Hello! Melissa here, from Melissa's Melting Pot...
I first discovered Enamelling in Sixth Form, where I was pointed in the direction of a dusty box of enamel powders and told that I go crazy with them. I set up my own little corner of the room and very quickly learnt what could and could not go into a kiln (Glitter is NOT a good idea...). At University I received a grant and with this bought my own kiln, a very exciting day! Now I have my own studio that I create work and teach workshops from.
Enamel is powdered glass that is applied to metal and then fired in a kiln. There are numerous techniques in enamelling such as Sifting, Stencilling, Sgraffito, Cloisonné, Basse Taille, Champleve and Plique-a-jour to name a few. The photos above show some of the different stages that a piece will go through in the making process.
I found the material of glass fascinating and wanted to push the boundaries, so decided to try different glass working techniques. I began with lamp-work or flame-work, which is using a blow torch to melt rods of glass creating new forms and functions. Glass is a material that is classed as both a solid and a liquid, so being able to change a fragile material into something pliable was magical. I still find watching lamp workers mesmerising and could sit and watch glass work all day! At an evening class in Plymouth I also discovered glass blowing and fell in love with it. It took the basic ideas in lamp-working, but used them on a much larger scale.