Many get frustrated as they try to balance the cloison wires on the base coat of flux as you place the piece in the kiln. There are several products you can order to help secure them. Most common is Klyre Fire, but if you need something a bit stronger try Tragacanth Gum. Tragacanth Gum is commonly use in securing granules in the technique of Granulation. it is a food additive and can be found here; www.lorannoils.com.
I have found it works best if added to water to create a milky consistency and let it sit over night before using. When in need to secure a wire or two dip the cloison wire in the tragacanth solution and place on the fired flux enamel jewel and set on the kiln for a few second as the heat will harden the solution.
When you need to remove trash or a bubble in the cloisonne enamel jewel, use a diamond bur. And save this bur for only your cloisonne and enamel repair. A good quality bur, as the diamonds are smaller and spaced close together. If they are large a spaced out too much it will rip the enamel instead of a fine sanding.
One of the most important things is to glass brush the sanded area, be sure it is dry and fire. This way there is no shadow of the cloisonne repair work.And now you can apply more enamels to level the repair of the jewel.
There is more detail on this under Cloisonne and Repairing Cloisonne.
Back to play!
In designing you cloisonne fine jewelry here is something to keep in mind. I want to show you what happens in cloisonne as wires attract heat and cause the base meal to distort.
This is a cloisonne piece I am currently working on and thought it
would be a good opportunity to show how things can move.
There is a concentration of wires in the top left of my design. As I am layering in enamels the cloisonne jewel starts to bow up in this area.
Here you can see the top left of the enamel piece is higher, and the right base of the enamel piece is bowing. And can cause several problems if not dealt with. One, as you have planned your warm colors in the high area you could sand it all off while trying to make a nice even dome, because you have several layers of flux before you have added the warm colors. Second in setting the right side will be higher and maybe your bezel will not cover the same as on the left side.
And the farther you go without knowing and planning more can go wrong. The counter enamel also likes the heat and will pool under this area, and can eventually cause the enamel jewel to sink in the area as well.
As the points of my piece are lifting and the center starts going down I know I have reached the limits of layering in the enamels.
One way to counter this is by adding cloison wire to the back of the jewel opposite of the wire work on the front of the jewel.
Foils in Cloisonne!
Debbie was very kind to share her Colisonne Enamel Jewel. It is fantastistic. I love the effect of over filling the cloisonne cells and here she has used it very well! If you click on the image it gets larger and you can get a better view of the jewels on the bridle. And in may of them she has used foils. Excellent! Thanks Debbie
Hello, I had a go with some transparent enamels this time in my cloisonne, but I had a problem with the opaque white coming into the transparent. I think it was leaking under the cloison wires? I tried to fire the opaque and transparent at the same time, I think was a mistake? I think the opaque leaked under the wire at the higher temperature it takes to fire clear?
Thanks for your kind assistance (I need it!)
Your cloisonne work looks great, you have the transparent green nice and clear. In my experience when you apply the cloison wires and sink them down into the flux you should not have one color moving into other cells. If the wire is not all the way in the flux when you apply the colors the enamel can travel under the cloison wires. Lets say you put in the opaques enamel in all assigned cells of the cloisonne piece, and it is now dry after going all the way around. When you put in the second color = green here, it is wet and will suck the opaque enamels through any open space under the wire. The dry enamels will move toward the water. You even have to be careful the enamel it does not come through on the sides where the cloison wires are not real tight, as I can see here where the dark color enamel pulled through into the aqua cell.
So just check after you sink the cloison wires into the flux enamel that you have complete contact. If you do not I would rather burnish the wires down carefully, as they are very soft now and re-fire. This is common on a domed surface. Also as I work I try to keep the piece damp to avoid this and dry it all at once before firing.
Great job! Patsy
Question – what do you use as a glue (besides Klyr Fire) for Cloisonne Wire? I heard of something called “no spit” or vac u coat?? Appreciate your comment. Debra Long
If you are needing a solution stronger than Klyr Fire try tragacanth. It is available on line and the best results I have had, is if I add water to the powder and let it sit over night to get a good creamy consistency. It does not take that much. And after firing, it turns to ash so brush it off before applying another coat of enameling.
If this is not enough to hold the cloison wires for your application I move to fusing the wires to the fine silver.
Thanks for the visit!
Some enamelists use lily root powder for vertical surfaces. It can be purchased from Coral Shaffer at Enamelwork Supply in Seattle.
If you’re using fine silver cloisonne wire on fine silver backing you can also use Art Clay Silver’s Oil Paste or homemade lavender oil paste and fire in a kiln first. These are metal clay products that are designed to join fired metal clay to fired metal clay or any fine silver to any other fine silver metal.