Enamelling for beginners with Sheila R McDonald

Ref: SWE08998


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About this course

Discover the alchemy of enamelling by practising on copper and progressing to simple silver jewellery. Learn how to translate colour and texture ideas and the techniques of using fine wires and metal leaf.

Course Description

The aims of this course are to introduce enamelling skills to beginners and to show how colour, texture and coloured ideas can be translated into enamels.

Starting with a series of basic test pieces on copper, simple techniques are covered. You should then move on to working on small silver or copper items and by the end of the course produce a small simple item of jewellery.

This is a fine enamelling course and we cover the washing and grinding of enamels in preparation for wet packing. This allows much more scope for controlled and detailed work. We also work with fine wires and gold and silver leaf. The tutor will provide a variety of enamel samples which should encourage you to experiment.

Those with no experience of enamelling follow small steps with copper samples. If you have had some experience then you are encouraged to incorporate some of the other techniques into your samples. You are encouraged to bring examples of your own work as a starting point to discuss ideas.


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


  • Enamels used by the group as a whole.
  • Sheila provides small colour fabric samples which should give you inspiration for test pieces.

What students need to bring

  • Apron/overall
  • Small glass/plastic containers, to contain wet enamel
  • Scissors, cutting tools
  • Fine tweezers/pliers
  • Any jewellery tools (a kit of basic tools may also be hired from the shop)
  • Any enamels you may already have

Available to buy

  • Copper sheet 1.2mm
  • Silver sheet 1.0mm
  • Fine paint brushes
  • Drawing materials
  • Cutting tools


Sheila R McDonald

Shelia R Mcdonald is a graduate of Glasgow School of Art and the Royal College of Art. She works as a freelance jeweller and enameller, undertakes commissions and exhibits widely.


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

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