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Little Dreams in Glass and Metal:

Enameling in America, 1920 to the Present

October 7, 2016 – December 31, 2016

Organized by the Enamel Arts Foundation. The exhibition has been made possible through funding from the Windgate Charitable Foundation, with additional support provided by The McLeod Family Foundation, Beth and Gregg Coccari, and other generous contributors.

Enameling – the art of fusing glass to metal through a high temperature firing process – gained widespread popularity in the United States in last half of the twentieth century. Now in the first decades of the twenty-first century, artists throughout the country continue to explore enamel in a variety of forms, finding new meaning and rich expressive potential in the vibrant color and layered depth of this time-honored medium.

Mary Chuduk, Veiled, 2009, Enamel on copper, electroformed copper, hair, and pearls, 7 x 7 1/2 x 1 in. (plaque), Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation
The first nationally traveling exhibition to survey this dynamic field in more than fifty years, Little Dreams in Glass and Metal is organized by the Los Angeles-based Enamel Arts Foundation. Taking its title from a phrase artist Karl Drerup used to describe the extraordinary properties of the medium—“I appreciate knowing when someone derives joy from the long hours I spend in making these little dreams out of glass and metal”—Little Dreams includes 121 artworks from the Foundation’s collection of modern and contemporary enamels.

The exhibition features a rich diversity of objects in both form and scale—from jewelry to large enamel-on-steel wall panels—as it explores the history of enameling in this country throughout the past 100 years. Among the 90 artists included are such early pioneers in the field as Fred Uhl Ball, Kenneth Bates, Karl Drerup, Doris Hall, Edward Winter, and Jade Snow Wong; to many of its current luminaries, including Jamie Bennett, Harlan Butt, William Harper, John Iversen, and June Schwarcz; as well as emerging artists who are making significant advancements to the field today, such as Jessica Calderwood, Helen Elliott, David Freda, Gretchen Goss, James Malenda, Sarah Perkins, and others.

Little Dreams in Glass and Metal is complemented by a fully illustrated publication with introductory essay and artist profiles by the exhibition’s co-curators, Bernard N. Jazzar and Harold B. “Hal” Nelson. The publication is distributed by the University of North Carolina Press and is currently available for purchase in the Museum Shop.



Featured Works from the Exhibition


Arthur Ames, Assemblage, c. 1955, Enamel on copper, 1/2 x 6 1/2 x 6 1/2 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

Jean Goodwin Ames (1903 – 1986), Angel in Adoration, c. 1952, Enamel on copper, 10 x 8 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation, Photo credit: Jairo Ramirez

Fred Uhl Ball (1945 – 1985), Untitled, 1982, Enamel on copper, 72 x 48 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation, Photo credit: Jairo Ramirez

Kenneth F. Bates, Brooch, 1947, Enamel on copper, sterling silver, 2 x 1 3/4 x 3/8 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

Mary Chuduk, Veiled, 2009, Enamel on copper, electroformed copper, hair, and pearls, 7 x 7 1/2 x 1 in. (plaque), Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

David C. Freda, Study of Newborn White Crown Sparrows, Eggs, and Adults, 2001, Fine silver, 24K and 18K yellow gold, sterling silver, opals, and enamel, 9 x 6 1/4 x 1 3/4 in., Purchased with funds contributed by the Windgate Charitable Foundation, Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

Doris Hall (1907 – 2000), Fish, 1951, Enamel on copper, 6 x 9 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation, Photo credit: Jairo Ramirez

William Harper (1944 - ), Labyrinth, 1984, Gold, silver, cloisonné enamel on copper, fine silver, amethyst, tourmaline, pearl, and snail shell, 3 3/4 x 1 1/2 x 3/4 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation, Photo credit: Jairo Ramirez

Harold B. Helwig, Venus Giving Birth to a Black Pearl, 1974, Enamel on copper, 7/8 x 7 7/8 x 6 7/8 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

June Jasen, Wide Mouth Bass, 2007, Enamel, copper wire cloth, brass wire, and low-fired ceramic materials, 3 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 4 3/4 in., Gift of the artist, Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

Esteban Perez (1939 - ), Burning Sunset, 1970, Enamel on copper, silver wire, 9 x 9 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation, Photo credit: Jairo Ramirez

June Schwarcz (1918 – 2015), Vessel #2193 “Dancer”, 2001, Electroformed copper foil, enamel, 8 x 8 5/8 x 10 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation, Photo credit: Jairo Ramirez

Mildred G. Watkins, Footed Bowl, c.1920, Enamel on silver, 1 x 3 1/4 x 3 1/4 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

Edward Winter, Vegetabilis, 1940, Enamel on steel, 24 x 24 in. (plaque), 24 1/4 x 24 1/4 x 1 1/8 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

David C. Freda, Lucky Strike, 2002, Fine silver, 24K, 18K and 14K yellow gold, aluminum, pearls, and enamel, 4 x 2 1/2 x 1 1/2 in., Collection of the Enamel Arts Foundation

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John and Robyn Horn

JCT Trust

Judge Robert and Mary Lynn Dudley

Jackye and Curtis Finch, Jr.



Marion Fulk

Thomas & Thomas LLP

Alan DuBois Contemporary Craft Fund

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