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Artist takes submersion into copper emulsion

Staff writer

Ellen Rohl didn’t take an interest in copper enameling until she saw a friend doing it two years ago.

Rohl wasted no time jumping into the hobby head first, estimating that she traveled to around 20 craft shows in 2019.

“I could sell this,” she said. “I, frankly, don’t need this much jewelry. I’m only making it because I can sell it, but I like the process, I love the creativity.”

Despite Rohl’s interest, it wasn’t until nine months into the business venture that she decided to take a class at Mark Arts in Wichita.

The experience inspired her.

“There’s an art form to do this,” she said. “There’s also a science behind the marriage of the glass with the metal. I’m not really strong on that, since I learned from someone who largely was self-taught.”

Copper enameling fuses copper to coated glass enamel, but the process also can be done using gold or silver.

While she can change the metal she uses, two constants are that she needs pure metals, as opposed to alloys, and they have to be free of any oils from the skin or otherwise.

When Rohl fuses copper and glass she needs her kiln to be between 1,350 and 1,450 degrees for the baking process, but it doesn’t require an extended period of time.

“It doesn’t have to be in there long,” she said. “People think of a kiln, like a pottery kiln it has to stay in there for hours. No, it’s a matter of two to five minutes on average.”

Rohl enjoys serving her customers as well as being creative and making money.

“People don’t buy from a booth, they buy from a person,” Rohl said. “Whatever you’re selling, if you’re interacting then they’re going to buy from you.”

Rohl was one of a dozen vendors and several other businesses participating Saturday in Peabody’s Come Home for Christmas. While she wasn’t able to attend as many shows as she planned this year because of COVID-19, Rohl enjoyed the opportunity to see people in her community.

“This is one of the biggest reasons I do this show, because I live outside of Peabody,” she said. “I feel like this is my community. It’s a chance to meet and interact with people who live in this community.”

Last modified Dec. 10, 2020

 

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