Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Dip Draw Dry & Fire

A fun weekend at The Ranch resulted in these enamels from a class taught by Ken Bova.

A small raised bowl (actually not raised, but shell formed on a wood stump without stretching the metal much).  Two firings, black over white, in liquid enamels.  The first firing was overfired in a  kiln, then torched while still hot, to bring up the coppery greens as oxides invaded the white enamel.  We weren't at all certain the colors would survive the next firing, in black, but they actually intensified.  It's a funny feeling when your first effort turns out so well, because you know you didn't intend, predict, or do anything but just get out of the way and let it happen.  What an approach to art, yes?

I'm calling it "Licorice Allsorts."

Here's the back side.  I think the color array is amazing, considering this was only 2, well 2 and a half firings and two colors.  Ken is specializing in the effect, which he describes as painting with a torch.  Do visit the link I've provided and get a real visual treat -- Ken's work is very painterly and personal, you might say narrative driven, so that what you see goes far beyond the object, into the shared sensibilities of both artist and viewer.  That means you get to take part in what you see -- well you actually do all the time, but Ken understands this and opens his heart to it.

Evil Eye Charm with great graphic presence.

Deep sea monster fish begging to become a brooch.

It's really a large shift from working intuitively with found objects to the intention and technical involvement of enamels -- or is it?  I will probably keep these pieces for a good simmer on my mental back burner and then make something with them, so that they are rather like found objects later on.  The monster fish is really talking to me, though.

If you have an interest in enamels and dread the painstaking shop techniques of classical enamels (think champleve, basse taille, cloissone, etc.), torch firing is an easier entry point, and it offers exciting results.


  1. ah that’s why you are so good and have so many tricks up yer sleeve...classes and these and love the idea of doing P.

  2. Love the little bowl"Licorice Allsorts."
    Look forward to what else you do with the enamels. Beautiful.