Long before I was a jeweler, I was a folk artist. Art was all about the color. I made brightly colored steel sculptures. Handling 4’ x 8’ sheets of steel, welding, and plasma cutting were routine activities. But, I had a wandering eye – and it was scoping out jewelry.
As I moved into the jewelry realm, I learned traditional silversmithing techniques – sawing, piercing, fabricating and soldering. I searched for ways to get the color into my jewelry, and found beads and gemstones….Nice, but ordinary. After some exploration, I discovered enamels.
I applied for and received a scholarship to attend “Experimental Enameling”, a week long workshop at the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts. That class was my introduction to enameling. We practiced at least a dozen different ways of applying enamel. Then I went back to my studio and put what I learned to use. I first sifted designs. Then I experimented with foils, stringers, and other application methods. I later tried my hand at a few cloisonné pieces, and discovered that I don’t have the temperament for such detailed work – I prefer to work in larger strokes.
My enamel jewelry uses graphic designs and bold, contrasting colors. My current enamels process is a combination of using inlay, sifting, and painting techniques, where I apply and fire multiple layers to achieve my designs. The finished piece is set in sterling silver. Multiple part pieces have connecting components that permit movement.
I continue to be amazed at the wide range of processes that exist to create enamel jewelry. As a result, my techniques continue to evolve. Stay tuned to www.annfinley.com see what the next incarnation will bring and to purchase my current designs.