Jewelry, Vitreous Enameled Sculpture and Wall Pieces
Karen Hustwaite, Metalsmith - Enamelist
501 West Washington Street Middleburg VA 20117
Snickers Gap, Stop #34
Enameling is one of the oldest arts in history but has remained relatively unexplored in contemporary forms. The late Fred Ball, who experimented with non-traditional firing techniques on thin gauge metals in the late 1960’s, developed the enameling techniques which inspires me today.
Vitreous enamel is a thin coat of glass that is applied to a metal, then heated to a high temperature until the metal and glass are fused as one. Each enameled piece, whether it is for jewelry, a sculpture or a wall panel is first fabricated by hand then fired many times until I achieve the desired effect. The metals that I use in my work are copper, fine silver, fine gold and steel.
On most pieces I will start the design with a sketched concept. After the concept is formed, I prepare and fabricate the metal before beginning the enameling process. Once the metal has been enameled to its desired effect, I assemble and fabricate the jewelry settings.
I hand fabricate all my pieces and use soldering, cold connections, sawing, and piercing. Most of my jewelry pieces are enhanced with semi-precious as well as precious stones. As a metalsmith and enamelist, I strive to create one-of-a-kind pieces that are well crafted and highlight the unique beauty and depth of vitreous enamel.
Each wall piece is a mosaic of smaller individual tiles which are laminated together to form a larger piece of work. Each tile that you see on a finished wall hanging has been fired many times and are little pieces of artwork all on their own.
My inspiration comes from the world around me, my textile past and from the medium itself. It is the seductive gem-like quality of the enamel that leads me towards further exploration and experimentation. As you reflect on the depth and mystery of enamel, may you too be inspired to find your own creativity within.
Offering on tour: Enameled small sculptures, wall panels, and a variety of hand fabricated jewelry including earrings, necklaces, rings, and bracelets.
Directions to Karen Hustwaite, Metalsmith - Enamelist:
Proceeding west through Middleburg on Route 50, turn left into first driveway past the National Sporting Library & Museum and continue to house at the end of the driveway. Heading east from Upperville on Route 50, turn right into first driveway past the sign for the Middleburg Library and just opposite of Reed Street and continue to house at the end of the driveway.