Monday, December 15, 2008

Experiments with Plique a' Jour enamel

The copper foil is carefully cut out and after annealing, it folds over the silver to make a little basin.
The method that I do plique a jour enameling is not really the right way to do it .
Plique a' jour is supposed to be done in the ' soap bubble ' manner.
Major mission stuff.
The manner that I do it is more like 'cloisonne with the backing removed afterwards'.
Like cheating, really.
But cheating or not, it allows for large sizes.
I wanted to see how large I could do it.
I imagine a 'light bulb' sort of thing in plique a jour.
I started with the right hand side piece, torch fired it once the copper had been bent around.
Down and dirty.
I put three firings on it with my torch, and it cracked when I pulled the copper foil off.
I think the glass was to thick. ( my theory)
The middle one I made a proper filed pendant, but the enamel cracked.
So I put two more colours in it and then annealed it in my oven, but it still cracked.
I think it is because the outer frame is to strong, and since the expansion co efficients are different, the metal wins, and the glass cracks. ( totally my theory )
This one came out ok.
I made it out of thinner wire and left the glass thin, so that when the thing cools down and contracts it can move around easier. (my theory)
It has a crack from four o' clock to six. But that's okay, since I let it air cool.
The enamel is .3-.5mm thick.
Okay, I know this is too fragile to be actually jewellery, if only for one reason, and that is if you drop it, it will probably be broken.
And if you wanted to make jewellery that had fancy glass in it per se, it would probably be easier to carve stained glass than enameling this way.
That's a bit unfair, because enameling does give a large colour choice.
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