Tools and equipment
Drawing on enamel
Gold and silver leaf
Dorothy Cockrell was a teacher for many years, making silver jewellery and learning enamelling in her spare time. Retirement set her free to pursue her interest, and she began to win awards for her work from the Guild of Enamellers. She now edits their journal, runs workshops and courses in Britain and overseas and regularly exhibits her work. Dorothy works in the former coal-hole of her home in Scotland, finding inspiration from poetry, natural patterns and colours, textiles and the work of other craftspeople. She finds experimenting, bending the rules and discovering new techniques as satisfying as producing finished enamelled pieces.
(Molly Whitehall, age 11)
This is an interesting book with lovely pictures of enamelled products...It is divided into 22 short chapters and an index with clear headings. In each of the chapters there are clear, easy to understand, step-by-step instructions for different enamelling projects. It looks like a very good and helpful book. If you are interested in beginning enamelling or have just got started, then this book would probably help you with starting out in the craft of enamelling.* Education Otherwise *
Beginner's Guide to Enamelling, written by Dorothy Cockrell and published by Search Press, is a quality "how to" book illustrated with 175 clear color plates. A very simple, basic approach was taken on every topic, from safety to basic and intermediate techniques. The premise is to present enamelling in an enticing manner as a craft for newcomers as well as those with some experience. The first projects are basic --- sifting, stenciling, sgraffito and drawing with a pencil. Stamping, liquid enamels, swirling, crazy paving, insets (ex: dichroic glass, firescale, millifiori beads) and foils are presented as fun applications of enamel. Fine photos provide illustration of each simple, completed project and a slightly more complex, artistic version of the same technique. This allows the student to accomplish a specific effect, and envision a creative use of that technique, still not too difficult for the reader to achieve. Most projects, including five or six large photos, are completed within two pages. Explanations are simple and easy to follow. Interestingly, wet-laying enamels and foils appear near the end of the book, after the many, easier sifting-based techniques. One of the early projects, enamelling with copper wire, could have used this information at that time. The most difficult projects, included at the end of the book involved curved surfaces, raku, silver luster and beads. A page of six possible problems and their solutions precede a rather complete index. I think this book was handled well and should appeal to the targeted reader and, hopefully, bring new enamellists into the fold.* Enamellers Guild South, Florida *
This is a full color 64 perfect beginner's book. The information that it contains is practical, simple and precise. It is laced with subtle humor such as in the introduction, 'Enamelling can be done on the end of the kitchen table with the kiln sitting on top of the kitchen stove. Just remember that enamel is powdered glass, so it is not advisable to cook dinner at the same time.' At this point she directs the reader to the safety rules found on page 12.
Explanations are short and do not contain extraneous words, but every word is necessary and helps to complete an important thought. Ms. Cockrell always gives a reason for a certain rule, safety precaution, or procedure. It is easier to remember the rule when we are told why we are cautioned to do a certain thing rather than just being told to do it. And the reasons are always on the same page as the procedure so the reader does not need to turn a page to find out why it should be remembered. The book begins with the necessary tools and equipment safety concerns, enamel colors, and a few other materials that can be used to complete projects. Alternatives are always given to the more expensive "bought" equipment. Once in awhile a British term will appear in the book that causes a quick re-read such as "an old fish slice." Everything that a beginning enamellist will experience is completely explained with as few words as possible. I was particularly touched by a statement explaining the difference between opaque and transparent enamel that is so simple yet so memorable for a beginning enamellist. Three quarters of the book is devoted to projects, but each project has been chosen as a learning experience, from stenciling through more advanced procedures. In the stenciling process Ms. Cockrell even tells how to hold the stencil paper so that the enamel powder does not fall off as the paper is removed. On each page is a green "tip" square which further explains a particular procedure. Toward the end of the book Ms. Cockrell explains the difference between "hard" and 'soft" enamel and offers some great processes to understand this difference. It is interesting that she waited until the near end before she mentioned the firing difference in some enamels, but by doing so she did not "muddy the learning waters and also supplied a wonderful way to become aware of and use this difference. The book is a comfortable read from the very beginning and somewhere along the way Ms. Cockrell becomes a friend who knows some things that we may have forgotten or never knew. She deserves a place on your booksheIf as an instructor and as a friend. Diane Montag from 'The Vitreous Voice' journal of Enamel Guild West, California* Enamel Guild West, California *
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