Dancing Mermaid and Dolphin

My obsession continues!  It’s most recent manifestation is this dancing mermaid and dolphin necklace in sea-foamy  greens and beryl blues.  The beads were torch fired to match, and this time I even enameled the headpins to match!  I think that one little detail makes for a very lovely pair of earrings.

I decided I wanted to share more pictures of the process with you.  Unfortunately I relied on my camera phone for convenience and I didn’t get many well focused pictures.  I will likely redo a series of pictures in a future piece to get better quality pictures, but for now I’ll share these with you.

Step 1:  BUILDING THE DESIGN:  After preparing the base with a counter enamel and a base coat of foundation white on the front, I built the design using fine, flat cloisonné wire and literally glued the wires into place using blu-stic.

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Step 2: FIRING THE WIRES INTO PLACE

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Step 3: BREATH!  The first time I used the blu-stic to hold the wires in place, as I fired the piece started to look dirty, and then BAM!  It started to turn black.  I panicked!  I thought I had done something wrong and ruined it.  Foolishly, I almost stopped.  Ultimately I decided to fire forward and as I did it began to clear up.  My pulse and breathing returned to normal and I wiped the sweat from my brow. 🙂  I share this with you to now so that if the day comes you are in the same position, your heart won’t stop like mine did. 🙂

FIRST the blu-stic burns black.

As the blu-stic burns off it blackens ... don't panic!

NEXT as the organic material in the blu-stic continues to burn the black begins to recede and breathing and pulse return to normal.

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Step 3:  WET PACKING.  This is the stage where you select your colors and begin painting or wet packing your design cells.  I failed to take a picture of the wet packing before I began firing, but I do have a blurry pic of the piece firing in the flame in the first round of torching.  A better picture of this phase can be found in my previous post ‘Fabulous Fire and the Quantum Carp’.  Here I include my very blurry phone pic.

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Step 4: FIRE!    Multiple layers are fired upon the surface to fill in the cells of the design until it is flush across the face of the piece.  Here is a picture of the piece after the first firing balanced on the trivit.

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Step 5: SHOW AND TELL.  And finally, full pictures of the piece after the final firing.  I even created some torch fired beads with color coordinated enameled head pins for the matching earrings.  I love the extra detail that the enameled headpins add.  When I first started torch firing the beads with Barbara’s  technique I didn’t know what to do with the beads as they were larger than I was used to working with.  I finally found some that were a size that fit nicely into my comfort zone for designing with, just in time for my cloisonné fever to strike.  I have to say that being able to create torch fired enamel beads to match is PRICELESS!

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And now a week of withdraw as I impatiently await the arrival of more cloisonné wire …

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5 thoughts on “Dancing Mermaid and Dolphin

  1. I’m loving your enameling adventures and your creations are right up my alley! Now the rest of us are going to be in withdrawal too, as you wait for your next batch of cloisonne wire to arrive!

    • LOL. Thanks Jeanne. 🙂 I didn’t know what to do with myself yesterday. Funny thing is there’s LOTS I need to catch up on, but STILL my mind is on the next cloisonné piece I’m going to make. I did a lot of sketching, planning for possibilities. My next piece with either be a dragonfly (at my six year olds suggestion) or a southwestern landscape. I have many more than that planned, but I think I’m down to vacillating back and forth between those two for the moment. C’mon mailman!

      • I understand latest obsessions. Sometimes they become a forever thing. I’ve enjoyed watching your style expand and progress these past couple of years since joining SJA, now JAC. 🙂

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