Linda Gebert, Jennifer Walterscheid, & Bruce Chapin
“Alchemy” is certainly the appropriate word for the art medium known as “enameling.” One of the dictionary definitions is “a seemingly magical process of transformation, creation, or combination.” This is certainly what happens when you combine the vision of the artist with the combination of glass fired onto metal, through various methods, producing an art work of beauty and durability. Enamels from hundreds of years back have been unearthed in archeological digs and one can find very old enamels in museums. Enamel will adhere to copper, gold or silver when fired at a high temperature (usually around 1400-1500 degrees) for a short time. When there are silver or gold wires outlining a design, as in the technique known as cloisonne, the firing must be closely controlled and watched so the intricately applied “lines” don’t melt. There are many techniques used in creating enamels of different types and this is what usually makes the pursuit of enameling excellence a lifetime pursuit for the artist who chooses this medium. There is always something new to try. The pieces from this group of enamelists in Wichita show the variety of approaches to this ancient art medium.