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Sculptures made by Betje Muiket

Sculptures made by Betje Muiket

Enameled 3-D sculptures

Author: Anonym/Wednesday, January 21, 2015/Categories: Enameling

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When you see her art pieces, then there are bubbling all kind of questions in your mind. Here is an interview by Marc Marc, an artist and photographer of her art pieces.



How large are your art pieces?

“As large as you want to see them”, is her reply. It seems to be a question everybody ask her when they see her pictures of these art pieces. It is a natural reaction because these pieces seems to be meters high and wide on pictures.
“If I say to you that they are only 3 cm high, would it be make a difference to you?”. Not for the exposition by photography, because this medium gives actually the monumentally impression of the art pieces as they were shaped for.

Can you tell something about the way you have created them?

It starts with a piece of copper. It can be a left over or I make a custom design. Then I use the saw and other tools to cut it. Next I will bend the piece in all direction till I like the shape it has.

This sounds easy!

It is! A painter just moves his brush over the paper to get his painting?

You kidding me.

Well, it is easy. I do not mention that the technique here used is fairly easy compared to the creative process.

Do you know in advance what you going to make?

Some times. It can start with a copper plate where I spontaneously make some cuts. I grind or cut into it what I think that must be done. After this, with the same creative process, I start to bend.
I study the result of every bend I make and in this way the object what I made will be born. If I made an art piece then the next sculpture can be based on the last made sculpture. One bend leads to the other.
Experiment with all kind of shapes, just adventuring what is going to be shaped by my hands is what me inspires. It is a kind of self-inspiration

Some of your sculptures can be showed in different ways.

Yes, Upright of laying in different ways. That’s is what try to achieve in the bending process. The tracker is a nice example. The tracker is able to stand as he is walking or he can lay in a way of sniffing like a dog. This sculpture gives from every angle or perspective a different view. It is hard to recognize that this is every time the same sculpture.









How do you enamel your art pieces?

First, the copper needs to be burned in the kiln to remove the oxidize layer. After this the copper plate will be sanded.
It is obvious that 3D art pieces not suitable are for the sifting technique. I use painting enamel. The object needs to be enameled from all angles and different sides.
So there are several burning session in the kiln who are also needed at 2D enameling.
First I apply a layer with paint enamel. This must bedone for  2 or 3 times. I allow to dry every side and after the drying I apply the other side with paint enamel. When the whole object is applied with enamel and dried I wiil burn the object in the kiln. At the next stage with applying the colors it is important to know which colors can be combined in a single transition. Some colors will not combine with each other in a single burning.
I found out this behavior in practice. Sometimes different brands of enamel can be not combined.

What is the kiln temperature you use while enameling?

That is in a range between 720 and 800 degrees Celsius. The combination of time I want to have it in the kiln and the temperature at the moment I open the kiln, the surface of the object, in which stage is the object are all variables that are important. So it is difficult to give a straight answer or to give a formula for this.
For example, if you want to bake a layer in an early stage then you can bake it on a high temperature for a short time. Don’t bake it all the way because you will do this at a next stage. Al this can affect the end result. It is a matter of a lot experimenting.


Is it awkward not to know before how something comes out of the kiln?

Yes, but it is also one of the charming properties of enameling, especially when you like to experiment. It is always exciting how something gets out of the kiln. It can be lead to surprises and a start to get enhancing these results. I see enameling as a way of mastering your materials and technique. However, this is not said you made an art piece.

What is your advice to newbies to start with?

It can’t be simple enough. Try to make only simple objects. Just the beginning of enameling. Later you can start with experimenting. Every kiln has his own characteristics to discover. Make objects in 2 different colors and add some glass grains or other object to it. Make a simple painting and use template and sifting technique. Discover what you can do with different temperatures and times. Learn about all the characteristics of the colors.
To make a color chart for your own is also a good start.

Which enamel powders are you using?

Lately, the enamel powders of the waterman, especially as paint enamel. I have very good experience with this kind of enamel powders. And their service is good also.

Room divider

Room divider

Road intersection

Road intersection

I see you are using copper cloisonné wire on an alternative way, how about that?

 With the cloisonné method you use copper or silver wire to get sharp lines or uneven edges you can fill in with enamel. For example, you can make notches on the sides and wind the copper wire on the object.
You can make the straight lines somewhat looser by bending the wire on different places. You can fill in the spaces between the wires with painting enamel or whatever you like.
The copper wires will be black later by burning the object in the kiln. When you clean them they get back their copper color ar you can pull them with force from the object to get some lines into the glass.

What are your plans for the future?

Making the objects larger “Larger? They are already large?”.  You did not hear me say that they were large, They are monumental and so they are suitable for making very large. I ‘am busy at the moment to get the Tracker at 1 meter high.
These sizes does not fit in you kiln aren’t they?
No, this must be done by torch firing. However, my experience with this is zero. The first thing I have to find out how to get the copper plate in the right measurements. So I have to go back to my design table and make a design on paper first.  Then I can use this design to make the Tracker larger.

All Art pieces are to see at:

Artikel en fotografie: Marc Marc                      


Number of views (65381)/Comments (7)

7 comments on article "Sculptures made by Betje Muiket"

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1/22/2015 10:36 AM

Dag Betje en Marc,

Dit zijn prachtige emaille 3-D werken.

Bedankt voor het aanleveren van dit leerzame interview.

Groetjes van Ton

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Anja Meere

1/22/2015 12:07 PM

Mooi artikel.

Duidelijk en overzichtelijk.

Ik ken de artist als zeer creatief die gaat voor eigen inzicht en geen wetten voor laat schrijven. Een vrije geest doet het werk en het vormt zich zoals zij dat wil.

Mooi werk.

groeten Anja

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Wil Reuvers

1/22/2015 1:26 PM

Prachtig Betje. Wat zouden deze Sculptures een aparte uitstraling en verfraaiing geven in de publieke ruimte b.v. een gemeentehuis en dan denk ik met name aan de staande spoorzoeker. Op een hoogte van een of 1.50m zou dat een fantastisch eye-catcher zijn. Heel erg mooi en een fantastisch interview met Marc.

Er staat nog wat te gebeuren met deze spannende ontwikkeling.


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1/23/2015 9:55 AM

Betje, wat ziet het er mooi uit. Ik vind het zo verrassend dat de objecten, b.v. De Spoorzoeker, er steeds anders uit ziet wanneer je hem anders neer zet. Ook de kleuren vind ik prachtig.

Groetjes en succes


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Hans Tekium

1/24/2015 11:13 AM

Geweldig gedaan Betje en jou typische commentaar bij de vragen van Marc. Uitstekende promotie voor de beginnende en gevorderde emailleurs!

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1/26/2015 11:49 AM

Mooi en boeiend werk hoor ! Dat je de kunstwerken op verschillende manieren kunt positioneren geeft een meerwaarde.

Ik zou zeggen; ga zo door !

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Nathalie van Nieuwland

10/21/2015 4:56 PM

Beste Bethje en Marc,

Wat een prachtige objecten! Unieke vormen en kleurgebruik. Ik zou ze graag in een landschap in het groot zien staan. Ik wens jullie alle succes met de tentoonstelling en verder werk.


Nathalie van Nieuwland

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