Archive for Fred Ball

A Wealth of Experience: Pat Johnson’s Landmark Book, Enamelling on Copper

 Enamelling on Copper by Pat Johnson

Crowood Press

reviewed by Judy Stone


The simple title, Enamelling on Copper, suggests the two most important aspects of this landmark book. Pat Johnson, who lives in the UK, has written a book that draws directly on her wealth of experience with enamel and its interactions with her chosen metal substrate, copper. Perhaps most significantly, she takes the oft-denigrated technique of sifting, or enamel layering using dry applications, and re-introduces it to young enamelists. Read More →

Looking Back to Look Forward

by Evelyn Markasky

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Detail of Fred Ball piece from the exhibition Little Dreams in Glass and Metal

The Center for Enamel Art is not just a place to take workshops. It also provides opportunities to experience enameling in new and and even life-altering ways. For me, the Center’s bus tour of Fred Ball’s work in Sacramento was this kind of opportunity.

Led by Susan Willoughby, art advisor, long-time leader in the Sacramento art community, and the executor of Ball’s estate, the tour was very well-organized and planned. (Added bonus: We didn’t have to think about driving or parking!) We were taken to some of Ball’s most spectacular public works, Read More →

How Now Fred Ball?

The Center for Enamel Art is excited to host a guided bus tour on Saturday, June 25, of the work of noted Sacramento enamel artist Fred Ball.

To learn more and to register, click here



Ball sitting in front of tiles for The Way HomeFred Uhl Ball: The Legacy of a Pioneering Artist

Recently, I have been wondering about the legacy of one the most important American enamelists of the 20th century, Fred Uhl Ball (1945-1985). I never met him, though he lived, worked and taught in Sacramento, CA, about an hour from my home, and frequented the supply store in San Francisco where I bought my enamels. But even in absentia, Ball was a mentor to me. His book, Experimental Techniques in Enameling (1972), came out the same year I began enameling professionally, and formed the basis of my journey into enameling.Ball book cover

It was easy to be affected by Ball back then — his influence and presence resonated throughout northern California. He was an icon, the son of well-known Sacramento artists, and thoroughly of the area in which he lived. His work was commissioned and collected by a variety of patrons, and he produced several large-scale wall commissions for both public and private spaces. The most recognizable of his pieces, The Way Home, was installed on the side of a large parking garage in downtown Sacramento, and for many years was the featured image on the front of the Thompson Enamel catalogue.

Fred Ball's The Way Home on side of City parking garage Sacramento

“The Way Home,” installed on the side of a municipal parking garage in Sacramento

An Untimely Death

Ball died young, at a time when his potential seemed limitless. Read More →

Part II: What Is Missing From This Picture?

This is the second of our two-part series, Challenges and Opportunities for Artists Who Choose Enamel, an essay by our intern Zhou Zoe Yuan. You can read the first part here.

We welcome comments on this article! Do you agree with the challenges and opportunities described here? What has your own experience been? Post in the comments section below or write us at gro.r1518951557etnec1518951557leman1518951557e@gol1518951557b1518951557



Fred Ball's wall installation Valley Fields at the Raley's corporate headquarters in Sacramento, CA - comprised of many smaller pieces

Visitors admire “Valley Fields,” a large-scale wall installation by Fred Ball, at Raley’s corporate headquarters in Sacramento, CA.

Enamel Exhibitions – Where Are They?

In addition to the dearth of educational resources, another major obstacle facing contemporary enamelists is Read More →