"I have always been fascinated by brilliant, jewel-like color. Glass fused onto burnished copper captures and celebrates light, depth, and color like no other medium. Just as jazz and chamber musicians explore, dialogue, and trade musical themes from one instrument to another, I apply layers of colored glass and heat with hopes of delighting, inspiring, and intriguing viewers. "
Miller's copper enamel compositions explore and celebrate her wonder and delight in the glorious color, depth, and light of nature. From the depths of the ocean to the limitless distances of nebulae, Miller's copper enamel wall compositions seek to stimulate and excite your imagination with textured surfaces and a complex meld of colors.
Once the kiln is heated to a glowing orange, powdered glass melts and flows onto the copper. There are as many as ten layers and firing sequences in each piece. Sometimes, "jewels'' (glass lumps) are added. Enamel is brilliantly colored glass, not paint. The colors are luminous and rich and are impervious to heat, cold, and moisture.
After receiving a BFA from the University of Illinois, Cynthia Miller studied copper enameling with Richard Loving at the Art Institute of Chicago. An MFA from Northwestern University in 1978 completed her formal arts education. In recent years, Miller has experimented with expanding the scope of the abstract and natural themes in her compositions.
Selected Exhibitions & Awards
Architectural Digest Home Design Show, New York City, New York, 2014-15
Mesa Contemporary Art Museum, Mesa, AZ, 2014-15-16-17-18-19
Craft Council Biennial 2015, Wayne, PA, 2015
International Competition, Florence, Italy, 2017
SOFA, Chicago, Chicago, Navy Pier, Illinois, 2014-15-16-17
National NICHE WINNER, Baltimore , MD, 2014
Materials Hard and Soft, Denton, Texas, 2013
WOMEN ON TOP- Ken Saunders gallery, Chicago, IL, 2013
Art Institute of Chicago: Enameling, metal sculpture, painting
MFA: Theatre, Northwestern University, 1978
BFA: Art; University of Illinois
Creating copper enamel art is an adventure. Copper enameling is permanent, brilliant color. It is glass, not paint. I create copper enamel wall installations in panels, which, when displayed together, create large compositions of flowing patterns and gemlike colors. I work on the design of the composition as a whole, but each panel is fired individually. I start with panels of solid copper which have been scoured until they gleam. Vitreous enamel (pulverized glass) is gently sifted onto the copper.
The kiln interior has been heated to a glowing orange; powdered glass melts and fuses onto the copper as it is fired. As the panel cools, the vibrant and subtle hues are revealed . Sometimes enamel “jewels” are added to the design. The sifting–and – firing cycle is repeated until the desired effect is achieved. There can be as many as ten layers of color and multiple firings of each panel. It is exhilarating to explore the evolution of a composition as each successive layer adds luminosity and depth.
The colors remain rich and permanent. People are drawn to run their fingers over the finished surfaces because they are shiny and smooth and cool to the touch. Copper enamel panels are tolerant of weather: water, sunlight, heat and cold.
Each composition is unique and intended to stimulate your imagination.