Friday, 12 February 2010

Cloisonne Thimbles

These two thimbles are decorated by an enamel technique known as Cloisonne. Little compartments are formed by soldering wire or thin strips of gold, silver or even copper to the metal base. This is called filligree welding and can be a teensy bit fiddly.  Its the little compartments that give the technique its name. It comes from the French word "cloison" which means cell.   Its a technique which has been around for centuries. Examples can be found in the jewellery of ancient Egyptians, ancient Greeks and of course the vases and ornaments of the Chinese Ming dynasty.  

Its a fairly involved process. Enamel paste is used to fill in the patterns formed by the soldered wires.  It then needs to be fired in a kiln. More enamel is added to fill in any areas where the original layer has shrunk and then it is fired again.  This stage can be repeated four or five times until the desired result is achieved.  

Umm... not a quick five minute job by the sound of it and definitely something that requires patience and lots of it!

Bye for now


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