Helene Shovlar

After Marcelo Bessi’s workshop in Edinburgh in April followed by a soft and hard enamels course with Dorothy Cockrell in Stirling at the Guild Conference, I spent the summer in France, where I made a little studio for enamelling in a stall in a cowshed.

I was inspired by both courses and the organic nature of the results appealed to me after years of precise silversmithing.

On a bike ride in June, I noticed how beautiful the hedgerows were, full of ox-eye daisies. I picked a few and decided to use them as stencils in some new work. I also picked a lot of different grass heads and seed heads.

I started by using Marcelo’s idea that soft white and soft flux can lead to a whole variety of results. I took a 2-inch square and sifted it with soft white, then, before firing, I scraped it randomly with a feathery grass head. I then sifted soft flux over the gaps created. I fired it at approx. 800 deg which gave white with golden patches. As soon as it came out of the kiln, I dropped grass seed heads onto the still molten enamel to give the white some more character by burning it in places.

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