant adversarial and conspiratorial challenges. Or, perhaps it is because no other media can glow with the luminosity and depth of captured fire which is enamel's alone."
- From the late Marilyn Druin, 1941-2001

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