A cloisonne image starts out as a vision. Putting that vision on fine silver with tiny wires and crushed enamel glass is a long process. The vision starts with a sketch or photo and step by step it comes to life. Preparing the metal requires cutting and fusing the frame onto the base. Then it is sanded and shaped and a bale soldered onto the back. Since metal cools at a different rate from glass putting enamel on just one side would cause the enamel to crack while the metal cooled and contracted faster than the glass so a good coat of enamel must be added to the back. After firing I add a dusting of clear enamel to the front. The tiny cloisonne wires are shaped and applied to the pattern for fitting and then moved carefully to the prepared base. I cut the pattern and use part of it to place the first few wires. Each step is fired for 2 minutes at 1450 degrees and the wires adhere to the clear enamel. On this mermaid I started by adding color to her body and the tail since they are lighter colors and did not want to risk colors needing under the wires.
As color is added it is fired at 1450 degrees for 2 minutes each time. Each time I watch the color and when it reaches the intensity I want I stop adding color and start adding clear enamel to fill up the the height of those tiny wires. Now I and at the point of adding details such as face and detail to her hair and the rock she is sitting on. Stay tuned for the final product. I am still learning and each project is a new adventure.