Source of Inspiration – German American Folk Art

Recently I’ve found myself drawn to a local source of inspiration: German American relics.  I find it interesting how everything seems to have a little elements of decoration to it – the primary source for my sketches has been antique butter molds and stamps.

It’s interesting to think that something that is so commonplace and utilitarian in appearance (little squared-off sticks) used to be presented in such a visually stunning way.  Can you imagine cutting into a beautifully molded cake of butter?  It would feel so much more opulent than carving off a knob from the usual butter sticks we have today.

The farm / harvest motifs found on these traditional molds have inspired several little charm sets offered in my Handcrafted Jewelry shop on Etsy.

To create these hand-drawn charms, a layer of enamel is fired onto the metal surface – my kiln runs at 1440 degrees F.  After the base layer is smoothed from the heat, I sketch with an enamel-based crayon onto the glass.  It takes several firings to complete the sketches because trying to layer too much detail will cause the waxy base of the enamel crayons to smear.

One final firing adheres the enamel pigment into the enameled base coat and burns off the waxy residue of the crayon, leaving a permanent hand-drawn design.

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