Birth of a Mermaid

By May 26, 2019 The Process
Mermaid Jewelry

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.

Barbara Bennett

Barbara Bennett

I spent most of my career in interior design and the last 20 years designing restaurants in the Raleigh, NC area. Since I grew up on the coast of Long Island I headed for the coast of NC Ince I retired in Raleigh. I set up my silversmith studio and began creating sterling and fine silver jewelry reflecting my love of the sea. In the past year I discovered enamel and cloisonné. I was hooked. You will see many cloisonné and champleve pieces in my collections. My hope is that you will love them as much as I loved making them.

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