"Peace Mandala" "Peace Mandala"
"Little Dog Goes for a Walk" "Little Dog Goes for a Walk"
"Invisible Web" "Invisible Web"
"New Hat" "New Hat"
"Peace Mandala""Little Dog Goes for a Walk""Invisible Web""New Hat"

Peace Mandala

Vitreous Enamel, Silver Leaf on Fine Silver; Larimar, Silk Cord

5″h x 2.5″w x 28″l

Little Dog Goes For a Walk

Vitreous Enamel (Cloisonne) on Fine Silver, Moonstone, Sterling Silver

2.5″h x 2.25″w x .25″d

Invisible Web

Vitreous Enamel, Gold Leaf on Steel Panel

8″h x 8″w x .5″d

New Hat

Vitreous Enamel on Copper Panel

15″h x 9″w x .5″d

Burke Johnston


I have been “making creations” since I was a child. There were always potential art materials around our house: fabric and paper remnants, wood scraps with nails and tools, glue, scissors, crayons, and paint.

I studied drawing and painting in school, and later worked in Arkansas as an interior designer specializing in commercial building projects. In 1992, I took my first jewelry class at the Arkansas Arts Center. It was on then. Torches, jewelerʼs saws, and copper seemed to be the perfect materials for more “making creations.” I was also fascinated with the processes used to create wearable art from copper and silver.

In 1998, I moved to Houston, Texas, and found the Glassell School of Art. I took the enameling and metal fabrication classes there and set up my own studio.

Today, as a working metalsmith, I am drawn to images which portray a sense of rhythm or gesture. It is a challenge to try to portray this feeling of movement in stationary metal objects. I continue to love seeing stiff metals evolve into new visual forms. For me, the design process starts with an idea, which then becomes a sketch, and sometimes a paper model. The actual finished product is often a bit of a surprise to me, because an image, once translated into metal and enamel, always suggests another hidden image or variation. Editing becomes part of the process.

I like using vitreous enamels. The luminous colors created when ground glass is fused to metal in the kiln are fascinating. Artists and craftsmen have been charmed by this process for thousands of years. Teaching invites me to continue looking for unique ways to use the medium.