The Enameller's Workshop
The aim of the Enameller’s Workshop is to research and demonstrate enamelling techniques, tools, and artifacts from the later medieval period. We use a charcoal fired kiln, with a clay muffle and can demonstrate the process of wet laying, champlevé, as well as enamel painting...
The demonstrations can be quick pieces, which take a few minutes to prepare, or work towards a fine piece that may take months to complete.
The first kiln was built and tested at Avoncroft Museum of Buildings in 1998 by second generation enameller Alex Kay: the kiln has been used in demonstrations at The Chiltern Open Air Museum, Avoncroft Museum of Buildings and Gloucester City Council, amongst many venues.
Left: Image of a 15th century Goldsmith’s Shop selling items to wealthy customers. Although the majority of enamels were directly applied to copper or bronze, there were also many enamelled panels on objects made from precious metals (silver or even gold). However, many objects of lesser quality, such as horse pendants of the period also include enamel.
Right: Late 15th C scabbard middle locket with enamel, with a painted enamel fired at 800 degrees C in the style of a saint Georges Cross. This is a high end peice, and would be a prized object to whom it belonged. Although rare, swords and scabbards with enamels mounted into them, normally offered as gifts between countries, or for ceremonial use.
Below: One of the earliest existing illustrations, showing a workshop with a built-in
enamelling kiln on the far right of the image. The Muffle can be clearly seen protruding from the kiln’s body, which houses the furnace.
Above: 15th Century engraving of a Goldsmiths Workshop, with Saint Eligius (Patron saint of goldsmiths). On the left of the engraving can be seen an furnace which maybe an enamelling kiln although a clear view of a muffle cannot be seen, therefore it maybe a furnace only, bellows can be seen which would be used for either applications.