Cloisonné

(pronounced cloy-zon-ay, French for ”partition”)

What is Cloissoné?

Cloisonné is an ancient jewelry making technique. It uses tiny gold filaments and brightly colored glass enamel to create gorgeous jewelry. The artist bends small metal wires into shapes, creating tiny cells (partitions). Then, they add multiple coats of a fine glass enamel powder to create the brilliant colors.

Once the piece is fired, you have a unique, handmade piece of wearable art. Cloisonné is the metal and enamel jewelry making technique that Shirley uses to create her fine silver jewelry.

You can read more about how Cloisonné was used in ancient China here.

Being involved in the world of art all my life many media have crossed my path, but cloisonné enameling has stayed with me for many years. I believe not only because of its beauty but its ability to stretch and grow into lots of different aspects of creativity.

The ability to take an idea put it into a sketch and mold it into a jewel to be worn, to me is amazing. I have done this many times, not just for my pleasure, but also giving birth to someone’s idea who trusted me to work with them.
-Shirley

The cloisonné process

sketch ideas

Every idea for a project
begins with a sketch.

resize sketch

The sketch is then resized
to fit the base.

bending wires

Outline the shapes
with the tiny wires.

prepare silver

Silver base is chosen
and texturized

fire flux

First layer is a clear flux
that is fired on the front
& a counter layer on the back.

choose colors

This is the time to choose
the colors for the piece.

transfer sketch

The outline of the sketch
is applied on top of the
already fired flux.

fuse wires

The wires are fused
to the prepared flux.

add color

Add color to the
wire outline.

add details

Add details to bring life
to the picture.

polish

Finally, after many firings
& lots of detail work,
polishing makes the
sparkle show through!

set jewel

The jewel is set in a bezel
on an engraved
sterling silver belt buckle.

Crafting fine silver & enamel
has become my newest crayon.