imago corvi

adventures in enamelling, stories, music and travel

Practice Project: Butterfly

Well, the summer is over and I am SO looking forward to spending time in the studio, processing all my amazing experiences of the summer! I am particularly excited about getting started on my Armless Maiden panels. As an exercise to prepare myself, I decided to make a series of small pieces, that will probably end up being necklaces or brooches, just to get myself in practice. Cloisonne is not a technique that I am particularly familiar with, so I decided to take some images from nature, and see how closely I could re-produce them. It has been a really interesting experience! I am a strong believer in sometimes concentrating entirely on technique – and that’s what I have done with these pieces. There are 5 pieces in the series. I will post the process pictures of them all – below is the first one – a butterfly, including the photo I was working from.

cloisonne butterfly

cloisonne butterfly
The wires, sunk only slightly into a layer of clear flux (the piece is already enamelled on the back)
cloisonne butterfly
First coat of colour (the colours, which are ground up glass) are laid in wet with a tiny spoon or a brush)
cloisonne butterfly
First coat fired – the goal is what is called a ‘sugar fire’ which means that the enamel grains are barely fused.
cloisonne butterfly
Second coat of enamel
cloisonne butterfly
Second coat sugar fired
cloisonne butterfly
re-fired to get a smoother surface for adding foils
cloisonne butterfly
Cutting the foils (which are very thin fine silver) was really time consuming. The foil is sandwiched between two pieces of paper for easier working – but when I cut the small strips, the metal torqued, and each piece has to be separately flattened before it could be added to the piece – this took over an hour! (3rd coat)
cloisonne butterfly
Fourth coat
cloisonne butterfly
Fourth coat sugar fired
cloisonne butterfly
Fifth coat
cloisonne butterfly
Fifth coat sugar fired
cloisonne butterfly
Sixth coat
cloisonne butterfly
Sixth coat sugar fired
cloisonne butterfly
Seventh coat (sorry – I forgot to take the picture of this firing!)
cloisonne butterfly
The whole surface was then sanded, and then this final coat added
cloisonne butterflycloisonne butterfly
Final firing.

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This entry was posted on October 21, 2008 by in cloisonne and tagged , , , , , , , .

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