Averill Shepps has been working with enamels for over 40 years, producing work for sale and exhibition. She has shown her work at major craft shows, especially in the northeast part of the United States.
She is best known for her free use of enamel, producing works that look spontaneous. This is a difficult feat with a medium that is so exacting. Her enamels have movement and rhythm as well; the compositions are seldom static. Enamel's intrinsic qualities, its glassiness, its color reflectivity and shiny surface are very evident in her work. One hardly needs to ask, "What is this made of?", when the material is so obviously glass.
Since she seeks to use enamels as an expressive medium and to bring out the material's basic nature, she uses simple metal forms, preferring the metal to act as a canvas on which she works with enamel, rather than shaping metal and decorating it with the medium.
A statement about her work, printed in Glass on Metal in February 1988:
"I want my work to look as free and spontaneous as possible. I hope that the viewer will respond to the simplicity of the design or the lushness of a brush stroke frozen in enamel as he or she would to a Sumi-e painting. Yet enameling is such an exacting craft that a true sense of freedom in design is almost impossible using traditional techniques. Very early in my development as an enamelist I found I had to develop my own ways of working in order to obtain the results I desired. I now work backwards. I fire the design onto a piece first, building it in a series of firings or layers of enamel. Only after the design is completed do I apply a coat of enamel over the entire surface."
The Gallery piece entitled Snowburst is a good example of a work showing this technique. Blue Plate and Plate with Gold are also examples.
Shepps at email@example.com.
enamelist.com website copyright © 2008, Averill Shepps.