Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NIV)
See, I have refined you, though not as silver; I have tested you in the furnace of affliction. Isaiah 48:10
I’ve written before about my love/hate relationship with enameling. Several years ago, while at John Campbell Folk School, I saw the work of people taking an enameling class. I loved the shiny smooth textures of their pieces. The delicate, yet intricate designs. Inspired, over time, I have taken several enameling classes. In cloisonné, I made a lovely pendant, but it took hours of tedious work. I made an outline of silver wire, attached it to a flat piece of silver and then, filled in the colors one layer at a time. I decided that while I did not like cloisonné, it was only one form of enameling. There must be another way. I kept searching. In a weekend class at John Campbell, the instructor gave us a brief lesson and then, left us to our imaginations with a room full of kilns, supplies and paints. With only two nights and a day to work, the possibilities were overwhelming. I felt rushed and unsure. It must be that I didn’t have enough time. Last fall, I took a series of half day classes. That’s when the reality sunk in. Kiln fired enamels require more time and patience than I am willing to invest. It is a lot like playing the lottery. Luck outweighs skill most times, and there are no guarantees that what you create will turn out well and as beautiful as you hope. I read that Einstein said the definition of insanity is repeating the same mistakes over and over. So, call me insane, because I took another enameling class this weekend. But, this time, I may have hit on the right method for me. This class was torch fired enameling. Instead of a kiln, you use a butane torch to heat the metal and adhere the enamels. It is more for small work than the bowls and plates I made in my last class, but it is perfect for beads and small pendants. And the best thing is from start to finish, you can do a piece in less than a minute. And if it doesn’t turn out right, you just start over again. Within an hour of class beginning, I had a string of primary colored beads long enough for a bracelet. By the end of the day, I completed several projects and was convinced enough that I found a new art form to enjoy that I bought a torch and supplies to keep on working at home. As I work, I can’t help put to think about the process of heating the metal in the hot flame of that torch. As it changes to a glowing orange, the impurities that are in the metal are burnt out. Then, one thin coat at a time, I change the plain metal bead into a thing of beauty. So, it is with the Christian. Christ takes us impure sinners and refines us through hardships and struggles. He covers our imperfections with His blood and turns us into new creations.