Here's how I approach my enameling process.
I use heat to bond layers of metal and glass.
The glass is my enamel colors.
The metal is the background metal, foils, and wires.
A kiln or torch introduces the heat required to melt the enamel.
Each has a personality.
When they are joined together they form new relationships.
I choreograph the dance.
There are no rules.
I bring my questions, my passion, , my skills, my fears, and my dreams.
I attempt to explore the relationships without getting too much in my own way.
What is possible? What do I like?
What can I change and control?
How can I discover my enamel "happy dance"?
I want to be an enamel "singer-songwriter" who is able to sing "enamel songs".
My songs of color, layers, and light.
"I did not care for art. I was not good at it.
Becoming an artist was the last thing that I ever would have dreamed of becoming!"
I first enameled as a child, sifting colors onto pennies and assorted stamped shapes, and firing them in a small electric hot plate kiln. That hobby lasted for about a month; I was much more interested in sports. I loved running, jumping, and climbing trees. I enjoyed science and had a chemistry set, a microscope, and a dissecting kit. competing, and playing with any kind of ball. I lived next door to some "woods" and spent much of my time outdoors by myself.
My only other early art memory was when I attempted to teach myself to paint with oils. Working from a photo, I painted a portrait of my younger sister. My brother laughed at it, my sister cried, and my mother suggested that maybe I should put the paints away and do something else.
I love color and light.
My earliest memories of feeling a sense of awe and peace were the times when I hiked through the Adirondack mountains in upstate New York while attending summer camp. I loved sitting by a stream, watching the water ripple over the moss-covered rocks. I was captivated watching the sunlight sparkle through the birch tree forests as we hiked for days and days. Back at camp on Lake George, one of the most majestic lakes in all of America, the water was a constant presence in my life.
The Empowered Artist
What is "An Empowered Enamelist"?
Several years ago I designed an online class as a test to learn about virtual teaching. As I developed the curriculum, I became aware that the name of the class should have been "The Empowered Enamelist".
I've been teaching myself to become an "empowered artist" since I first started messing with my enamel colors back in 1976. I didn't know it then, but I do now. Of course, I was teaching myself enameling basics: applying and firing my enamel, using tools, and some of the different techniques.
As the years went by and my goals changed, I needed to teach myself new skills and new mindsets. I changed my self image from a "starving" artist to an "affluent artist". I studied design and creativity. I learned how to experiment, play, and translate with enamel to develop my artistic voice and my unique enamel vocabulary.
I became an "empowered enamel artist".
My Wife's Artwork
My wife, Pat (PJ) Floyd, spent the first stage of her life as a modern dancer, choreographer, and dance instructor. She began making mixed-media sculptures after taking an armature workshop at Arrowmont School of Art & Crafts while I was teaching a week of enameling there. Her passion for vintage fabric and love of nature led her to create a series of whimsical mixed-media animals. Her current work reflects her dance background as she explores the themes of struggle, resilience, and hope.