Cloisonne, You Say?

This past Sunday I was seized with the determination to Make Something, Dammit!
I’d been wanting to mess with my glass enamels and make some pieces for a couple of weeks now, and now that my weekends are (mostly) free it seemed the perfect time to start. This is one of those situations where I bought all the equipment and supplies a year or so ago, as well as a couple of books, but never really sat down and DID anything with it.

So Sunday I read through my books again and fired up the kiln to attempt my first cloisonne enamel piece. I worked on it a bit on Monday and finished it Wednesday night. I’m pretty pleased with how it turned out.

This is the “wirework”, the first part of the design. I used a piece of copper and fired fine silver foil on top of it, because regular silver is SO DAMN EXPENSIVE and I’m enameling on it anyway. (And I’m lazy and don’t want to do the “depletion gilding” steps to make the sterling usable.)

I used little pliers and tweezers to make all the shapes, and made all the little tiny balls. This took me most of Sunday afternoon.

Glass enamel normally comes in powder form; when doing this technique you clean and wet the powder and then use a paintbrush to put the color where you want it. It’s kind of like a cross between sand art and paint-by number. This is what it looked like after I laid the first layer of color on Monday night.

Then I fired it in the kiln at 1450 degrees for about 2 and a half minutes. That’s glass now! Obviously you have to do LOTS of layers.


Eight layers later, and I’m done! Not too bad for my first piece. I need to play around with the colors more next time around; I wanted the blue to be lighter and the spiral section came out way too deep a purple. My next step with this will be to set it in a silver setting and hopefully SELL IT!

And then make some more!

Yay, I made something cool! *dances*

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