Enamelling<br />Design Theory Presentation<br />
Enamelling<br />Enamelling is the process of fusing powdered coloured glass onto a metal surface. <br />This is done by putting both the metal and the powdered glass under high heat, this melts the powdered glass and causes it to fuse with the metal creating a hard, durable coating . There are many different techniques.<br />There are four different types of enamel:<br />Transparent – these allow the underneath pattern or metal to show through.<br />Opaque – these conceal whatever is underneath them.<br />Translucent – this conceals whatever is underneath but allows some light to come through.<br />Opalescent – these are semi opaque.<br />All of them come in many different colours.<br />
Firing <br />The process of firing a piece of jewellery that is being enamelled is quite a delicate process. Pieces of jewellery are fired in a kiln or furnace . The piece is placed on either a wire mesh or trivets.<br />Firing temperatures range between 1300°F and 1600°F, however most common firing temperatures are between 1450°F and 1500°F. Enamellists know how the read the colour of the temperature: Dark red is roughly 1300°F, Cherry red is between 1400°F-1500°F, Light orange/red is between 1550°F- 1600°F, orange yellow is over 1600°F.<br />A piece of jewellery goes into the furnace for only roughly a minute or so, obviously bigger pieces may take a little bit longer to fire properly. There are various stages of firing.<br />
Cloisonné<br />French for ‘cloison’ or ‘cell’. <br />In this technique metal wires generally silver are bent into different shapes to create a design .<br />These thin wires are used to create raised barriers and thus filled with powdered enamel and then fired in the furnace .<br />One of the most well known cloisonné eras was the Byzantine Empire (6th century AD). This was the setting for gold cloisonné pieces with religious themes.<br />Cloisonné enamelled plaque – Byzantine Empire<br />
BasseTaille<br />French for ‘low cut’<br />This technique is when the metal background has a pattern created on it before enamelling.<br />The patterns can be created using many different types of methods such as etching, roll pressing, creating hammer marks , or engraving.<br />Transparent or translucent enamels are used over the pattern in order to show the pattern through the enamel.<br />
Champlevé<br />French for ‘raised field ‘<br />This technique is done by first etching or engraving the background and then inlaying the enamel in the depressions of the metal while still leaving some of the metal exposed.<br />This technique is most often used as an economical alternative to cloisonné. It is therefore most often used on larger pieces.<br />
Plique-a-Jour <br />French for ‘membrane through which passes the light of day’ or ‘against the light’<br />The technique resembles a miniature stain glass window. This technique is much more delicate than other enamelling techniques as it has an open back in which the light flows through.<br />This technique is done two ways:<br />Surface tension enamelled – this has two different types of metal construction, first is pierced and second is filigree or skeletal framework.<br />Etched enameled – this technique is done the same as cloisonné however once the piece has been finished the backing which is generally copper is then etched away.<br />
En RondeBosse<br />French for ‘in rounded relief’<br />Encrusted enamel<br />This technique is done by covering 3D objects or high relief surfaces with enamel.<br />There are technical difficulties using this technique such as roughing the surface enough in order to allow the enamel to hold on a curved surface properly.<br />
Limoges<br />This is the technique of ‘painting’ the enamel onto a surface.<br />Different enamels are painted next to each other without the use of any seperations such as in cloisonne or in champleve.<br />The object is covered in a layer of white opaque enamel, then fired. After this the piece is then gradually covered in coloured enamels which would require different firings.<br />
References<br />http://arts.jrank.org/pages/9611/Enamel.html<br />The Art of Fine Enameling by Karen L. Cohen<br />
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