Enamel, Laser & Decal Memories

With the addition of one of my Grandfather’s diaries, alongside the old family photographs I have already sourced, I have really enjoyed introducing these onto my recent vitreous enamel on steel samples.

The diary dates from 1945, and documents my Grandfather’s life in India at the end of WWII. His diary isn’t comprehensive and was clearly never written for anybody else’s eyes – Simple daily snippets, beautifully raw and honest. He records buying my Grandmother an engagement ring, the many letters written to her and of course their wedding.

With the help of Abbie Williams, I had great fun experimenting with lasering extracts from the diary and my family photos onto vitreous enamel. The textures I had created breaking through the layers of enamel, worked well as backdrops. The diary clippings in these samples are perhaps more successful than the images, but this potentially could just be about placement.

The images which filled the panels, certainly have more impact. I also wasn’t keen on the straightforward text, but this again could be about my choice of font. My only other concern with the laser, was that it really diminished the glorious shine that vitreous enamel displays – leaving quite a matt pixilated finish.

Next, I returned to trying out Inkjet waterslide decals onto some of my steel and vitreous enamel samples. I really liked these results, what really made a difference was the quality of the enamel surface. I am worried about the durability of these decals, so I will be testing this out, as well as continuing my research with kiln fired decals.

For comparison, I also tried out Inkjet printed waterslide decals onto some enamel paint samples. The results just didn’t have the same depth as on the vitreous enamel or the beautiful speckled edge that occurs in kiln firing. The decals themselves also shrank and wrinkled on top of the paint – The enamel paint just didn’t react well to be gently heated. I have one option left which is to air-dry, which will take a few days. I also wonder if I sand the enamel paint, if perhaps I can recreate some of the kiln fired effect.

In the background I have also started experimenting with enamelling some of my 3D objects, I have started making in mild steel. The results so far are far from perfect, but I can see with some practice there is plenty of potential.

Through the progression of my project, I have thought more and more about the role of our memories in aligning our placement of sentimentality. My siblings and I remember certain family events very differently – But, how can two people remember the same event differently?

My Grandfather’s diary threw up some similar questions. He wrote about buying an engagement ring with 18 diamonds, the one my mother inherited only has 13. Inside the diary was a newspaper clipping announcing the wedding – It lists my Grandmother’s Step-Father as walking her down the aisle. My Mother recalls the story of my Grandmother’s biological Father dying in a fire at home; In contrast other family members believed he had died in a mining accident.

I guess, our accurate recollection of memories, especially those embedded in emotion is complicated. Over time, inaccuracies can creep in, take hold and get passed on. But does this alter our perception of sentimentality? I hope as my project develops that this is something I can further research and will continue to inform my practice.


One thought on “Enamel, Laser & Decal Memories

  1. Interesting mix of craft and intellectual thought Naomi. I hope this work develops and proves fruitful I’m your longer term studies.


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