The Art of Living by Making Art

Jewellery inspired by nature and made by hand.
How I make it, why I make it, the challenges I face and the successes that come my way.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Cloisonne Wire

I have been using wire in my enamels lately in two different ways. I wanted to try using round wire as cloisonne wire to see how it looked. Round wire is a lot easier to use in one sense because it doesn't fall over like the traditional rectangular flat wire that is used in cloisonne enamel.

I drew down some fine silver wire to the last hole on my draw plate which is about .3mm and used that for the Snowdrift Ring I did a couple of weeks ago (see post: Finished at Last). I liked the look of it a lot. It is much larger in diameter than traditional cloisonne wire so gives quite a different look. It is true that it is easier to keep small, almost straight, pieces in place though I do use some klyrfire type gel as well. I am thinking that next time I splash out on some new tools I'll see if I can get a drawplate that goes even smaller in diameter.

Another thing to remember about using round wire is that as you stone it back the diameter of the wire that is exposed changes, so even stoning is needed unless of course you want your wires to look different sizes.

This past week I made a cloisonne ring using the traditional rectangular flat wire. On this piece I wanted a fine and delicate look and I think I got what I wanted. The little pieces that make up the leaf veins are folded over, curved and then opened out - that way they stand up very well. Of course this ring is flat topped which makes it all much easier than working on a highly formed shape.

Leaf Ring

I really love experimenting like this, looking for ways to get the style I want in the piece, trying for different looks, combining alternate ways of working. Rules are made to be bent, broken and ignored after all!


  1. Oh my word...this is beautiful work!

  2. Thanks! I have sent it off to Influx Gallery in Calgary as part of my first package of enamelled work for them.