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Step by Step Photos of My Cloisonne Process
Step 1 - Cutout shapes with a jewelers saw, waxing blade often
Step 2 - Tap starting point with nail and hammer, then drill holes, about 16 gauge, for bail wire
Step 3 - Shape pieces, using wood dapping block and curved nylon mallet and flat hammer on anvil
Step 4 - Build up a 'white canvas' of underlay enamel, sift one thin layer on top, preheat kiln to 1450, place trivet in kiln, quickly close the door, wait until temp gets back to 1435 to 1450, then remove trivet from the kiln, wait to cool, pickle and clean back.
sift one thin layer on back, fire in kiln at 1450, wait to cool, pickle, rinse
then sift second thin layer on top, fire in kiln at 1450, wait to cool,
then sift second thin layer on back, fire in kiln at 1450, wait to cool.
If you see black or copper coming through, pickle and add another thin layer, but two thin layers on each side normally works fine.
Step 5 - Draw image you want to apply, cut out cloisonne wire, and bend to outline image, and sections in image, especially any different colors.
Step 6 - Apply cloisonne wires onto curved top of pendant, sift very thin layer of dry clear enamel over all wires,
Step 7 - Fire enamel pieces to melt dry enamel and affix the cloisonne wires to the surface of the pendants (preheat kiln to 1450, place trivet, quickly close the door, wait until temp gets back to 1430, then remove trivet from the kiln).
Step 8 - Wait for pieces to cool, then pickle very briefly, rinse
Step 9 - Choose and prepare your wet enamel colors to match your design. I use plastic shot glasses, one labelled with the color, containing the color, one on top for storage between uses. I only use transparent color enamels, just my personal preference. I use opalescent white since there is no commercially available transparent white. It has a shimmering pearly effect.
Step 10 - Apply the very first thin layer of color enamel using wet method inside the cloisonnes (walls) of the image, these are the lightest colors. (Work from light to dark as you build up the layers.) Place no enamel outside the image. Use a q-tip to wipe away the outside of the image and wick away moisture. Dry out on top of kiln before firing.
Step 11 - Fire the enamel pieces as in step 7. The colors will be different when they come out of the kiln, and change color as they cool.
Step 12 - Wait for pieces to cool, then pickle very briefly, rinse
Step 13 - Apply the second thin wet layer of color enamel, slightly darker, or the same colors, depending on the shading you want.
Step 14 - Dry on top of kiln
Step 15 - Fire the enamel pieces as in step 7.
Step 16 - Apply the third thin wet layer of color enamel, slightly darker, or the same colors, depending on the shading you want and what you see. Apply the first layer of color (opalescent white in this case) to the background.
Step 17 - Dry on top of kiln
Step 18 - Fire the enamel pieces as in step 7.
Step 19 - Decide if you want to add another layer, in this case I did not.
Step 20 - Take a picture with something to indicate scale, I use a dime.