For most of this semester I've been making champleve pieces in my enameling class. However, a few weeks ago, I went back to designing a simple enamel and cloisonne pendant. I hadn't made one in a long time and I wanted to make sure that I didn't forget how to do that particular technique.
I arranged the cloisonne into a classic flower design. It may look pretty simple, but setting the flower petals turned out to be trickier than I imagined because cloisonne wire sometimes moves a bit when the piece is fired in the kiln. With abstract pieces this isn't that big of a deal, but it can be a pain when you need the cloisonne to be in an exact position -- like with a flower. I solved the problem, though, by firing a bit of the cloisonne at a time. This way, the remaining pieces of wire could lean against the already-fired cloisonne and would stay in place.
To get this particular shade of blue, I did some color combining and mixed water blue enamel with nitric blue. Just to be clear, you can't really mix enamels when the glass is in the dry powder stage -- but you can layer colors to get some shading. So I fired the water blue first and then layered the nitric blue on top of it to get this rich hue.
The flower's color is called raspberry. I love it because it's such a deep shade of pink and it really stands out against the blue. In its powdered form, it doesn't look like the raspberry will be very bright -- in fact, it's kind of pale -- but it looks a lot different once its fired and glossy. This is the case with a lot of enamels, actually; they look different once fired and cooled, which is why it's important to make a test strip of colors.
My finish for the necklace is pretty simple: I made a silver wire wrapped chain and added a few blue crystals... but I think the end result makes a nice showpiece. This is the kind of necklace that you wear for special occasions because it's so eye-catching, though it works with casual outfits, too. And flowers will always be fashionable in some way; they're a very classic design.