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Learn the Unique Process of Enamel Inlay

Jun 26, 2008
If it is decorative enamel, then it will be applied by hand using one of several techniques of Champleve, Cloisonné, Basse-Taille, Plique-a-Jour, Encrusted Enamel, or Painted Enamel methods for painting portraits. After the enamel is applied, the object is then to be fired at a consistent 1000 degree Celsius (1832 degree Fahrenheit), for reason of avoiding enamel variations. Champleve is an enamel process done by etching or scratching the object's metal surface, resulting in dips and rises in the metal for pouring the hot enamel into. After cooled, the enamel is filed for smoothness and glossiness of both the enamel and the metal.

The exquisite art of enamel has been around for many centuries and has been used throughout many various cultures. The perfection of enamel art began to strongly show by the 16th century, but since then, there have been slight modifications of the original historical techniques. Over time enamel has come to be a big part in pottery, brick, glass and metals and is still very popular with so many various realms of artwork around the world today.

The art of enamel is a vitreous consistency of a substance that may be fused to a variety of objects including metal, ceramic and glassworks of art. Fusing is done by a type of heating process though various techniques depending on what the enamel is being fused to and the final desired effect. Enamel has for centuries been used in decorative fashion on jewelry, vases, and many other items throughout time. But for current in home modern uses, there is a type of enamel used in bathrooms and kitchen areas of most homes. This type of enamel is chemically identical containing a mixture of silica, soda or potash and lead, and sometimes included are metallic oxides.

With the first enamel creations, there are the basic steps of the ingredients being formed into cakes or lumps. These cakes or lumps will be ground into a fine powder. The powder is then applied to the surface to be covered. This powder can be applied dry or mixed with water or with oil before application. If it is decorative enamel, then it will be applied by hand using one of several techniques of Champleve, Cloisonné, Basse-Taille, Plique-a-Jour, Encrusted Enamel, or Painted Enamel methods for painting portraits. When doing industrial enamel, the application is to be sprayed on or dipped. After the enamel is applied, the object is then to be fired at a consistent 1000 degree Celsius (1832 degree Fahrenheit), for reason of avoiding enamel variations. It is not uncommon to do more than one technique on an object or piece of art.

When looking at the various techniques of enamel art, the Champleve and the Cloisonné are very widely used methods. Champleve is an enamel process done by etching or scratching the object's metal surface, resulting in dips and rises in the metal for pouring the hot enamel into. After cooled, the enamel is filed for smoothness and glossiness of both the enamel and the metal. The Cloisonné process is done by building up on the metal surface through thin metal strips being laid on top of the metal object in a pattern form. The pulverized enamel will then be applied between the thin metal strips and then filed and polished down for the end result.
About the Author
Anita Satin Choudhary writes for Ivory and Art Gallery. Browse the gallery for unique collection of artifacts ranging from Netsuke to Silver Judaica and Russian Silver & Enamel
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