Contemporary Enameling - Linda Darty

May 3rd & 4th, 2008

Written by Gail and Carl Pitts

On the first weekend in May, ADC South welcomed Linda Darty to the Old Pueblo for a weekend workshop in Contemporary Enameling. Linda is the Chairperson of the metals program and Professor of Metalwork¬ing and Enameling in the School of Art at East Carolina University in Greenville, NC. She is a former trustee of the Penland School of Crafts and a former member of the board of the Enamellists So¬ciety.  In 2003 she re¬ceived The Lifetime Achievement Award from the Enamellist Society. She is the author of The Art of Enameling that was published in 2004. 

On Friday evening preceding the workshop we got some idea of her incredible energy and enthusiasm when we learned that she had risen at 3 am Tucson time, boarded a plane and flown more than seven hours, arrived at Tucson Parks & Recreation - Randolph Complex, prepared for the workshop and was still going strong at 7 pm when she began a one-hour lecture that featured slides of her own creations as well as examples of some of her students’ work.  She told us that she had begun her career as a potter.  When she saw a colleague doing enameling on metal she was hooked and has never looked back.  She considers herself first a teacher and then an artist. She told us that one of the great joys of teaching is what you learn from your students as they develop their own talents.
On Saturday morning we walked in the door and saw tables filled with beautiful samples of her work including finished jewelry.  The workshop was an overview of the various enameling techniques with detailed examples.  These included simple sifting, sifting through stencils, sgraffito, cloisonne, champleve, liquid enamels, painting and basse taille. Linda told us that she would normally spend 2 to 3 days teaching each method in a workshop.  She first presented a slide show overview of the various methods, the materials used and safety practices.  She then reviewed the simple sifting technique and we all practiced that technique with help and encouragement from Linda.

She then asked if we had preferences for specific techniques we were especially interested in learning.  She described the techniques that we requested in greater detail and gave demonstrations.  Each of the students then went off to practice their chosen techniques. Several times during the first day Linda presented detailed instructions and gave demonstrations of the other enameling techniques.   We then had the opportunity to work on whatever techniques interested us most.

During the second day we continued to work on the techniques of our choice.  This was a different experience for most of us with everyone working on different techniques and projects.  It required a tremendous amount of flexibility and support from Linda.  She was very accommodating, friendly and approachable and has a great sense of humor.  The really good news is that she will be returning to Tucson in the not too distant future to give another workshop that will concentrate on only a few (maybe one) techniques. Thank you for a great weekend, Linda.  We look forward to seeing you again soon.

For Linda Darty's book that was used for this workshop select this Amazon link:

The Art of Enameling: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration (Paperback)

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