Hi. In response to an inquiry from Roy as to an elementary
explanation of plique a jour enameling I will tell what I know
in a nutshell.
There are basically 3 types of plique a jour enameling:
pierced (basically sheet metal that is pierced/sawn - then
the Japanese method where something simliar to cloisonne is
done over a copper form and when complete and fired for the
final time the copper is removed by using an acid bath
the method employed in Russian and Scandinavian designs
around the turn of the century wherein a wire form is made (can
be filigree) and enameled.
The method I prefer and the one I have studied is #3 and is the
result of my Russian instructor’s (Valeri Timofev) search and
skill in making yesterday’s methods work today.
Basically you start by making your wire design over a steel
form. This is then bound with wire and soldered. (Takes many
solderings to close all joints.) The skeleton is taken off the
form and enameled using the “surface tension” technique (like
soap bubbles in a wand). Again - many firings to fill the
cells. It sounds easy but is extremely frustrating - so many
things can go wrong!!! Also, since the expansion of glass and
metal are different it is virtually impossible to produce a
piece which is “crack-free.”
I will never look at plique a jour again and think it’s easy -
what an education this has been!!! I hope this gives a small
insight to some of you who have always wondered how it is done.
I have a few of my pieces shown on my web page that my daughter
designed for me for my birthday if anyone is interested in
seeing them - my apologies in advance if some of the photos are
less than idea!
Plique a Jour : http://hometown.aol.com//dianealmey/index.html
If this link doesn’t work please feel free to contact me for the
address. Best Regards to all – Diane Almeyda