[Enamel Bits] Cloisonne on two sides

Hello All – Have a question relating to a new project of mine –
something new I’ve not tried. Am making a paten for a church – it is
a plate, about 7" in diameter, slightly domed in shape, with a
"footed" bottom made from a fairly thick wire circling the plate
placed to keep the plate from moving around when it is set on top of
the chalice. I want to use the cloisonne technique on both the top
and bottom side. I’ve never used cloisonne on two sides before – has
anyone done this successfully? If so, are there any problems peculiar
to using this technique on two sides that anyone has dealt with
before? Is there anything special in the firing that I need to do?
What will keep the filled (and heavy) cloisonnes on the “bottom” side
of the paten from sliding off onto the trivit when I am firing the
"top" side? Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you ever so much!!
Laura Wiesler

I have never tried cloisonne on two sides of a piece, but I think
your best bet is to use Japanese lotus root powder (avaiable from
Enamelworks in Seattle (800) 596-3257) for your cloisons, make sure
that you are building up equal levels of glass on both sides of your
piece in multiple firings and not to overfire the piece. I think
multiple firings to orangepeel, building up the enamel in thin layers
and final fire polish firings at the end will work out better will
work out much better than trying to slop on thick layers of enamel and
firing them to maturity each time. The chances of your cloisons
dancing on you in the kiln are less if you fire low and many times.
The best thing to do is experiment on a few small pieces of your
metal in a similar shape and degree of doming and try out different
ways of applying enamel and firing times at different temperatures.
Good luck with the project! Now back to my homework before my backed
up assignments topple over me like an avalanche. Juliet Gamarci

Hi…Julie had some good suggestions,I have never tried it either.
Would be curious how it works, I was thinking that after you fire one
side you place that side on a sheet of mica and that might help keep
things stable while firing the other side. Sue

I have never done this either but since you aren’t getting suggestions
from anyone who has I would like to add: Has anyone ever done this with
IT solder?


Is this process really any different than 'Pique-A-Jour"? Would the
same techniques apply? A super book is Margaret Seeler’s “The Art of

Sometimes Gem and Mineral shows sell mica mineral samples. Bought a
large chunk for several dollars. It will peel off sheets of mica like
an onion at a fraction of the cost of store bought sheets. Also, sheet
titanium will work as a non-stick support.

Bill in Vista


I just got back into town and maybe this could be of help.

I have done cloisonne on both sides of a piece. Nothing as big as a
plate, but on smaller pieces for jewelry. Following is an outline of
what I did:

  1. I set up a trivet so the piece would be suspended by the outer
    edges of the metal.

  2. I prepared the metal by doming and then cleaning with a glass

  3. I use distilled water with my flux and with a sable brush put a
    fine layer of flux, then dried and fired then repeated the process on
    the other side of the metal. I then put the wires on one side of the
    piece fired and then did the same on the other.

  4. I read a previous suggestion on firing till you obtain an orange
    peal stage while layering your enamels…I did just that and kept on
    reversing sides during the firing process…one side then the other
    until the last stage and then did a full firing. You will not loss
    the integrity of the piece if you fire at the perfect temperature for
    your enamels…too hot and you will loose your enamel on the bottom
    side and it will become uneven and has more of a potential to crack.

  5. Also it is very important to keep your enamels as even as
    possible on both sides so your enamels do not obtain stress cracks.
    Choose colors that fire at around the same temperature this is
    helpful in the final firings.

I do use Mica for firing my enamels, but not when I put wires on both
sides of a piece except to protect the kiln from any grains of enamel
that might fall and I put this on a screen trivet which I use as a
platform for the other trivet that I use to suspend the piece while I
am enameling. So in the following order screen trivet which sets on
the kiln floor, mica, trivet that holds the piece of metal.

I hope this is of some help.

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs

1 Like

Regarding this project being like plique-a-jour – the technique
that you are refering to ends up with the cloisonne being a form (a
goblet, plate, or whatever) of metal wires and glass – much like a
stained glass window. It’s real beauty is that light passes through
the glass itself. When my piece is finished, I will end up with a
’sandwich’ of cloisonne --metal–cloisonne, with the metal remaining
as part of the piece permanently. You are right about Margarete
Seeler’s books – I have one of her other books – Enamel Medium for
Fine Art and cannot get enough of it. Every time I pick it up, I learn
or relearn something new. Good tip about the titanium sheet --will
have to try that one. Thanks Laura.

1 Like

Hi – To all those who responded to my inquiry – thanks. Most of the
ideas shared were along the same lines of my thinking and it’s nice
to know that at least I seem to be heading in the right direction with
this project!! I have to say, the size of it is, I think, going to be
one of the trickiest components – keeping that balance on both sides.
To Linda – you mentioned that you wet pack your flux layer first –
is there a reason other than the size of the piece? I was planning
to sift for this – except close to the edges, where I expected to
wetpack in order to get a good layer down properly. This brings up
another question. When I was taught the champs-leve technique and
specifically that of creating the compartments by soldering a cut
piece onto a solid, I was taught to angle the edges of the ‘holes’ on
the side that was soldered down. (Make sense?) I don’t know that I
remember if there was a reason given, but I assume it has something
to do with the expansion/contraction processes of both the glass and
metal as well as having the glass better ‘anchored’ ?? I’m assuming
that for whatever reason this is important for this technique, I
should use this for both the edge of the piece and the foot that will
be soldered on. Any thoughts? Thanks – Laura.


I have experience with both wet packing and sifting the flux and
prefer wet pack for the following reasons:

1. Size, my pieces are small and I currently make only jewelry.
2. I don't have to put up with the enamel dust.
3.  I can get a better coverage.

I want to emphasize that this is my preference and I feel that I have
a better control with wet packing.

I believe for your project, due to the size, I would dust on the

I am unable to speak to the champleve since I have not done this

Good Luck, it sounds like a wonderful and challenging commission.

Linda Crawford
Linda Crawford Designs

“My indecision is final”
-Jake Eberts