Entwining Patterns

Entwining Patterns

I've been experimenting with some champlevé and basse-taille enamelling. This entwining pattern is taken from a medieval enamel religious design. The samples, moving from left to right, respectively, are: a champlevé piece on standard brass, a basse-taille piece on fine silver, a cloissoné piece with fine silver wires on fine silver and, lastly, a champlevé piece on copper.


The brass piece did not take the enamel very well. The enamel would ping off rather unpredictably and dangerously. This was my first engraving piece and I dug out quite a depth to receive the enamel, probably about 2.5mm. This was way too deep and made it quite difficult to get good clean cuts on the inside of curves as the belly of the graver kept scraping the design.

The silver basse-taille piece was my favourite of the lot, the cutting out of the entwining pattern was comparatively clean and the transparent enamel bright and clear.

The cloissoné piece was soldered using hard silver solder and the border was cut out from silver strips and soldered. I used thick wires to bulk-up the main pattern but this just resulted in a crude-looking design. This happened because I had to grind the piece back quite a lot to allow for all the different wires to be at the same level and by then the design that was showing at the surface was not the one I had carefully put together!

The copper piece was quick to do and shows potential, there were no problems with the enamel compared to the brass.

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