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Looking Ahead

December 31, 2013 , In: General
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I really hate New Year’s resolutions. For me, they just amount to one more reason to feel like a loser in February, when I’ve only made it to the gym twice instead of daily. (I know you know what I’m talking about!)

Photo from the I Hate Cigarettes page on Facebook – but I don’t recommend the page. Gross, crude humor. This was funny, though.

Instead, I choose a single word every year that represents some aspect of my character I want to develop, and then I make plans and decisions based on how each applies to my one word. I’m still praying about what my word should be for 2014, but I think a similar approach to my creative work makes sense. There are a lot of skills I need to keep current, but what is the one technique I want to focus on developing and improving in the next year?

Easy.

I have fallen hard for enamels. And I mean hard. Last Christmas, my best friend gave me Linda Darty’s book on enamels and I never looked back. Torch-fired enamels have been my primary focus this year (my Component of the Month contribution this year were enameled pieces) but I have been itching to do more with kiln-firing and some of the more advanced techniques.

I’ve written before about artists who are inspiring to me, but I recently discovered another artist whose work with liquid enamels is mind-blowing.

Ken Bova has been experimenting with liquid enamels for several years now – and he has limited himself to using primarily white liquid enamel. Yet he gets an amazing range of colors out of that single element, by overfiring, direct firing, and scratching back to bare metal so he can use its oxidation as a design element. It’s an intriguing approach: pick one color and test that color to its limits.

I’m also really interested in what happens with the addition of foils under transparent colors. Barbara Minor is an artist and teacher who’s doing a lot of work with foils and decorative elements – I’d like to find a way to take a workshop with her this year!
So in addition to keeping my foundational metal skills current, I’m going to be doing a lot more with enamels this year. What’s your focus going to be? What technique are you dying to explore or expand?
On behalf of the entire AJE team, I wish you all a very safe and happy new year’s celebration. We’ll see you in 2014!
Until next time –

Francesca Watson

Francesca Watson got bit by the jewelry-making bug in 2008, when she and a few girlfriends took a simple stringing class at a local bead shop. Now, she is co-owner of The Makery, a working and teaching studio and gallery in the Texas Hill Country outside San Antonio where Francesca creates and teaches metals, wire and enameling full time, and indulges an emerging interest in mixed media. She and her husband Nick have been married since 1989 and have one grown daughter.
  1. Reply

    Love your enamel work looking forward to seeing what is coming down the road.

  2. Reply

    I love your enameled pieces at the top and if you are so inspired you should follow that path. I look forward to what you create in the new year!!!

  3. Reply

    I love your work and look forward to where you take it in 2014. For me I just started with polymer clay and really enjoy the artistic freedom it allows. This year I will work on my individuality and try to stop comparing myself to others too!

  4. Reply

    Can't wait to see where you take enamel this year! It's a wonderful medium. I'm hoping to summon up the courage to try some basic torch-fired enamel, and more soldering. I've done a tiny bit of the latter, but I need to push it a little.

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