Jane Vanroe on collecting vintage powder compacts and compact mirrors. You can find Jane's designs at www.vanroe.com and on Amazon in the EU & USA
We’ve our first USA launch next week, with our new compact mirrors in enamel arriving at Amazon.com. The five compacts in this collection are enamelled with jewel-like colours in Birmingham, England’s famous ‘Jewellery Quarter‘. This has been a national centre for fine metal manufacture since the Georgian era, so it’s exiting to be working as part of that history.
I’m delighted with the depth of colour and translucent effects I can create with enamel. Each colour is poured individually into the pressed metal, pooling into the areas walled by the lines in my design. By combining opaque and translucent enamels, together with subtle patterns on the underlying metal, I can produce effects that seem to glow in the light.
Each enamel design is polished by hand to produce a mirror-like quality to the lines separating each colour. It’s this finish which traditional Birmingham enamel is famous for.
The hardest job was to choose enamel colours without an industrial “Pantone” colour swatch book. I’ve learned design from a digital perspective, using software on a screen – creating good colour combinations for off-screen is an entirely new skill to learn. Manufacturers need each colour as a Pantone number, a specific code for the colours they can mix with their specific materials. There are also ‘coated’ and ‘uncoated’ versions of each colour. Enamel colours correspond to approximately to ‘coated’, but there’s still some variation as it’s a hand mixed and poured material (the thicker the layer the deeper the colour!).
I’ve since invested in a Pantone book to make my end colours more predictable… But I’m entirely happy with my first collection of hope-for-the-best-on-that-blue results! My pinks could maybe have been prettier, but the stronger results have lent a modern edge to quite traditional butterfly and orchid designs.
Here are a few more insider shots of my notebooks and colour samples….