The Art of Fine Enameling
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Here are Reviews and Comments about "The Art of Fine Enameling"...

ITS FABULOUS!!!!!!!! I can't think of a thing that has been left out of this book... I hope it never goes out of print. Not only is it thorough, but there is an organization to the entire text that makes it overwhelmingly useful. Even for advanced enamelists, you have not only provided a huge number of helpful hints, but they jump out at the reader in an instant so one doesn't need to search the text for them or take voluminous notes. Everything is sequenced properly and references are clear without boring repetition. Every page is fully packed with information and the photos are amazing in their clarity of representation of tasks. They are bright and beautiful. So many artists are included in this book that it is the most complete representation of enameling in the present time. This is the most definitive book on enamel techniques that I have read. M.T. I am the managing director of a small US/UK company working here in Thailand. You can read a bit more about our company if you have the book "Dictionary of Enamel" by Erika Speel. Look under Fish Enterprises Ltd.

We operate a vitreous enamelling factory of about 80 workers here in Thailand. ...

I have just started reading your book and am most challenged. Congratulations for all your hard work, you truly have done a great job, thank you for challenging the rest of us. I usually buy every enamelling book I can find. Your presentation of enameling is the best I've ever read.

The section entitled "Enameling Troubleshooting" is most helpful, as you say, there are always problems while enameling. M. K.

I have your book - it is outstanding. I'm always very disapointed when I get books as they never have very good how to instructions and your book is probable the best book for all around enameling and pictures and how to that I have got in years. I have a foundry and forging shop and pour alot of bronze and copper that I want to enamel. Thanks and I love your book. Stan in WA I was very impressed with "The Art of Fine Enameling". I picked up a copy at the local library on an idea of using enameling on the handles of my custom made knives, which I make. I was so impressed with the book, I bought a copy of the book so I could keep it on hand. The book was very well done, and the photographs of the art work totally changed my perception of enameling, and what could be done with it. C.B.
"I have been meaning to write you ever since I opened the covers of your book, The Art of Fine Enameling, and jumped in for a delightful trip. I still have not had time to absorb it in depth, but I find something to enjoy and learn on every page. Even my enamel teacher is impressed with the wealth of information! I want to try almost every one of your projects. That is a terrific approach to a book on enameling, making it rich enough to bring interest for all ranges of experience from novice to expert. I am sure you had wonderful help from your contributors and I wish to thank them also by proxy. I know your motives for writing the book were love of the art more than anything else, but I hope this proves to be successful financially, too! In an case, you deserve praise for adding a treasure to the world of enameling!" S.P. "I got your new book and think it is just great. Hope to use some of the info to help me in enameling. Just thought you would like to know that my other enameling friends think the book is very good, too!!" M.S.

"What a wonderful book. Great layout, easy to understand descriptions. Being a novice enameller it really helps me to learn about the various techniques that are available. Thank you" M.S.

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"I received my copy of your wonderful book ... today and just had to take a minute away from reading it to email you with my reaction. The Art of Fine Enameling is a beautiful book. It is very inviting and easy to understand. The photos are just incredible in both color and detail. I especially enjoy the step by step photos that accompany each project. I also appreciate the inclusion of photos of the artists, which enable me to connect a face to a name.

I have a large collection of books on jewelry making techniques and I consider this one to be among the best!! Congratulations on a job well done." A. A-R.

"You did a fine job on "The Book". The photos are plentiful and gorgeous and the explanations clear and concise. Congratulations!" D.R.

"Congratulations!!! I just received the book today and it's absolutley one of the best in our field . I'm proud to have a piece of my work in it and I'm proud to add it to my enamel book collection." A.K.

"It really looks good, Karen, and you can be proud of what you have accomplished. Even when one never worked through a project, there is so much to look at and enjoy. I never saw a book with so many colored pictures! ( and at that price!). The layout is very well done. Everything is organized and easy to find, thanks to your master plan. Having been a computer science major and artist certainly helped having everything go so smoothly ..." I.R. "The book came today and it is truly remarkable in its attention to detail. Congrats!" J.S.

"I just received your book and it is simply great - excellent! What a good job." L.G.

"I read "the book" this weekend - it is outstanding! ... This is an exciting and informative addition to the enameling literature and your attention to detail astounds me. ... it is not easy to cover all the possibilities one might encounter when enameling a given item but you have really covered the bases. I will whole heartedly advise my customers to buy this book." C.S.

