Artist: Cynthia Miller
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After receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree from the University of Illinois, I studied Copper Enameling with Richard Loving at the Art Institute of Chicago. A Masters Degree in Fine Arts from Northwestern University in 1978 completed my formal arts education. I have also acted and directed professionally and have been a member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Screen Actors Guild, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.
“The Arts are my lifelong passion. Copper enameling captures and celebrates light and color and depth that transforms any space. Many of my enameled pieces are designed like musical compositions: colors overlay and peek through each other, revealing lush depths under a smooth shiny surface. Just as jazz and chamber musicians explore, dialogue, and trade musical themes from one instrument to another, so color moves from one area to another on the copper. It is exhilarating to explore the evolution of a composition as each successive layer adds luminosity and depth. Each composition is unique and intended to stimulate your imagination.”
Creating copper enamel art is an adventure. Copper enameling is permanent, brilliant color. It is glass, not paint. I create copper enamel wall installations in panels, which, when displayed together, create large compositions of flowing patterns and gemlike colors. I work on the design of the composition as a whole, but each panel is fired individually. I start with panels of solid copper which have been scoured until they gleam. Vitreous enamel (pulverized glass) is gently sifted onto the copper.
The kiln interior has been heated to a glowing orange; powdered glass melts and fuses onto the copper as it is fired. As the panel cools, the vibrant and subtle hues are revealed . Sometimes enamel “jewels” are added to the design. The sifting–and – firing cycle is repeated until the desired effect is achieved. There can be as many as ten layers of color and multiple firings of each panel. It is exhilarating to explore the evolution of a composition as each successive layer adds luminosity and depth.
The colors remain rich and permanent. People are drawn to run their fingers over the finished surfaces because they are shiny and smooth and cool to the touch. Copper enamel panels are tolerant of weather: water, sunlight, heat and cold.
Each composition is unique and intended to stimulate your imagination.