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enamelling techniques


The "Champlevé"
--- • It's the oldest technique. Cavities are dug in the metal with gravers. The wet enamel powder is laid into them and undergoes short firings.
• Thus, the colours are surrounded by the metal spared by the tool, hence the term "taille d'épargne" (blackline enamelling) which also applies to this technique.
• Sandpaper is used to eliminate the surplus enamel and to polish the metal.
• A variant of this technique called "pseudo-champlevé" consists in fixing a pierced enamel plate on a second plate and then the cavities are fitted in the traditionnal "champlevé" method.

The "cloisonné"
(partitionned)
• Fine metal strips (gold, silver or copper) are soldered on a copper plate, creating a network of pertitions which constitute the lines of the pattern.
• The interstices are filled with powder as in the "champlevé" technique.

Painted enamel
--- • The support (plaques, objects, jewels, etc.) is covered by flux which is submitted to several firing to receive the decoration.
• This latter is obtained throught the superposition of numerous colored enamel layers.
• The pattern is drawn with metallic oxydes. The translucid enamel is then applied in succession of layers. Many firings are necessary.
L'Émail de Basse-Taille
(low-cut enamels)
--- • The copper plate is finely wrought or "guilloché" by engraving, hammering or chiselling.
• It is then covered with opalescent translucent enamels for mysterious shimmering transparency effects.

L'Émaux de Plique
(pierced enamels)
--- • The copper plate is pierced and the holes are filled with enamel.
• The effect is similar to that of stained glass windows. The enamel being visible on both sides.

There several techniques:

- "la grisaille": which led to painted enamel. It uses "blanc de Limoges",
- "le paillon" : addition of thin gold or silver leaves which gives a particular brightness to the colors.



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