Enamel: California Native Plants In Cloisonné

Recently, I finished these 4 kiln-fired cloisonné pieces, which are a little over an inch square each. They are made from sterling silver, fine silver and enamels, which are glass ground with different minerals for color. Each was fired repeatedly in a kiln at almost 1500°. It’s an exacting and exciting process with beautiful results.

The oldest cloisonné enamels — where extremely thin wires are used to make the shapes — are from the Middle East in the 2nd century BCE. From there the technique spread to the Byzantine Empire and to Russia. Spreading along the Silk Road, it found its way to China, Japan and beyond.

My pieces are destined to become bezel-set corners on a leather-covered wooden book which will house the letters of a California miner. He mined in and around our area of the California foothills and sent letters home for 3 years. The cloisonné pieces are in celebration of California’s beautiful native plants.