What does an enameller do?
Enamelling is a colourful way to decorate objects. It involves the fusing of glass by heat onto a metal surface. Metals used for enamelling include gold, silver, copper, steel, cast iron and platinum.
Enamel is made from powdered glass, coloured by oxides. It is applied to the metal either wet or dry. The metal is then heated to about 850 degrees centigrade. Heating is usually in a kiln but can also be done with a handheld torch.
The heat causes the enamel to melt and fuse to the metal. The heating time is short, usually up to 10 minutes. More enamel, in different colours or textures can be added and the piece refired, sometimes up to 20 times.
Enamelling has been used for centuries. Pieces have been found from Roman, ancient Egyptian and Anglo-Saxon times.
Various techniques can be used to produce different finishes. Enamelling can be used on jewellery or other decorative items such as bowls, plates or vases.
Some enamellers have other craft skills, such as metalsmithing. They may make the pieces of jewellery which they then enamel. Some enamelling techniques involve engraving. Enamellers may do this themselves or employ an engraver.
Enamellers work in a studio and are often self-employed. This may be at home or elsewhere, and they may share the studio with other makers.
Enamellers may sell and promote their work through galleries, or via online shops and social media. They might also take commissions from customers.