Archive for industrial enameling

Large Scale Enameling at KVO Industries

The Center for Enamel Art is proud to sponsor this program with our partner, KVO Industries, in Santa Rosa, CA. Our last weekend has been postponed until 2018 because of the turmoil caused by the extensive fires in Northern California, which came within 100 feet of KVO. Stay Tuned for news about the Center’s 2018 large-scale enameling program.

  Oct. 21-23

Register Now:  Oct.


  • If you are already working with porcelain enameled steel you will receive expert technical help. Note: these workdays are not workshops so there will be no formal instruction taking place although there will be lots of knowledge sharing.
  • If you are working in other 2-D media this is a wonderful opportunity to explore the creative potential of “porcelain” enamel for painters, drawers, and printmakers.
  • For artists working in the venue of “Art in Public Places”, creating large scale 2-dimensional or 3-dimensional “Site Specific” Art, this will give you the opportunity to experience a medium that is color-fast, and impervious to UV light and weather.
  • If you are looking to start a small business making beautifully designed functional objects and architectural elements that could incorporate porcelain enameled steel, this is the opportunity to make sample products for future small scale production runs.
  • If you have a commission or project that you would like to create in porcelain enameled steel you will be able to come to KVO for a discounted 3-day weekend (Sat.-Mon.) under the auspices of the Center for Enamel Art.
  • If you are in instructor wanting to bring a class to work or tour the facility you will be able to book your visit through the Center.

Most tools, equipment, and supplies will be provided or made available for purchase. After you register you will receive more detailed information on how to prepare for a working in the factory. Center for Enamel Art facilitators, will be on hand to assist all participants. KVO staff will provide technical assistance.

$145 –  (including most materials and supplies) for individual workdays Saturdays and Sundays only. Facilitators and staff will be on hand.
$750 – day rate for class visits Saturdays and Sundays only. Maximum 10 participants plus instructor. Center facilitators and KVO staff will be on hand.
$750 –  3-day Residency – Saturday through Monday (must be booked for the entire 3 days). Please contact Judy Stone if you are considering a project booking through the Center.
If you would like to work for more than 3 days at KVO  you can book additional days directly with KVO.  Additional days may cost more per daily rate.
$250 –  2 hour factory tour for 25 participants max. These must be booked directly through the Center for Enamel Art and scheduled according to factory availability with KVO.


Painting enamels

Painting with enamels at KVO

About KVO

KVO is a small firm that specializes in interpretive porcelain enameled steel signage for exterior installation.  The company welcomes artists and has produced many public art commissions over the years.  They specialize in beautiful 4-color enamel photography, precise screen images, and unprecedented technical excellence of what they produce.  Artists can request quotes for projects or commissions and can also ask to come to the factory on a day rate to work on their own projects outside of those days set side for discounted rates by the Center for Enamel Art

About The Enamel Industry

The enamel industry is largely unknown to artists as a means to produce exterior installations that are long lasting, weather- and graffiti-impervious. The medium is suited to one-of-a kind creative functional objects for interior and exterior furnishings, architectural elements, garden and building design. Industrial work is usually made with steel or cast iron.

Enameling Recycled Steel for Jewelry and Objects – a workshop with Melissa Cameron

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Are you the magpie always collecting bits of rusty steel on the street? Are there bits of magnetic metal in your studio that you’ve tucked away, swearing that one day you’ll clean them up to make a masterpiece? Bring your rusty recycled bits and bobs to The Crucible in Oakland to learn the skills to turn these into beautiful and unique jewels.

This class will involve diagnosing scrap metals to find their suitability for enameling, proper enamel-on-steel surface preparation, liquid and sifted enamel application, trivet modifications (with titanium wire), and firing tips for steel. It will also include design tips for getting the most out of the enamel parts and to assist each participant in making their found pieces into wearable jewels and beautiful objects.

Attempts to Kill -vitreous enamel, recycled steel tortilla pan, titanium, stainless steel

There is great narrative potential with steel and enamel, owing to steel’s strength and durability over the other enamel metals. It can be used over much larger expanses, while remaining unexpectedly light. Steel is a chameleon, able to be used in luscious, precious looking works and the complete opposite, textured and dramatic displays, all able to be supplemented by the natural decay of steel. These inherent characteristics add richness to the colors and effects of enamel, and make it the ideal contemporary jewelry and object material.


Melissa Cameron was born in Perth, Australian in 1978. (BA interior architecture, Curtin University, Perth, 2002, MFA and metalsmithing, Monash University, Melbourne, 2009) She relocated to Seattle in 2012.

