Earlier this year Guild of Enamellers was made aware that the EU were considering a restriction of lead in Jewellery and its coatings. The proposals had undergone a lengthy public consultation, that was nearing it's close. A search of the website and questions and replies showed that the issue of lead in enamel had been overlooked. I did notice that a derogation (exemption) had been proposed for lead crystal jewellery and requested a similar derogation be made for vitreous enamel.

 

The EU committee then raised a number of questions, both technical and about the economic impact of the proposed restriction. In order to attempt to answer the detailed questions about the economic impact I turned to some of our Guild members and for the technical information I contacted Milton Bridge Ceramic Colours Ltd. David Bainbridge, one of the Directors, then gave the issue a huge amount of time and energy, drawing upon his wider circle of contacts within the sector and putting together a strong supporting case addressing both the technical and economic issues.

 

On behalf of the Guild of Enamellers I would like to thank firstly David Bainbridge, for the time, energy and dedication he gave this. I would also like to thank all those who contributed by answering our, often very detailed questions, at such short notice and for the letters of support that we were able to include in our submissions to the EU. I am happy to say that, at the point of writing, the SEAC Background Document has been published and the suggested text does include a derogation for vitreous enamel, excluding it from the proposed restriction. We now wait and hope that it goes through and that the EU Members vote for it without alteration.The vote has to take place within 3 months of publication of the document, which was 30 September 2011.

 

Although when I joined the Guild this was not the kind of thing I was expecting to be involved in it has been an interesting, challenging and rewarding process. For those of you who are not already Guild Members I would encourage you to join and get involved. It will bring you into contact with a diverse and enthusiastic membership with a common aim of promoting, learning about and sharing enamelling. It has individual, family and corporate memberships available, for more information visit: www.guildofenamellers.org

 
Lynne Glazzard
Publicity Officer

 

Over the last six months David Cowling has been editing and cataloguing the, literally thousands, of photographs that Rob Griffin has taken at recent conferences. Along with other photos from Jock Miller etc we now have an archive going back to 2006. Julia Riddington has been creating the software to create a database of these images and all guild members can now search though it by going into the members area of the website and clicking on “Archive” in the member’s menu.
 
The first time you do this a page will probably load that invites you to install Microsoft Silverlight. This is needed to run the software. Following the instructions to install it shouldn’t take long and the installation only needs to be done once. After that, on future visits to the archive, the start page should appear after a few seconds and you can then begin searching.
 
Details of how to search through and view both the images and the information we have about them can be found by clicking on the link below:
 
 
At the moment, you will come across images where the maker is listed as unknown and also other gaps in the “Image Information” for each photo. This is where we hope you can help. For example, if it’s one of your own pieces in the photo please let us know by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and David will then be able to update the information. Please also let David know if you find separate images that should be grouped or linked together because they are all the same or are part of a set.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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By Raymond Jackson

Some Observations on Applying Transparent Enamels to Copper

Silver and gold are attractive metals for enamelling because of their intrinsic value and because they possess high reflecting properties, allowing transparent enamels to be shown to best advantage. In addition, gold and silver alloys do not oxidize significantly at the temperatures needed to fuse the enamels to them. Although minor oxidation can cause some transparent enamels to discolour, there are well established techniques to enable enamel clarity and colour to be of a very high order.


In contrast, copper presents a problem for transparent enamels, namely the rapid and significant oxidation that takes place when copper is heated to enamelling temperatures, (in the range 7000C – 10000C). Inexperienced enamellers might conclude it virtually impossible to achieve results quite as good as those on gold or silver. This may be true, but there is much published information on how to mitigate the discoloration of transparent enamels caused by the copper oxide that develops on the surface of the metal.

Read the full article

 

I had assumed that this summer my enamelling would wind down as it usually does when the weather gets warmer (I am writing this in mid July). However I have had a number of beginner’s lessons recently and was busy over the first weekend in July demonstrating enamelling techniques and promoting the Guild at the Wirral’s Festival of Firsts. The festival was the idea of John Gorman (some of you may remember him singing “Lily the Pink” as part of The Scaffold). The weekend was jam packed with poetry, drama and music, held at various venues around the pretty seaside town of Hoylake on the Wirral. Local shops along the high street kindly gave over their windows to display the work of local artists and crafts people for two weeks free of charge. Sunday 10th saw Hoylake prom play host to the work of 120 local artists from all disciplines.
The event was a huge success and great fun to be involved with. In addition it has helped to raise funds for Claire House our local children’s hospice on the Wirral. I was busy all day on the Sunday demonstrating and explaining what our craft encompasses to what seemed like an endless stream of visitors. There was a lot of interest in the Guild so perhaps we’ll see some new members in Region 3. I’d like to thank Region 3 members Ann Kernigan, one of the festival’s organisers, for her help with the venue for our Guild demonstration, Diane Rimmer for also promoting the Guild via her stall at the festival and my husband David who as usual carried my big kiln into the venue, looked after customers and brought regular supplies of tea.
 
On the subject of festivals a number of our members have been busy demonstrating enamelling techniques on behalf of the Guild at Art in Action, evidence again of the Guild’s commitment to promoting the craft of enamelling to a wider public. Lesley Miller organises the Guild demonstrations at Waterperry along with a raft of volunteers. I hope the word raft isn’t an omen of the weather they have experienced; as I write this the rain has been lashing our windows seemingly non stop for several days.
 
Lynne Glazzard our new Publicity Officer has also been very busy recently. A number of members will be aware that the EU is proposing to ban lead in jewellery. The Executive Committee became aware of the issue after receiving an email from Pat Johnson. The legislation is well intended, hoping to try to reduce the number of cheap lead bearing metal jewellery items entering the EU. However, within this legislation an issue has arisen as to the possible banning of enamelled jewellery items. Lynne has been in touch with various government agencies and has been instrumental in formulating a proposal for the exemption of leaded jewellery enamels on behalf of the Guild and its members. This has been a complex issue which has taken many hours on Lynne’s behalf contacting professionals in all areas of the industry. In particular we are indebted to the help of David Bainbridge of Milton Bridge. The results of the EU decision will be known in September.
 
The Ravenstein exhibition is now well under way. Ellen and John Goldman attended on the first day. They were accompanied by members of the British Club of The Hague and the exhibition curator Jan Klink. On behalf of the Guild I would like to express our thanks to Jan Klink for organising the exhibition and to Ellen for her help throughout.
 
Earlier this year the Pannett Art Gallery in Whitby offered the Guild the opportunity to exhibit members work during July and August 2012. It is envisaged that this will be a selling exhibition for a range of works but particularly wall based pieces. Further details will be published in the next Journal.
 
All the rain I mentioned earlier has replenished our water butts and thankfully the weather has finally taken a turn for the better but perversely the sun and strong winds mean that all my pots in the garden need watering again. So I’m off outside to do just that.