A look again at The Stefan Knapp article first posted here in January 2012:

 

Enamelled steel panel by Stefan Knapp at Williamson Art Gallery, Birkenhead.

At New Year, Tilly and I were looking at late 20th century abstract paintings at the Williamson Art Gallery in Birkenhead. One large piece in particular caught our eye and took us by surprise as it wasn’t actually a painting at all but an enamelled steel panel about 1.3 metres square. Intrigued, we asked the curator if he could tell us more about it. The artist was Stefan Knapp 1921-1996 and this piece, produced in the 1960's is one of his Ariel Landscapes. The inspiration for these came from his time taking reconnaissance photos whilst an RAF fighter pilot during WWII.

 
 
 
Stefan Knapp was a Polish born artist who, returning to college in 1939 at a time when Poland was being divided into Russian and Nazi territories, was arrested and interred in Siberia. Knapp was released from the labour camp in 1941 having survived for two years and was able to make his way to the UK. Here, he volunteered to join the RAF and became a Spitfire pilot.
 
Post war, Knapp trained at the Central School of Arts in London and then at the Slade and discovered enamelling in the 1950’s. He was a successful artist by this time and able to set up a studio with a kiln capable of taking panels up to 10 feet in length and 4 feet wide. In 1958 he was commissioned to make 17 murals for Heathrow Airport and in 1960 a mural 200 feet by 50 for the façade of a new Alexander’s store in Paramus, New Jersey. This record breaking mural consisted of 280 individual panels with a combined weight of 250 tons and was constructed at West Drayton in an old aircraft hanger.
 
He was to surpass himself though in 1967 with the longest mural in the world for Alexander’s White Plains store. At 1500 yards long and comprising 450 panels, it had to be photographed by helicopter.
 
There is a brief biography of Stephan Knapp on Wikipedia. The information here comes from a very detailed article on him that appeared in Glass on Metal Vol 18, no.3, October 1999. The article is online at www.glass-on-metal.com/pastart/stefan_knapp.htm.
 
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Many congratulations to all our award winners who are as follows:

Selection:

CGE: Frank Street, Mark Morris, Caroline Tetley, Lynette Williams.

ACGE: Michelle Griffiths, Ann Jones.

Awards:

Maureen Carswell Award (top mark for Craftsman): Caroline Tetley

Hans Theilade (for new enamellers): Lynette Williams. (Highly commended: Ann Jones)

Fred Barnes Memorial Trophy (Champleve or Basse Taille): Charlotte Smith. (Highly commended: Frank Street)

Kenneth Benton Award (for innovation & originality): Gill Harkness

Peter Wolfe Cloisonné Cup: Melvyn Jennings. (Highly commended: Caroline Tetley)

The Painting Award (using vitreous onglaze pigments): Carmen Lombardi. (Highly commended: Susan Davies)

The Rachel Gogerly Memorial Award (for best finish): Carmen Lombardi

The Chairmans’ Rose Bowl: Tilly Wilkinson

Enameller Elect (the May Yarker Award by Members’ vote): Gill Harkness

Themed Subject (Communication): Jane Sheppard

Judith Harris Young Enamellers Awards

Under 18 - Michael Cartwright

Under 16 - Emily Williams. (Highly commended: Xanthe Spence)

Under 11 - Charlotte Ball

 

For pictures: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Guild-of-Enamellers/119453861450309?sk=timeline

 

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Thanks to Chris and Mary at M&CT ltd, we were enamelling on A4 steel panels again yesterday (and high firing a bowl or three). Gallery of pics courtesy of Fauzia Khan on our facebook page.

 

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Enamel Colour Tests     

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These are the set of enamel colours that I got from Milton Bridge's British Enamels set. It was quite a lot of work but worth doing. I've got an order for some cloisonné work and need some compatible non-painting colours. The top three rows are the transparent enamels and the bottom two rows the opaque.

The transparent enamels have been sieved to remove the finer particles and then washed to make them as clear as possible. The strips are done on silver since this reflects the light back through the enamel from behind. I've put a square (or whatever shape I happen to have cut out!) of gold foil at the bottom of the strip to see the difference when the enamel is on gold. Some of the reds come out a bit yellow when on top of silver but are nice and warm on the gold.

The opaque strips have copper as the metal base.

I should do two more rows for the opalescent colours, which will be from the fine particle transparent enamel. When the enamel grains are very small (less than 75 microns) then the vitrified enamel traps tiny air bubbles. The result is a semi-transparent, milky colour, quite useful in some applications!