email: pat.johnson@enamel.demon.co.uk

www.sculptimage.com/PatJohnson

When certain enamels interact with each other during firing on to a copper base, unusual colours and textures can be created. I look for conditions under which these new enamelling effects can occur.

After an exciting combination of enamels is discovered, experiments are made, samples produced, and the working methods recorded.
Often the firing temperature is a factor, or the different melting points of the enamels which are being combined. Sometimes, when particular lead free and lead bearing enamels are fired together, the results are unique in enamelling.

It is a difficult task to produce these special effects on the surface of a bowl, but it is here that these interactions are best seen. When the enamels are fused on to the sloping contours of bowl forms, the effect of variations in thickness of the enamel coating also come into play. To achieve the desired results, the firing has to be done at the correct temperature, for the correct length of time, and the correct amount of enamel has to be applied.

Each of the particular combinations of enamels produces its own quality of line. These different lines can be used to depict shapes. I prefer to work with classical mathematical forms such as rectangles, circles and triangles. These forms can only be drawn accurately by machines. Hand drawn, they reveal the struggle of humans to achieve perfection and somehow convey the impression of life.
I am particularly inspired by set of drawings made by a special needs boy who attended a workshop I was helping to run. He constructed images of buildings and boats, using excitingly free combinations of rectangle that continue to give me pleasure and set a goal for my own designs.

At present I use the most basic forms of spun bowls because for me these function as a three-dimensional canvas. In fact there are two canvases which must work together, the inside and the outside of the bowl. The bowl can even be seen as analogous to a moving image as the viewer changes the level at which the bowl is seen and the particular facet of the bowl which is facing the viewer.

Photographs by Andra Nelki

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Bowl
Enamelled copper
17.3 cm diameter

Bowl
Enamelled copper
12 cm diameter