I started in enameling 40 years ago by accident.
I had been a commercial artist for 20 years at that time (commercial meaning being paid for my art – any art!). Whether it was jewelry design. shoe or fashion illustration, portraits in oil, water color or pastel, architectural renderings or renderings for interior decorators, also portraits in clay and drawings for people who wanted patents (in scale and exploded).
For about 15 years, I was a single mother with eight children to support and had to do so with my art. Then I met and married Rabbi Solomon Kaplan.
And thereby hangs the tale: Rabbi Kaplan was the director of the Henry S. Jacobs Camp, and he assigned me the job as art director for the summer saying that I could teach enameling. I asked “what is enameling?”
After we had ordered the supplies from Thompson & Thompson (including the little hot plates), I found a small paperback instruction book. I would read and experiment at night and teach several classes the next day to children ages 8 to 15. I was hooked!!
Thompson & Thompson had all those lovely little cut out copper pieces and the children loved them. I did too! But, I wanted to join them together in order to make something else. However, you just do not solder enameled pieces together with lead solder, I found. So, I went to welding school to learn Oxyacetylene welding. After much experimenting (and I can tell you hundreds of things that don’t work), I found how to incorporate 3 dimensional enamel copper with melted welding rod and stained glass and I stained the glass.
Eventually, I began to get commissions from religious organizations and private collections. My work is in New York, Colorado, California, Wyoming, Texas, Tennessee, New Mexico, Massachusetts, Vermont, Indiana and in England, Israel, and Zimbabwe.
Now that I am almost 83 and can’t work with the large pieces, I have discovered PMC!! It is just as exciting and it’s enameling!! I have found that enameling is the way to sculpt in metal and then paint in stained glass!!