Isabelle Schwarzer and Daniel Gunther

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Where did you learn to enamel?

Daniel: I had completed my high school diploma 2001 at the Walter Gropius compartment-Highschool for formation (design) in Erfurt. The education is modeled after the former Bauhaus school in Weimar, comprised of theoretical as well as practical lessons. The theory deals with color, form, art, composition etc. One can choose the practical courses partially freely, as for example ceramics, textile or also metal. In this metalcourse under the direction of Johannes Kaiser, I have completed a three week enamel-practical course. He gave us a first introduction into the industrial-enamel-technique. Some young artists, who meet in irregularly distances in the artist-workstation in Erfurt to enamel together, have crystallized from these metal-courses. After my Highschool diploma, I have begun a design-study at the University of Applied Sciences Magdeburg.

isabelle schwarzer

Isabelle: In the summer 2004, I got a message from Daniel on my mobile phone. He invited me to take part in an "Email"-Workshop. I was at first astonished and thought it was about sending electronic mail-news (e-mail); strange. I consulted a dictionary and found out that it must be about a handicraft, and on this occasion I enameled my first three days.

I noticed during studies for my high school diploma, that I would rather like to practice a creative job and completed a three-year education as a graphic-designer. Parallel to my education, I always was interested in art and culture, went in museums and visited the theaters. In my leisure time, I worked among with oil, acrylic and mixed techniques on canvas.

Why do you enjoy working in enamel?

Daniel + Isabelle: It is especially exciting for us as young artists to be able to use an old and traditional handicraft as a media for our imagery. From the beginning, we were filled with enthusiasm from the high-quality- ness, brilliancy of the colors and the facet-wealth of the enamel.

Win-Defeat, by Isabelle Schwarzer

In contrast to other media, like for example the canvas, each work-step receives a completing burn that cannot be taken back. The last burn gives one the feeling of sealing the created work. Another protruding attribute of the enamel is surely also, being able to expose it to weather-circumstances, without damage.

Be 1, by Isabelle Schwarzer

At the moment we favour the industrial-enamel, on the basis of the possibility to be able to process with plainly detached forms and lines. On the side, we devote time also to some other techniques; maybe to combine these with the industrial-enamel.

How do you develop your pieces?

Isabelle: I work mostly conceptually; that means on the basis of already worked-out sketches, then I move first with enamel. Only rarely do I work completely freely and from feeling.

Act 3, by Daniel Günther

Daniel: Mostly I work with sketches, however these pretend only one direction, and no final result. Spontaneously, while the work progresses, I can adjudicate new.

Act 1, by Daniel Günther.

Where do you work? Describe your studio space.

Daniel + Isabelle: To be able to work large-size, we rent for maximum two weeks per year the artist-workstation in Erfurt. On the basis of the high expenditure and the restricted time, we prepare our ideas early enough before we move there. We have been given a small oven received in the last year, but we cannot use it, unfortunately because of our small apartment. We are always on the search for advantageous and quicker alternatives, to work more spontaneously.

Little Red Riding Hood, by Daniel Günther.

What is the inspiration behind your works?

Daniel: Mainly, I devote in my works with own feeling-worlds and emotions, that I try, in my concrete picture-language to make visual.

Perspective, by Daniel Günther

Isabelle: My own life gives me enough stimulation with many different topics to work from. Still, my own experiences stand in the foreground of my works. At the moment, I see myself not yet ready to tackle other social and political topics, as other artists do as a task or responsibility.

Are you influenced, by other artists?

Daniel: Probably I was shaped and inspired most at the Walter Gropius school. At this school, the "spirit" of the Bauhaus was brought near to us. A peak at that time was a one-week course of the color-teaching of Itten with Ati Gropius Johansen. Because of this time, I have also chosen instead of an artistry - a design-study. Still fascinates from the clarity of a simple form-language and the art the away leaves, I was filled with enthusiasm from design-sketches and design-drawing. That I work very concretely and figurative in my works, lies at the flood of media our generation grew up with.

Isabelle: I don't really believe I have been influenced by other artists, but the industrial-enamel surely already pretends a direction. Apart from that, the present-day media has shaped our generation strongly.

How do you sell your work?

Daniel + Isabelle: We try to sell our pictures over galleries and exhibitions, unfortunately it is very difficult to find suitable showing- possibilities in Germany for young artists working in the area of enamel. The problem lies to the one in it, that this handicraft is not very well known, and people are not knowledgeable. To the other, that only artists are often acknowledged with completed studies. However a study in fine enamelling is not at all offered in Germany and an entry was impeded consequently. Therefore, we try sometimes by ourselves to organize exhibitions. We have determined that in foreign countries the activities in the enamel are held more often, so we have applied to exhibitions this year in other countries for the first time.

Flowers, by Isabelle Schwarzer.

Do you belong to any enameling guilds or other art organizations?

Daniel + Isabelle: We have joined the artguild of Coburg to be informed regularly about the enamel-events and doings. Each attempts, to organize the few young artists, to come together to go ahead, or simply only to exchange themselves has failed.

Do you have any formal training in enameling?

Daniel + Isabelle: On the basis of the lacking education-possibility, to learn this wonderful handicraft in Germany, we investigate momentarily over foreign universities, that offer this genre as study. Our biggest wish would be it to receive the chance maybe in America, to be able to study at an university with help of a full scholarship. Over tips or suggestions, we would be very grateful. About to the one, insight into other technologies and to get a more profound knowledge over the chemistry of the enamel. To the other, this would be also a necessary step for us, to filter out the most interesting techniques for us to be able to put these into our works aimed as expression-methods. It isn't enough just to understand only a small part of the enamel to make accessible this craft for a wider public in Germany again as well as, to keep it alive.

Can you share an anecdote about your enameling experiences?

A small anecdote over penniless artists. Not rarely it occurs that we have acquaintances with the police. To get cost-saving enamel-plates, we go in the middle of the night into houses ready for demolition. With torch and tools equipped, we dismantle old ovens there. The sides of these ovens offer a perfect base for enamels.

In our opinion, we save important enamel-good from the scrap; nevertheless the police point out that it is illegal to be in such houses. After a short explanation of our need and introduction to enamel, they let us leave with a wink.

Daniel + Isabelle: We do not have our own website, but we are quite well reached via e-mail at

[Volume 25, Number 5, December, 2006]
In association with
glass on metal
Glass on Metal is the only publication dedicated to enameling and related arts. Technical information, book reviews, how-to articles and insight on contemporary enamelers highlight each issue.

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