As an artist, enamelist and jewelry maker, I bring a lifelong involvement in the visual arts (with experience in fine art, illustration and calligraphy) to the challenge of making cloisonné enamel. My small-scale jewelry pieces are miniature paintings, which, while mainly abstract, take inspiration from the natural world and from historical influences such as Art Nouveau.
The ancient and elusive medium of cloisonné is slow and painstaking in its creation. The design of each piece is defined by fine ribbons of silver or gold, which I shape by hand and place on a fine silver backing. The compartments thus created are filled with thin layers of enamel - glass ground into a powder - in vibrant colors. Each layer is fired in a kiln at a high temperature.
I sometimes employ additional techniques and materials to enhance the enamel pieces. The technique of basse-taille involves imparting texture to the fine silver backing, prior to starting the enameling process. This texture shines through the transparent and opalescent enamels applied over it. Likewise, the application of precious metal foils during enameling creates areas that glow through the enamel, adding mystery and visual interest.
When sufficient layers of enamel have been applied and fired, the piece is carefully polished and a hand-crafted setting is created for it, using precious metals (alone or in combination). Sometimes I add precious or semi-precious gems to the setting to enhance and complement the enamel work. The result is a piece of wearable art.
I strive, through this work, to create cohesion and beauty from the disparate elements of line, form, texture, and especially color. The quality of the color that is born of the marriage of glass and metal is magic to me, so compelling and seductive is its luminosity, vibrancy, and subtlety. It is this quality that keeps me enameling.