Saturday, January 28, 2012

First Samples via Heat Exchange

I love making samples. Love. This is something I have discovered since becoming a resident artist at Penland. I have spent a lot of my time over the past three years exploring process, technique, and materials and made many, many samples. I realized the other day as I worked on my enameling what a luxury it is to be able to have the time to make samples. It really is. There are so many things we artists have to do in a day that it is challenging to carve out the time to explore. I am enjoying learning a new material and process and like making sample after sample just to see what happens if…I layer, over-fire, sand blast, stone, scratch, draw, drizzle water on a dried enamel surface, fire before the surface is completely dry. The aim is to learn and get comfortable through exploration and, ultimately, to find that distressed, messed-up, aged-looking, imperfect surface that mimics that kinds of things I am inspired by.
My favorite discoveries so far include incising lines on the surface of the metal as well as on the surface of the fired enamel using my flex shaft and a cutting or separating disc, over-firing, and dripped water on the surface of dried enamel. I have posted images of these findings here. The are tons more on Flickr.

I am really enjoying this time. Really and truly. Now I am beginning to consider the sample as more than a sample as many of them are turning out rather nicely. I hate to discard them for more “serious” pieces and so I’m thinking these samples might turn into the finished pieces. More on that later…

To read more about the enameling project, "Heat Exchange," please visit our blog.

Thanks so much for reading.

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