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The Creative Process

Within the international enamelist movement my technique is rather rare as it is based on the traditional approach of cutting the design from copper into many “puzzle pieces”, and then firing the enamel powders in several separate firings onto them.
First I draw a design on copper sheet, then I hand-cut the whole picture into many segments – a jigsaw puzzle due to the size of the small jewellery kiln I use for the firings. Then I sieve finest glass and metal powders (containing cadmium, cobalt etc as pigments) onto the cut segments and fire them in 2 to 5 minute intervals onto the copper segments. To create a solid layer and to get different shades I have to repeat this process up to 8 times. To achieve a series of matching segments I have to be very accurate with the timing: too long in the kiln means too dark a colour and too short means not sufficiently melted.
30 years of experimenting with it helps finding the perfect result though.
Once all the pieces have been fired they will be glued onto a chosen surface.
Only on wood they need to be nailed onto as well, as wood expands in the sun and the glue may not hold the pieces in place.

Copper-enamels weather well in the elements and are quite fade resistant in the sun as their main colour giving components are metals. Therefore enamel is a great solution to achieve lasting colour in outdoor artwork/sculptures.

Essentially I see myself as an abstract artist, as I experience each “puzzle bit” as an abstract creation. By putting the many pieces together - SURPRISE! - I end up with recognisable images. The natural aspects of this magnificent land are my deep well of inspiration! Never do I have to look far to find forms and energies I want to express, translate or interpret: A small rock formation on the coastline may inspire an elaborate wall-panel occupying me for months. Reflections on the many unstable fault-lines crisscrossing the country might spawn a whole series of works. Or just simply catching a beautiful “John Dory” during a fishing trip on the gulf may result in a large glass-on-metal interpretation of it.



john dory