"I love your work and I love your book--I think it is the best enamel book out there" SH

" I am currently teaching at the Cultural Arts Center which is part of the Columbus Parks and Rec Dept. I teach 8 week class sessions with all skill levels in every class. I have been teaching enameling for a year now and absolutely love it.

After reading through your book, I've picked up all sorts of little tips that make the techniques that I already do that much better and easier. My students & I are looking forward to trying some of the projects this winter, especially the Raku, a technique I've always wanted to learn." K.S.

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Book Review
Marilyn Tendrich

Published in
Enamel Guild/ South Newsletter, Dec 2002

The Art of Fine Enameling, by Karen L. Cohen, is available on-line ... I will pause now while you put in your order.

Seldom am I so impressed by a book that I feel you absolutely must have it, but I can’t imagine anyone interested in enameling not having it. This hardcover book contains 160 fully packed high quality pages with 423 color plates and 13 demonstrative sketches. Twenty artists have contributed a wealth of knowledge on their own unique variations of enameling techniques. The projects are: Basse Taille created by etching with natural elements by Ingrid Regula; Champlevé by Katharine Wood; a Cloisonné Brooch created directly in the setting by Karen L. Cohen; Decals and applications of other embellishments by June Jasen; Fusion Inlay Under Enamel by Charles Lewton-Brain; Ginbari Foil Embossing by Coral Shaffer; Grisaille by D.X. Ross; an amazing 8 page mosaic Limoges project by Ora Kuller; Liquid Enamel and Glass Ball Additives by Judy Stone; Minimal Firing (2-3 firings) Enameling by Averill Shepps; Mounting large enamel installations by Marian Slepian; Plique-à-jour Pierced-heart Pendant by Diane Almeyda; Raku-fired Bowl by Jean Tudor; Separation Enameling by Tom Ellis; Sgraffito Plate and Stenciled Tile by Sally Wright; Silk Screen for Enameling by Ute Conrad; Stone Setting Within an Enamel by Dee Fontans; Torch-altered Metal with Cheesecloth Stencil by Roxane Riva; Torch-fired Beads by Aileen Geddes; and Vessel Forms - how to successfully enamel vertical surfaces - by Sarah Perkins. Additionally, there are Photo Galleries scattered throughout the book representing another 51 of the finest enamelists, with a total of 71 represented in the book.

Each chapter is laid out beautifully and clearly: Tools, Materials, a short overview, Metalwork, Enameling, and Finishing, each in numbered steps. A highlighted box prior to the overview lists Techniques to Know with page references to instructions covered at the beginning of the book. Another lists colors needed to replicate the project as illustrated. “Notes” throughout include helpful hints such as how to avoid problems with a specific instruction, or special touches the author might add at this point. “Tips” include where to find specific tools or supplies. The 3” margin is filled with clear step-by step photos.

The book opens with a brief history and then a complete glossary of terms, techniques and tools used in the book. I thought it brilliant to place these terms first as an integral part of the book instead of an afterthought at the back. The Enamelists’ Tool Kit was not just a complete list of everything you could need, but warnings and instructions on how to maintain a safe studio - also important information before jumping headfirst into a project.

The section on Enameling Application covered every possibility, including tools, with referrals to project pages, and firing, including supports, heat sources and their care. Studio Basics, Tips and Tricks included where to scavenge tools, when to high fire, and excellent photos of the four stages of firing. Cohen clarifies the 6 grades of sifting and when to use each with a fine chart. Her helpful hints throughout, such as capturing silt with coffee filters when washing enamels, are wonderful and highlighted so they are easy to spot. She continues with sections on test firing and color analysis, computer-aided designs, metal patterning, soldering/fusing, metal preparation, wirework, basic enamel applications, foil application, finishing , metal finishing, and mounting. Then she added a miscellaneous section, in case she forgot anything. There are 31 tips in these sections alone. Written by Cohen, this information is referred to in every chapter in the highlighted “Techniques to Know” boxes. The final chapter confronts 14 common enameling problems with 56 possible causes and solutions.

This book is overwhelmingly well-organized and leaves out nothing. The artists represented are amongst the best and so are their projects, which can be created in any studio. It’s a treasure. It belongs in every studio and every school. Don’t miss it!

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Book Review
Ellen Goldman

Published on the web

This hard-cover, full-colour, well-presented book is cramped with outstanding photographs. I found it a joy to see, to read and even to discuss it in this review.

