Karen Wettlaufer is a metalsmith who lives in Paris, Ontario. She designs and creates hand-built jewellery and artwork from her studio and gallery on William St. Hiking the woodlands and fields surrounding this beautiful town, she forages and photographs the rural landscape. These textures, colours and vistas make their way into each unique piece.
Jewellery Process The jewellery is created by imprinting natural and found materials into pure silver “clay”. These are then shaped, dried, and fired at a specific temperature in a kiln that burns off the organic matter that is combined with the metal, leaving behind hardened pure silver. At this point the piece is finished into the earrings, pendants, and rings, which are often combined with Sterling Silver and copper or gold accents. Some pure silver pieces have vitreous enamel applied to add colour. This is ground glass in a powder like consistency that is applied to the silver and then fired in a kiln until the glass melts and adheres to the silver.
Vitreous Enamel Pieces
The wall and jewellery pieces with images are created using my own photographs and sometimes vintage botanical print images. Copper is coated with powdered glass enamel and fired in a kiln to the melting point of the glass, which binds it to the copper surface. Each colour is a typically a separate firing. The image is transferred onto the background colour and fired into place. Iron oxide from the transfer is melted into the top surface of the background enamel, which creates the sepia tone. This is an exacting process as too much heat can result in the image disappearing into the top layer of glass. Many pieces are then hand coloured using vitreous enamel paints (finely ground glass & water) air dried and fired again. Each additional colour is a separate firing.
The 3-Dimensional pieces are a new technique I developed to add depth to specific designs. Each shape is hand cut copper using a jewellery saw and then the same process as above is applied. When complete all pieces are assembled and secured in multiple layers to create the dimensional effect.