Melissa’s works have been exhibited worldwide and are in several prestigious collections. She has participated in enamel residencies in the UK and Germany and the Penland Winter Residency in the US and her pieces are featured in Jewel Book, Art Jewelry Today 3 and Lark Books’ 500 Silver Jewelry Designs, as well as the upcoming Tales from the Toolbox: Narrative Jewellery, edited by Mark Fenn. She is the recipient of multiple grants from the Australia Council for the Arts and a Fellowship grant from Artist Trust in Seattle. She has presented papers at many conferences and symposia. Her writing appears on Art Jewelry Forum. She currently serves on the Metalsmith Magazine Editorial Advisory Committee.

Melissa regularly teaches workshops  in Seattle, and was one of two featured enamelists teaching and presenting at the Enamel Guild Northeast Conference in 2015.

She recently won a best of show award for her pieces in the 2017 Alchemy 4 exhibition sponsored by the Enamelist Society.

Workshop Hours:

Wednesday – Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM , with meal breaks

Cost: $425 plus $20 materials fee

Materials List: Provided upon registration or when ready

Registration: Limited to 12

Refund Policy: No refunds unless your workshop position can be filled by another person.

Lodging, Meals, Transportation:

Coming from out of town? Check AirBnB, Priceline, and other discounted online lodging sources, The Center will try help you make your stay comfortable and stress free while you are a workshop participant.

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Kat Cole Enamels Her Work at KVO Industries, Part 3

This is the eighth in a series of guest posts by the enamel artist Kat Cole. This post previously appeared on her blog

kvo-3-1The process of enameling at KVO was a bit of a fast – slow – slow pace. I would have windows of time that I would have my spray gun ready to hop into the spray booth and get a coat on during the workers’ breaks. Their workday would usually begin at 6am and go until 3pm. I got into the habit of getting there around 7am, enjoying the time just being in the space and listening to the guys chat. They were all helpful and knowledgeable about the various processes. Read More →

Kat Cole Enamels Her Work at KVO Industries, Part 2

This is the seventh in a series of guest posts by the enamel artist Kat Cole. This post previously appeared on her blog


Grey panels

By the end of my first day at KVO Industries my crate had still not arrived and I was beginning to panic.  My time was limited to this one week in Santa Rosa, and if the crate did not arrive and I did not get the work done, I would have no option but to pack it back up and send it back home to Dallas unfinished. And, while I was renting time and space at KVO, I still had to be courteous of the workers’ spraying and firing schedule. 


The memorial panels in process

The week I was there was a busy one.  They had just begun on a big order for a large number of blank grey panels that would be used for changeable vinyl signage at a university. Also that week, they were working on a series of prototype photo collage panels for a funeral home that would be mounted on headstones. The use of durable enamel signage for grave makers was not a use that had occurred to me before, but turns out to be a growing market.

I began my second day at KVO with still no crate, and spent the morning calling the freight company and working on samples. I would be using a combination of Thompson Enamels and KVO’s in-house mixed enamels. I had worked with this combo at home, but knew you could never do too many samples, and something new always comes up working in a new space.

To clean the surface of small parts, they taught me to take old liquid enamel and rubbed it all over the piece, allow it to dry then brushed it off. Worked like a charm, all oils and dirt removed.

kvo-2-3Finally midday my crate arrived and work would really begin.  The panels would need to be sanded in the areas where rust had begun to form and a few needed additional tabs added for hanging.  The interior of the KVO kiln is eight feet long and seven feet high and three feet deep.  There are hanging tracks on both sides so during high production they do not have to wait for a load to cool and be unloaded before doing the next firing.  By the end of my second day the panels were washed and ready to begin work.

Panels going into the parts washer for a good cleaning

Panels going into the parts washer for a good cleaning

Kat Cole Enamels Her Work at KVO Industries, Part 1

This is the sixth in a series of guest posts by the enamel artist Kat Cole. This post previously appeared on her blog

Note: It is at this point I would like to say thank you to the people that were integral to making my trip possible, those that were so generous to open up their homes to me and share their knowledge.  Judy, Brooke, Linda, Steve–you all were my cheerleaders through what was both an incredibly stressful and exciting experience and I cannot thank you enough.


Installation by Ellen Forney in Seattle bus station, made by KVO Industries

KVO Industries is located in picturesque northern California in the small town of Santa Rosa.  This operation has been fabricating porcelain enamel signage for the last 16 years and grew out of a larger factory that re-located away from Santa Rosa in 2000. KVO is a small company running impressive facilities with incredible possibilities.  They have made signage for the state and national park systems, large-scale outdoor images for cities and museums, and worked with artists to re-create images of their work in enamel for public projects. Read More →