Enamelling on silver with Joan MacKarell

Ref: SLW08884

Suitable for all

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About this course

Create personal designs in coloured enamels on silver. Both beginners and those with some experience will learn basic techniques or improve their skills. Receive expert tuition in the techniques of cloisonné, champlevé, plique-à-jour and the use of foils.

Course Description

This course will provide a framework to learn, improve and develop enamelling skills.

Learn how to design and construct jewellery and small-scale silversmithing suitable for enamelling and then explore both traditional techniques of champlevé, cloisonné, painting enamel, and the use of foils. If requested you will also be shown more non traditional methods of using enamel. Learn how to prepare the metal and enamel with a focus on the correct use of the equipment and tools. Finally you will gain an understanding of how to finish enamel with different surfaces.

By the end of the course you should have produced work that builds on your own personal voice; and you will have a better understanding of how to design and make the metalwork to achieve a good enamel outcome.

Technical worksheets, list of suppliers and videos will be supplied so that you can continue developing ideas in your own workshop.


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


  • On this course the tutor will supply some enamels, gold/silver foil and silver stampings for use by the group. If additional supplies are required they should be purchased separately from the tutor - this charge should be paid to the tutor before the end of the course, by cash or cheque.

What students need to bring

  • As time is short it would be useful if you could bring some jewellery pieces already made up on which to work. If this is not possible the tutor will have silver stamping pieces suitable for jewellery on sale. Please read the guidance notes, especially about construction and soldering for enamel pieces.
  • Apron/overall
  • Any jewellery tools especially fine tweezers and scissors
  • Painting palettes or flat containers (lids)
  • A fine pointed paintbrush
  • Any enamels
  • Sketchbook ideas and drawing materials
  • Any pieces of enamel work you have created and wish to discuss. Prepared pieces to enamel if you can as time is short

Available to buy

  • Fine paint brushes 0 or 1
  • Carborundum sticks
  • Copper sheet
  • Silver sheet - up to 1mm thick
  • Art materials
  • Jewellery hand tools will be on loan if needed

Guidance notes on 'Designing with enamel' from Joan MacKarell Enamel should be thought of as an integral part of your design not an add-on decorative effect. Consider; The thickness of the metal; small pieces need to be 0.8-1mm thick, larger pieces 1.2-1.5mm. Can the piece be domed/formed slightly to make it into a 'stronger' shape? Keep shapes and forms simple with no sharp edges or angles. Enamel and solder do not like one another so don't have solder joints across areas that are to be enamelled and only use hard or enamelling grade solder. Construct the piece in a way that only necessary parts have to be put in the kiln, e.g. regard the enamelled sectionas a stone that can be 'set' in a bezel after enamelling or as a part that can be attached to the main piece by riveting screwing or pinning. Stone settings placed close to enamel can be problematic. Don't regard all these points as problems - just think round them and be creative!


Joan MacKarell

First degree in textiles, and then retrained at Sir John Cass metalwork department in jewellery and enamel. Founder member of British Society of Enamelers and director of Studio Fusion Gallery for the last 18 years where her work can be seen. Has had work published in numerous books on enamel and jewellery, both in the US and UK.


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

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