This past summer, I received notification that several pieces of my work had been accepted into the San Diego Enamel Guild 2004 Exhibition – Playing With Fire. An opportunity arose allowing me to travel to attend the opening, and since my works would be on display, the SDEG had honored me by selecting one of my pieces to use on their promotional postcard, and the fact that I had never been to California before, I jumped at the chance to go.

san diego enamel
New Life, by Karen Jablonski

My mom, sister, and I flew out to San Diego for a long weekend to take in some sites, visit with family and friends, and attend the exhibition opening on Sunday evening. The show was being held in Gallery 21 in Spanish Village Art Center. This is located within the beautiful grounds of Balboa Park, adjacent to the Natural History and Art Museums; what great exposure.

Untitled #2, by Edith Kahn

The exhibition opening was well attended by the guild members, notable enamelers, and enamel enthusiasts. Within minutes of arriving, people were walking up, introducing themselves, and discussing the art on display. I was struck by how friendly everyone was, and I even learned a few ‘trade secrets’. The main focus of the night, however, was the enameled art.

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A Labor of Love, by Elizabeth Fischer

Juror Elizabeth Turrell of Great Britain chose an exciting variety of works to be featured, including examples of traditional styles/techniques and unique, ingenious uses of vitreous enamel. One piece that particularly stands out in my mind was a submission by Tree Hill, entitled ‘A Grouping of Beach Pebbles’.

A Grouping of Beach Pebbles, by Tree Hill

The time came for the awards presentation when the President of SDEG, Karim Carlock, offered his thanks for all of the hard work that went into the organizing and installation of the exhibition. There was a special thanks to juror Elizabeth Turrell for her fine selection of works chosen. He then proceeded to award prizes to those selected by the juror, guild, and opening attendees. The award winners are as follows: Best in Show was awarded to Diane Reilly, for her submission, Holy Square Brooch. Best Use of Color Award was presented to Jean Vormelker for Spring. Glass on Metal Award, given to Diane Montag for her work Who Can Count The Rain. Edith Kahn received the Japan Shippo Award for her work, Untitled #2, and. the Carolyn Raps Memorial Award was presented to Jaime Frechette. The People’s Choice Award, chosen by attendees of the opening night exhibition, was given to both Tree Hill and Elizabeth Fischer. Another award chosen by the attendees, the Enamelist Society Award, was presented to Jaime Frechette and Karen Jablonski.

Holy Square Brooch by Diane Reilly

After the show, we walked over to Studio 5, the studio/gallery operated by SDEG, and were given a tour of the workspace. It was exciting to see their facilities and the numerous works in progress by its members. I felt honored, having just been presented her memorial award, to view the display honoring Carolyn Raps, an enameler and guild member who had recently passed away.

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Who Could Stop the Rain, by Diane Montag

AII in all, it was an insightful and memorable trip. I look forward to seeing everyone again at future enameling conferences and exhibitions.

Splatter Vessel, by Jaime Frechette