Glass Enamel Samples / by Sasha Ward

Enamels in the studio

Enamels in the studio

Since I started using glass enamels in 1984 (date verified by original Blythe pot above) I have sampled the products of most enamel suppliers. I have just tried out some ancient looking envelopes of Reusche enamels, very fine but expensive, given to me by a colleague. I save my old enamels for small projects as many of them are now unobtainable because of the elements, including lead, that they contain.  In my favourite range I have completely used up some colours - my best ever test strips are on the windowsill below right, next to the new Reusche samples. 

Colour samples in my studio window                                                    Best ever enamel test strips & recent (smaller) Reusche strips

Colour samples in my studio window                                                    Best ever enamel test strips & recent (smaller) Reusche strips

The test pieces, which I sometimes vary by using dots or another layer of colour going the other way, look great in the studio windows but because they are usually on 6mm (thick) glass, it is hard to use them in stained glass commissions. They have recently been sorted or chucked during the great studio clear out. For our new shed door (below left) I used fifteen sample panels of the mostly brown enamels from a job shown in the photo at top right - complete with notes on colour mixes scratched through the paint. For one of my first ever stained glass commissions (below right) I made fake sample strips, this time texture added with acid etched stripes, an even more deadly substance that I no longer use.

Our shed door, 2014                                                                   Detail from front door commission, 1988

Our shed door, 2014                                                                   Detail from front door commission, 1988