To start with the photographs: apart from those that serve as illustrations of techniques and projects, there is a 'photo gallery' of finished pieces. You might look at this gallery as at a real gallery with several rooms to visit. New rooms open up as you browse through the book: a page of the Gallery here and there, but always in appropriate places. Rooms which offer you a place of rest in between ' public lessons ' about techniques or ' workshops' given by various artists.

There are 71 (!) artists who have one or more photographs of finished, high-quality pieces in this book, 170 photos in all. Together, they offer us a stunning overview of the art of enamelling of our present time. This may partly be due to the fact that the two technical editors, June Jasen and Tom Ellis, are outstanding enamellers themselves.

The contents may be roughly divided into:

1. an introductory part consisting of a foreword by Lloyd E. Herman, Founding Director of the Smithsonian Institution Renwick Gallery, a short preface by the author, a table of contents and a text 'Then and Now' which tells about the history of enamelling.

2. Enamelist's Tool Kit plus Studio Basics, Tips and Tricks, which tell us everything which is needed to start enamelling. And at long last, here is a book which does not forget to mention safety precautions. All too often, authors either close their eyes to the dangers of specific crafts, sometimes because they have never had any problems themselves, sometimes because they simply do not find this an important issue, and once, when I brought the issue up when in contact with the author of a book about enamelling, I was even told that speaking of necessary safety precautions might 'warn possible new students off '.

There are many practical directions: some seemingly unimportant, but of immense importance to beginning enamellers. To mention a few: how to make samples of the various enamels, how to clean the metal, how to apply the enamels to the metal base... Studio Basics, Tips and Tricks completes this part of the book. We have now reached page 44; and I find it amazing to see how much know-how and experience has been crammed into so few pages, especially because there are so many photographs to illustrate the text. This part is closed by the first page of the Gallery on which we are shown four photographs of finished works.

3. Projects. This is the part which really makes the book unique. The author has asked 21 fellow-enamellers to describe the techniques in which they work by giving step-by-step instructions to students for making their own, very special, piece of work.

Would you like to make a bowl in the RAKU technique? Turn to the page where Jean Tudor tells you how to do this. Would you prefer to make something with stencils? Go to the chapter 'Stencilling', written by Sally Wright. I could go on a long time for there are 21 different projects.

4. A Comprehensive trouble shooting chapter, a bibliography and several other items close the book. There is one remark I like to make. It is the following: one of the 'various other items' is the Dedication. Karen Cohen dedicates this glorious book to her mother who always supported her, to her daughter whom she hopes to inspire, to her sister and her husband who always stood behind her and to Marilyn Druin who was Karen's own very special source of inspiration.

I would have thought that these persons, so important to Karen in her life and work, would have earned a place on one of the first pages of the book, or at the very least, in an eye-catching place at the very end.

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Book Review
Bill Helwig

Published in
Glass On Metal, vol 21, No.5. Dec 2002

The enthusiasm of a new kid on the block, with a book in the field of enameling going into print, creates a rush of excitement, and rightly so. The craft book publisher looks for short run, quick profit in the book business. It is all very circular. Rewrites have been going on for hundreds of years. It is all about ‘time frame’; out with the old and in with the new.

Fortunately for the publisher, Karen assembled a very good looking book by today’s standards that will generate a huge amount of excitement. She marshaled, like William Harper did in his 1973 book Step-by-Step Enameling, an appropriate twist; he had others write about what he didn’t know, thus filling in the field. This is a very good premise considering the vast world of glass on metal, it’s history, technology and diversity of relevance.

“How to” books are about following procedures. “Why to” books are about processing information. In order to process information one must comprehend basic concept of the materials and then understand the evidence. The reveal of this book comes from the diverse arena of those invited to participate and the visuals. Photos abound, like a carnival in close quarters. Some times they are just a bit more than postage stamp size (seldom is size given), on the other hand over enlargement illustrates what you don’t need to see published.

The contributors who wrote and photographed their input must all be commended for their effort, honesty and clarity. They disclosed with brevity their knowledge and ability, on specific techniques or projects. The contributions of Sarah Perkins, Averill Shepps, j.e. jasen, Ute Conrad and Ora Kuller are of exceptional worth for their unique distinction.

The Art of Fine Enameling, is destined to become very popular. The contributed portions refresh and inform. Without Karen Cohen, this book would not have come about in the style it did. She gave this book’s look at contemporary enameling in the United States greater importance.

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