Category archives: Cloisonné

Cloisonné enamelling involves creating sections which can be filled with enamel. The sections hold the enamel so it doesn't run into the adjacent section.

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Gloucester Cathedral Girl Chorister Medals

Gloucester Cathedral Girl Chorister Medals

Here are the finished pair of chorister medals for the head and deputy head girl choristers at Gloucester Cathedral. The left-hand one depicts St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, and the right-hand one depicts St. Kyneburgha, who founded Burh Abbey.

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Initial designs for the chorister medals

Initial designs for the chorister medals

After some time the customer and I came up with these designs for the medals. The actual construction of the medals was still a bit unkown at this stage. The customer wanted something that would be robust but yet elagant. My initial thoughts were to adapt the watch case I'd made before.

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Making a dial (part 1), making a forming die

Making a dial (part 1), making a forming die

I've got the beginnings of a watch case but, as of yet, no dial that I'm prepared to drill a hole in. I'm not going to put a hole into the cloisonné enamel frog!

My starting point is to create domed dials, this is because enamel miniatures typically require several firings and a domed dial will minimize warping. From fitting into the watch point of view, a flat dial would be easier but in the long term a domed dial will far superior for enamelling applications.

Warping is less of a problem for cloisonne (although still an issue) since the wires and counter-enamelling give the piece a greater thickness and structure that help to control warpage. However, I found a domed surface gives more interesting light reflections, it's more difficult to bend the wires over a domed surface but I got plenty of practice when I made these set of enamel doorknobs.

 

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Making a watch case, the inspiration

Making a watch case, the inspiration

I've been interested in doing some watch dials for a while now. I've been inspired by some of these beautiful and amazing dials shown here. I'd like to explore making the watch case as well, as this will allow me to put some interest into the overall look and feel.

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Cloisonné Amazon Frog (Part 3)

Cloisonné Amazon Frog (Part 3)

My pallet tends to grow a bit, here is the state of things after I'm mid-way through the enamelling. It's best not to expand too much, especially for a graphical piece. Although, having said that, the Amazon frog is partially graphical and partially a painting so all rules are out!

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Cloisonné Amazon Frog (Part 1)

Cloisonné Amazon Frog (Part 1)

This is an experimental project to see if adding a border ring to a domed silver disc improves the overall result of the finished enamel. When I created the set of enamel doorknobs I didn't add a border ring, so the cloisonné wires had to be ground back to be quite thin near the perimeter of the piece where the enamel became thinner, or in some cases, left with a slightly non-smooth surface. This doorknob (above) shows the problem, albeit minor, but to the perfectionist something to improve!

 

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Cloisonné Enamel Doorknobs

Cloisonné Enamel Doorknobs

I've not had time to update this blog for a while. Here's a picture of a project I completed recently for some cloisonné doorknobs for a handmade kitchen cabinet. The designs incorporate the first initials for the members of the family, with the large doorknobs for the children and the smaller ones for the parents. The rest of the doorknobs are all based on a wine theme.

This was a really nice commission to get, and I got the chance to learn how to do cloisonné!

See the gallery here for close-ups.