Saturday, 5 October 2013 00:00 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

By Layla Gonaduwa Enamelled-scapes, intensified or simplified to suit my nostalgia of experiences, encounters, moments and places. These events are within the span of last three years, and it is the first step towards a more complete and comprehensive take of the past. I had to work within a certain framework to keep it uncluttered in context and setting. It had to be uncomplicated in selection and the ambience of the events chosen also mattered, to lend to an aesthetically pleasing collection. Works often convey meanings through mood and atmosphere that can express a particular emotional tone or state of mind. Here, mood and atmosphere are not subjects in themselves. Rather, they create a context that helps me revisit memories and express a story. I have consciously integrated this to my work, and take liberties in dramatising and romanticising colours, shapes and rhythms that have influenced and affected me profoundly, in an attempt to capture and hold on to my sentimentalities. As such, the works are far more expressive than descriptive, visually. I have the capacity to attune to the ambience and flow of my surroundings with ease. I settle fluidly into those spaces, blending and watching from within. This allows me to savour and luxuriate in my environs and experience the energy and vibe that flow through. At times I am jolted by surprise. A jarring encounter that leaves me, a spectator, breathless and mesmerised nevertheless. It is an intensely emotional take that I attempt to freeze with the use of enamel, colour and texture. The works are accompanied with written text. Short poetry and prose, just enough to nudge and ponder the works, and to enter my memory-scape and recreate the scene, or experience it as truly as possible. These are icons for certain snapshots of what I have experienced, that are larger and more complex, infused with people, events, words and emotions. Some so fleeting and transient, others as enduring and fresh, that needs holding on to. All the works consist of kiln fired glass enamel on copper at 1,600C, layered and fired many times for depth, and colour variations. While cleaning and preparing the copper for enamelling, I decided to use the oxidisation that occurs when firing plain copper, as part of the design element. This has enabled me to introduce another layer to the final piece. At times I have deliberately under fired or over fired, again to obtain a certain feel, quality and texture to a particular piece. The natural cracks that appear in glass are kept without treating and re-firing as to give it a more organic feel. Some works are embellished with crushed glass, enamel powder and holder mixed and painted with brush, fine enamel line work, hammered copper pieces, fabric for a different texture, copper and zinc cutouts. 18crt gold and silver are used sparingly this time around. All this with the exception of fabric, zinc cutouts and hammered copper, are re-fired. In attempting to reach a particular visual image imbued with my emotional response, I have broken the norms of enamelling, and experimented and reinvented the use of material and processes. Pix by Sameera Wijesinghe