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ECU professor writes enameling book

(Nov. 24, 2004)   —   When East Carolina University's Linda Darty couldn't find a text on enameling and started typing handouts for her students, she threatened to write a book.

"That was 20 years ago,"said the School of Art and Design professor.This month, her work "The Art of Enameling," is available for sale.

"I guess I got tired of typing handouts"

Darty says the work is the first comprehensive book on the subject since the 1950s. "Colleagues and students have asked me to write a book for a long time. There are many metals programs that want to offer enameling, but the instructors don't know the techniques. I'm confident that this book will make it so that students anywhere can learn how to use glass on metal."

Last year the Enamelist Society, an international organization, recognized Darty with a lifetime achievement award, indicating that she is indeed most qualified to write the text on the subject. Yet the book isn't just for classroom use.

The illustrated work is divided into sections covering fundamentals, techniques and projects. Interspersed are photos of enameling history, covering works from 13th century Greece to the evolution of the Kohler factory in America.

The project and technique sections of the book feature enameling examples by East Carolina faculty artists who hadn't previously enameled. Painting, drawing and printmaking professors Paul Hartley, Michael Voors, Catherine Walker, Joan Mansfield, Scott Eagle, Beth Blake and Ray Elmore all created enamels for the book using their drawing and painting skills. Professors Robert Ebendorf, Tim Lazure and Mi-sook Hur as well as graduate students in the metal design program created step-by-step projects to illustrate different techniques.

"There are new materials in enameling that make it easy to paint and draw. In the book I've used examples from people who have never enameled before to illustrate that it's not that hard to do," Darty said.

Darty lived at Penland School of Crafts in Western North Carolina's Blue Ridge Mountains for seven years, learning many of her techniques from a variety of world-class enamel instructors. "I feel privileged to have studied enameling with so many professionals and this book is the product of all that I learned from them." Darty said.

"I am especially proud have written this book about contemporary enameling, not only because enameling is such a passionate interest of mine, but also because I believe that it's a material that some artists and most of the general public have yet to discover. For many, the art of enameling suffers from a pre-conception that grew, perhaps, from childhood handicraft activities. I wanted to present it in a new light," she said.

Darty's book, "The Art of Enameling," can be found in bookstores starting in November. The book retails for $24.95 and is published by Lark Books, a division of Sterling Books in New York City. It is currently available on e-commerce sites such as Amazon.com and barnesandnoble.com.

Darty appeared Nov. 5 at her first booksigning at Chicago's Sculptural Objects and Functional Art Exposition, where she signed and sold 100 copies in two days. Northern Illinois University has adopted the book for courses offered this spring.

Darty is in demand as a lecturer, scheduled to appear this academic year at the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth, Arrowmont School of Crafts, The League of New Hampshire Craftsmen, the Armory Art Center of West Palm Beach, Florida and the conference of the International Enamelist Society.


 


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