The Alchemy of Enameling with Nicky Sadler
Also known as 'Staff Training'
Stoking the fires of creativity, camaraderie, and cake.
Nothing beats the suspense of a well-planned surprise. So, with a car full of excited, clueless and caffeinated team we left The Upcycled Home HQ and braved the city to expand our knowledge of, well at this point, who knows what? We all thought we were having a ladder safety training day!
Nicky is the most welcoming and bountiful host, on arrival to the carefully curated 'Alma Yard' we were welcomed with open arms, tea, and delectable cinnamon and cardamom, buns from the famous 'Heyl Bakery' which is also on-site.
We are all super fans of Nicky Sadler, so when Nicky said she was running a workshop for us to make enamelled earrings, we were delighted. Most of us were already, coincidentally, wearing some of Nicky's designs, the colours, and effect of the enamel with Nicky's style creates such dynamic and unique pieces of art, everyone notices them wherever you go.
The journey started with some of Nicky's copper shapes, inspired by more natural elements and with something unique for each of us to celebrate our personalities. The copper feels light and tactile, and the shapes inspire the next steps in the creative process. Our inspiration came from the natural world, and the local area, the beach, leaves, insects, the sea and the sky. Spending time making and creating felt so good for the mind and soul.
The enamel gives a huge variety of vibrant colours to choose from, with options to layer colours and patterns. There is absolutely no guarantee of how it comes out after being fired for a short time in the kiln which made it all very exciting. Using the kiln was quite scary, but we all gave it a go and got a bit more confident as went along. Each colour and face of the earring needed firing, which resulted in several short firings. Nicky was so patient and helped us to make our visions a reality and to understand the wizardry of enamel; it is truly a subtle art form.
In order to create our colourful designs we had some control over the amount of enamel powder dusted onto the copper, how long it was fired for, and what pattern was included using stencils.
The results were incredible and far beyond what we thought we were capable of making. Choosing to work with enamel allows Nicky to use colour and this was one of the things that inspired her exploration into enamel art. We agree, we love colour and the way Nicky has used it to create her vibrant designs, we were quite proud of our attempts too.
Can you guess who made which earrings? They are all so different but uniquely beautiful. Thank you to the wonderful Helen for giving us time and space to enjoy spending time together, learning new techniques and meeting one of our favourite makers. I think it is safe to say we have all caught the enamel bug and feel more connected to the creative network and the local area.
We had a wonderful day making memories and being creative, which is something we rarely get to do these days. We discovered the alchemy of enamel and found that the careful chemistry wasn't so different from the magic of friendship we have here at The Upcycled Home..... sort of not really planned, lots of fun, and not what we expected at all but ultimately, much better; a network of support, celebrating the joy of creativity, positivity, and making people smile.
Thanks for reading and hopefully see you soon,
Photos by Nikki and Nicky
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