Interviews with Mary
Mary McLaughlin and McLaughlin Glazeware, Inc.
Mary McLaughlin is the creator of this exquisite collection of painted enamel boxes. Her meticulous artistry stands firmly in the tradition of excellence established by artisans centuries before her. Mary began to hand paint porcelain boxes as gifts for friends. She began collecting, and in the process discovered enameling.
Enameling is a powerful medium for artistic expression, very different from porcelain. Enamel's deep glazed surface is capable of absorbing a wide variety of translucent and opaque pigments. The smoothness and beauty of enamel colors cannot be matched by ordinary paint.
Mary immediately fell in love with this rich medium. As a professional geologist, she was fascinated by the metals, compounds and pigments used in enameling. She began studying the various materials and techniques used in this art form. Mary is now creating her own pieces to introduce enameling to a wide group of collectors.
Each enamel box is manufactured almost entirely by hand. First a thin coating of powdered glass and clay is applied to a copper form. Several layers are applied. Each layer is fired to a temperature of over 1400 degrees Fahrenheit. The firing process causes a permanent bond to be formed between the enamel and metal. The enamel takes its strength from the metal form and its beauty from the deep glazed surface. After several firings the enamel has a smooth, white surface, ready for hand painting. Hand painting is a painstaking process. In some instances brushes with as few as one hair is used to paint these intricate scenes. Each layer of paint is fired separately. For some boxes seven or eight firings are necessary. Each box takes many hours to produce. Only a limited number of each design is made.
We produce one of a kind boxes for our collectors, and hundreds at a time for corporate customers and civic organizations.
In addition to enamel boxes, Mary has branched into many other related areas. She also designs and produces bone china and porcelain boxes. These are also all hand painted to the same exacting standards as her enamel boxes. Other products include enamel and porcelain paperweights, wooden boxes and more recently, cufflinks.
Mary McLaughlin has hired a small but dedicated staff of artists and painters to help produce these lovely gifts. Truly a success story, McLaughlin Glazeware has gone from just an idea to a prospering small business in just a few short years.
We hope you will feel the same pride in ownership that we feel in producing these elegant pieces, one at a time. Whether you are a devoted collector or first time recipient of a gift, we hope you will treasure your enamel box for many years to come.
McLaughlin Glazeware Inc. supports Trees That Feed Foundation, a public charity dedicated to planting trees to feed people and benefit the environment. For more information, visit the website at treesthatfeed.org.