The Art of Living by Making Art

Jewellery inspired by nature and made by hand.
How I make it, why I make it, the challenges I face and the successes that come my way.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cloisonne Enamelling

Here is the cloisonne brooch I started working on at our local culture tour. I have finished it and it is now up on Etsy. I found it difficult to work on a cloisonne piece while doing a public demo, far better for me to be alone in my studio with no distractions. I am definitely a beginner when it comes to cloisonne - this a really a very simple piece with only a few wires to lay in. I do aspire to make more complex pieces but I know it will take a lot of work to get there.
I would urge anyone who is dabbling in enamel to try cloisonne work because the effect is so lovely. Having said that it can be very frustrating dealing with the tiny pieces of fine silver wire. Not only that but my eyes sight is going through a transition at the moment and my optometrist and I are deciding what kind of contact lens to get so that my working vision is good and my long distance too. At the moment I am going back and forth between a pair of magnifiers over my contacts and a magnifying lamp to get the best working vision. Add to this putting on the dark kiln-proof glasses when firing and I am getting in a bit of a muddle.
Another point to think about is whether to use leaded or unleaded enamels in cloisonne work. I always use unleaded enamels when I am sifting dry but as cloisonne work is done wet I have safely used leaded enamels on a few pieces and got some lovely colours to show for it. I am planning to stock up on more leaded colours, particularly the warm colours of red, pink, orange to use on future cloisonne work.
If you have never seen the exquisite work of Harlan Butt find some time to check it out. He really is a master of enamelling and cloisonne work - Now I am going to go and browse my enamelling catalogue for all the things on my wish list - new colours of enamel, more trivets, gold cloisonne wire... It is so much easier to sit and do this than to actually do any work!

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