WHAT IS ENAMEL?
Enamel is a glassy, frozen mass of an oxide composition formed by partial or complete melting, sometimes with the addition of metals, deposited on a metal base.
Other materials and coatings that do not meet this definition, although they are applied to metal and used for the same purpose, should not be associated with the concepts of “enamel” or “enamel”. So, for example, enamel varnish is called a very shiny enamel paint, and enamelled wire is a copper wire coated with enamel insulating paint.
The term enamel the author refers to both the material, as a type of decorative art, and the entire technology of manufacturing art products decorated with enamel. Metal and glass – two completely different materials – are joined together. From here not only exceptional artistic possibilities arise, but also complex technical problems. The thermal characteristics of special glasses intended for enamel must correspond to the thermal characteristics of the base metal; as a result of firing between these materials should be connected without the use of mechanical fasteners. The beauty of colored enamel, its resistance to chemical influences, strength is the result of its combination with metal. Everything that determines the use of enamel for more than two millennia in decorative and applied art and increasingly in modern industry is based, ultimately, on the special chemical and physical properties of glass-metal adhesion.
More is known today about metals and alloys than about enamel, since the interaction of metals with each other is much better studied. Light transmission enamels are divided into transparent, fondon, opaque and opal.
Transparent (transparent) enamels are made of various colors and brightness. The metal substrate is more or less clearly visible through the enamel. Fondon – colorless transparent enamel forms a colorless glossy coating on a metal substrate, is widely used in combination with colored enamels in artistic enameling. Opaque (opaque) enamels, when silencers are added to the mixture, become completely opaque. Can be obtained in all color shades. Opal (opalizing) enamels are half transparent, that is, they represent the middle between transparent and opaque enamels. Thanks to the special firing conditions, they acquire a specific look: they resemble milk opal.
In that case, if the enamel firing temperatures are sufficiently low, then the enamel can be deposited on both copper and silver and gold. Enamel, specially designed for silver and gold, is characterized in that its color is especially well manifested on these substrates.
To the question of how many enamels of various colors an enamel needs, it is impossible to give a concrete answer. It depends on the experience of the master and the task facing him.
Enhanced decorative, high performance properties of enamel make it possible to use this material to solve a wide range of design tasks.
Enamel surfaces and decorative elements have the highest chemical and mechanical resistance, which makes these coatings insensitive to high humidity and chemically aggressive environments. The presence of aluminum oxide (corundum) in the enamel compositions makes the enamel resistant to the aggressive influence of the atmosphere.
Therefore, you can safely use products and works of enamel in decorating the facades of houses and other architectural structures in the open air and in wet rooms. Art enamel will enrich and enhance the aesthetic significance of the pediments of buildings, fountains, watches, shades in saunas and pools.
Sophisticated execution technique, sophisticated and expensive equipment, materials and raw materials make art enamel artworks rare and expensive.
Physical and chemical processes taking place at high temperatures simultaneously are not fully understood. This requires the artist the ability to work on the forecast, the ability to anticipate and calculate the result in advance. Therefore, even the most high-class enamel masters can not flawlessly repeat the simplest work from the category of jewelry. What can we say about serious creative compositions.
Works of art using enamel technique are completely original and are not subject to repetition, even copyright. Fakes are generally unthinkable. The complexity of the technique itself makes enamel art elitist. All this is done by collecting collections of works of art made in the technique of artistic enamel, a worthy, passionate and exceptional occupation.