Thursday, December 15, 2005

My fascination with enamel work has led me to something new!

About three years ago, when researching jewelry, I discovered the beauty of artisan enamels. To the left is a pendant I saved a photo of, and I've looked at it longingly ever since. After my one year of painting solely with polymer, I decided it was time for me to try to replicate this technique using my own methods.

The pendant to the left is priced at just under $700. Many pendants I see like this are priced at close to $1,000. Of course they are made with real gold, and glass, and the process is very labor intensive - therefore the high pricing.


Using my techniques and my polymer, gold leaf, and gold filled materials, I created this "cloisonne enamel" look pendant. I knew when this baby came out of the oven for the first time last night, I was in LOVE with what I've come up with here! Of course, it took numerous "mistakes" along the way to figure out what I was doing wrong and right. Even with this piece, I've noted something I will change with the next piece I do in this manner. But it's minor, and doesn't affect "the look" which will be appearing in my 2006 pieces.

About This Jewel

(click the photo to see a larger picture)

Cloisonné is the oldest method of enamelling. First practiced by the ancient Egyptians, cloisonné enamelling has been embraced by many ancient and modern cultures. Here I've replicated the process of cloisonne enamel work in polymer. First, I created a setting, adorned with genuine gold leaf on the edges. Then I've built a network of "cloisons" (cells or compartments) by forming 14K gold filled bezel wire into a pattern for the center of the pendant. Each "cell" was then painted using tinted polymer, filled gradually until I obtained the shading and coloring I wanted, with multiple firings in between layers. A brass bail accented with freshwater pearls is suitable for any chain, jewelry cord, or ribbon.

For this design, I selected rich colors of cobalt blue, several striking shades of amethyst, and a bit of apple green. In the center circle, I've used three shades of red for the "heart" of the pendant. A glass based simulated pearl accents the bottom.

Using this method, it is possible to create a variety of artwork with the bezel wire. Although my materials are much less expensive than "real" enamel jewels require, the time spent on a pendant like this is very labor intensive. "Heartbeat" has an abstract design - very geometric in nature. But I plan to create actual "pictures" once I get more comfortable with the feel of the bezel wire. Right now I plan on creating some more pieces like this, with a geometric design to them, but plan on adding actual imagery very soon!

Jai

4 comments:

thiqaArtisan said...

Jai,
It's beautiful! I've actually been working on similar projects...I just love cloisonne!

Jai said...

Thanks Crys!

Scott said...

One of your best (or one of my favorites). Very well done!

Cláudia said...

It's beautiful!!