Teaching Enameling at the International Enamel Studio

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HomeLearning CenterJewelry MakingEnamelingCloisonne EnamelTeaching Enameling at the International Enamel Studio

One of the main tasks of the International Enamel Studio is to save our 1000 year-old enamel art and techniques and the other one is to help young talented people. Laszlo Gyegyadesz, director organizes courses for talented young people. Endre Turi, the excellent enamellist and I got the greatly honored task to teach enameling for them. That is how we met some students who study painting at the University of Pecs.

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Twice a year they make enamels for a week in our studio. First time I met the students, 7-8 people in May 2007. They were juniors at that time. Endre Turi teaches the technique of cloisonne and enamel painting to them and I teach them the miniature enamel painting. Because of the lack of a financially supportive scholarship or sponsorship the number of students change from time to time, which is very sad.

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I deal with three students,Zita Bajor, Mihaly Gyergyadesz, Zsuzsa Nemes, who always take part in the courses. They are our most gifted students and it has been a great pleasure to work with them again for the fourth time on the first week of September. They practiced the different techniques of miniature enamel painting and they also spent a couple of days at the International Workshop in summer. The miniatures made by them were displayed at the closing exhibition and you can see some of them in this issue as well.

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Being a practicing enamellist and not an artist teacher after a long meditation I decided to start teaching in reverse order. These students draw and paint in an excellent way and they expected fast improvement in enameling therefore I did not want to bore them with boring technical explanations and exercises. Because I wanted them to be successful for the first time, we started to work on small plates coated with white enamel for industrial processing.

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The excellent Thompson enamels helped us in this work. The students got to know the dry powders of 900E series and they studied how to mix the colors with oil, the reasonable usage of colors and they tried the Water Color Enamels and the Acrylic Enamels. They learned the firing time, the firing temperature and how to apply the coats without any failure. Last time in September we came to the applying of the ground coat of copper embossing. They applied the white opaque color to the copper again and again then polished it by hand as the old masters did. The students themselves asked for making their new miniatures on a high-quality ground coat like this.

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This is how we got to the first lesson, applying the ground coat perfectly in reverse order. With this reverse working method the students succeeded in their first works and they did not have to go through boring, tiring exercises and technical failures. This was an exciting journey for them full of happiness and they got to love this old technique more and more. Although they do want to enamel professionally in the future, they still have to learn a lot and we are waiting for them with new exercises.

By Pal Toth [Volume 28, Number 2, April, 2009]
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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