Enamelling copper bowls with Pat Johnson

Ref: S4D09026

Suitable for all

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About this course

Explore the beauty of fired enamels. Beginners will learn basic techniques and create simple, attractive bowls while experienced enamellers will develop more elaborate designs by carving through layers of enamel to reveal the colours below. Design and technical advice will be on hand.

Course Description

Enamelling on copper bowls allows the true beauty of fired enamels to emerge. Handsome results can be achieved by beginners using only very simple procedures, but the potential for discovering amazing effects, achieved with precision and control, is endless. The grains of enamel are held on the sides of the bowls by a fine layer of wallpaper paste, applied with a hand operated spray bottle. Designs and unique enamelling effects are achieved by applying several layers of different enamels, and carving patterns and shapes through the top layer to reveal the colours of the levels below. After several one or two minute firings, a simple enamelled bowl can be produced, but complicated effects might require many firings.

Eighteen different bowl forms, from high sided to saucers, will be available.

Enamelling begins on the first evening. Advanced students are able to start their own projects. Those new to enamelling spend the first evening learning how to apply and fire enamel to bowls. On subsequent evenings formal teaching continues until 5pm, after which the tutor will be in the room but not presenting any new techniques.

Enamelling is a very quick process and students are able to complete many bowls during this course. Beginners to enamelling are shown the basic processes, and there will be sample bowls on display, complete with instructions for achieving the effects, for all levels of difficulty.

Advanced students can work from the samples and their explanatory sheets, whilst beginners are taken through a series of steps to introduce the techniques for enamelling copper bowls.

Because students are working on their own projects, some choosing one technique, some another, the course has no set programme. Whenever a new technique is presented to a particular student, the others will be invited to take part. Students learning from one another is a vital part of the course.


Arrival Day - this is the first date listed above

Courses start early evening. Residential students to arrive from 4pm, non-residential students to arrive by 6.45pm.

6.45pm: Welcome, followed by dinner (included).

8 - 9pm: First teaching session, attendance is essential.

Daily timetable

Classes 9.15 - 5pm, lunch is included.

From 6.30pm: Dinner (included for residential students).

Evening working - students may have access to workshops, but only with their tutor's permission and provided any health and safety guidelines are observed.

Last day

Classes 9.15am - 3pm, lunch is included.

Residential students are to vacate their rooms by 10am please.

(This timetable is for courses of more than one day in length. The tutor may make slight variations)

Course Materials

What students need to bring

  • Although no preparation is required, it will be possible for students to plan ahead and receive advice from the tutor before the course starts. If you have any enquiries please email bookingsoffice@westdean.ac.uk and they will be shared with your tutor.
  • Protective clothing to include: stout closed toed footwear, apron/overall
  • Source materials
  • Any other enamelling equipment, if you wish

Available to buy

  • All support materials, if required: pens, paper, knives, and diagrit pads
  • The tutor will supply most of the materials - 20 gauge sheet copper; a selection of small copper dishes and bowls (from 20 to 25cm diameter); enamels. This cost is usually £15-£70, but could be more if you produce lots of work. Please pay the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.


Pat Johnson

Pat is self-taught in enamelling, discovering her techniques over many years of practice. Teaching at West Dean since the 1970s has widened her scope. Pat's bowls can be seen at Primavera Gallery in Cambridge and she has written many articles about the work of other enamellers and their techniques.


Residential option available. Find out accommodation costs and how to book here.

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