I came across vitrified enamel in my search for a permanent painting medium. Glass on metal, I felt, must be the ultimate answer. It bends willingly to the command of the artist and, as for appearance, in richness and depth of colours it surpasses any paint.
But, of course, it is not a paint. It comes as a rough dust of crushed glass which -as it can not be painted by brush- I sprinkle through a fine mesh onto the supporting copper. During the firing it fuses, reacts with the metal, and the bottom layer of it absorbs the black copper oxide generated in the heat.
Where the enamel has been laid thinly it can not completely cover the darkness of this layer, but, as the cover gets thicker the original colour emerges. This effect is unique to opaque enamel on copper.
The transition from black to full colour is gradual. It is governed by the increasing thickness of enamel, and the temperature and length of firing; conditions hard to control.
But, if you are lucky, you can catch the piece in the kiln just in time, before the spread of blackness goes too far and the rich, vivid colours of the enamel gradually emerge out of the softly mottled, nearly transparent dark background. It happens sometimes.
La Coruna 1988
Usher Gallery, Lincoln Mora Muzeum, Szeged (Hungary)
Museum of Fine Arts Budapest National Museum of Warsaw