Hi all, I’ve just returned from “Alchemy”, the Enamelist Society
Conference and International and student juried exhibition at
Arrowmont school in Tenn. The post conference workshops are still in
progress. I’m down with laryngitis from talking so much with everyone
and spending a lot of time outside with fascinating
artist/teacher/alchemist/chain-smoker, Bill Helwig. Some impressions
as a board member and fellow enamel artist:
the workshops/breakout sessions: top instructors gave students wide
ranging new tehcniques ( i.e. Helwig: fire scale as an applied,
controlled and scintillating decorative element!), approaches,
skills. Everyone was quite charged up by the amount they were
learning. The discussions I overheard or participated in were
unanimous in enthusiastic appreciation of the quality and depth of
the instruction. Interesting to note the “teachers” as students in
each others sessions. Also noted: the pleasure in serious learning.
The exhibition. Really impressive! This exhibition will travel,
please see TES website for more info. Arromont staff person (Karen ?)
mounted the show with such great sensitivity, polishing this gem of
an exhibition to showcase both the wildly diverse range and the
aesthetic links in this record of world enamel at this moment. In the
Juried International exhibition there were significant pieces by many
of the most well known names and those establishing their places. The
student exhibition was comprised of very noteworthy work.
Interestingly, the two exhibitions were woven so seamlessly together,
one had to read the labels to be sure to distinguish them.
I’m sure others will cover the awards ceremony, the speakers, and
the hilarious ( and successful!) live auction.
I had a wonderful time connecting and reconnecting with some
wonderful artist/human beings. A spirit of generosity and shared joy
in our mediums/expressions was the gestalt of the conference. I’m not
a joiner, but I am very glad I was there! Bottom line: if you’re
interested in enamel and related metals techniques, the Enamelist
Society Conferences are as good as it gets.