Kathleen Kay

This article is not intended to be a beginner's guide, or complete instructions, on how to swirl enamel. For fairly new enamellers I recommend following the excellent chapters in either Dorothy Cockrell's 'Beginner's Guide to Enamelling or the more advanced scrolling/swirling techniques in Joan Bolton King's The Art of Crafts Enamelling'. Both books are available for borrowing from the Guild Library, if not already on your bookshelf Here I just want to pass on a few tips that may be helpful or of interest.

Years ago swirling was the easy technique, used in schools' metalworking departments, where children could achieve an amazing shine on a large penny or copper disc, sift on a base coat of enamel and fire it. A few chosen lumps would be arranged on the surface then, while molten, the idea was to scroll them around or, for the over enthusiastic child, stir them like a pudding. These were rarely counter enamelled so the copper was fired safely on a mesh. Though few pieces seem to have survived, the process has been joyfully remembered by many, many adults relating their experiences to me.

Swirling is still considered by many to be a beginners' technique, yet it requires intense concentration, skill and control of fluid movement for fleeting seconds while drawing through the chosen colours and shapes to achieve beautiful artworks of glowing glass - or it could be just good luck.....

Swirling 3