Kathryn Watne learned the art of enameling as a metal/jewelry major at the University of Washington in Seattle.
"A class in enameling got me hooked immediately; the color palette, the process of a powder becoming a jewel-like glass from being fired in a kiln was like magic," After graduating, she was a bike messenger, and was encouraged to continue learning about the process after seeing her professor, John Marshall, at a local coffee shop. She bought a kiln, some enamels and played around in the basement of her parents house, making pins for friends, selling at local art fairs.
Moving to Hood River in 1991 to pursue her love of windsurfing, artwork took a backseat to sports, but after a motorcycle accident, she spent more time in the studio reteaching herself techniques learned years ago, and is now a full time jewelry artist. Her style could be described as earthy, vibrant, and contemporary with a twist.
Enamel is mostly silica, which is glass. Oxides of metal are used for color. Opaque and transparent enamels are either sifted onto hand cut copper, or applied as a wet inlay using a small paintbrush. The first layer is fired in a kiln at 1450 degrees for 2-3 minutes. Cloisonné wire is bent, laid on the piece and it is refired; the glass melts and now the wire is attached. Several more firings bring the level of enamel up to the top of the wire, sanded smooth, and refired one last time to bring back the shine. Some pieces are left matte from sanding with a couple different grits of sandpaper.