Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday musings

Not only do I love the process of enameling, but the idea that artwork of my hands can last for centuries adds another layer of meaning; our plucky heroine attempts to make things that are worthy of that timeline...

The kiln has been hot for most of the weekend, as there are two orders due before Christmas. The two pieces are quite different: one a modern pendant, and the other a piece of 13th century style SCA regalia.

My clients are having a small pendant made as a gift for their daughter, who loves snowy owls... Option D was selected, and this weekend I started working on the enameling. After placing and firing the enamel for the background sky and owl, I began to start applying the details. Limoges painted enamel is done using extra finely ground glass mixed with lavender oil. The painted details are then refined using a damp 20/0 (really really tiny) paintbrush to compact and move the enamel. It is a good thing that our plucky heroine does not drink coffee, a great stillness of hand is required

After several additional firings, the owl design is completed. The painting enamel is fully vitrified and fused into the background; the entire design is only an inch across. Now all it needs is for me to fabricate a suitable setting for it, and send it off in the post to arrive in plenty of time before the holiday...

The other piece is more complex, a two part pendant brooch, with really tiny enamels, the smaller enamel is only 3/4" x 1/2", the heraldic designs (Goutte de Sang and Jambe de Lion) are the insignia of particular awards in the SCA Kingdom of An Tir

(click picture for closer view)

I always love to show how the working sketches that I make begin to translate into material objects. Now that the enameling for these pieces is completed, the next step will be to fabricate the settings that will protect the enamel and allow them to be worn as jewelry. There will also be time this week to work on some slightly larger pieces using my beloved cloisonné techniques, with the design elements outlined in narrow silver wire.

Truly, the long drought of work, combined with the long and ongoing convalescence, has taken a toll on me; only realised when this last week, when workshop time spent has returned part of my trueself to me once again. The last few mornings when I awaken there is something drawing me forward into the day: what technical challenge can I solve today, and how much beauty can I add to the world today...

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating! Thank you for demonstrating how enamel painting is done. Steady hand indeed!

    The owl is adorable.