Intro to Enamel

1. 七宝焼の基礎知識/ Intro to Enamel







2. 有線七宝の作業工程































1. Intro to Enamel

Enamel is made by fusing powdered glass to a substrate by firing at a high temperature. The powder melts, flows, and then hardens to a smooth, durable vitreous coating. Enameling is an old and widely adopted technology, for most of its history mainly used in jewelry and decorative art. It' s said that the oldest enamel is used in ancient Egyptian Tutankhamun's mask. It's exported to Asia using the silk road and came to Japan. It's made much in Meiji era and exported aboard.

There are many ways of Enameling, but Hitto uses Cloisonné, French for "cell", where thin wires are applied to form raised barriers, which contain different areas of enamel.

Hitto also aquired a skill of Paint Enamel when she was in France. They use different skill, techniques and tools, which makes the work looking different from Japanese ones.

Enameling has a wide variety of tradition and techniques worldwide, which is one of the interesting facts of Enameling.

2. Cloisonné Process

1. Prepare for the base metal. Hitto usually hammers the metal by herself, but some get ready-made materials.

2. Put white enamel or a silver leaf on the body metal and draw a design draft on it.

3. Put silver wires along with the draft. The cloisonné wire must be glued tightly to the enamel surface not to let the colors go out from crevices.

4. Place color powders, enamel, into each section for a small amount and fired. By repeating that process, the enamel gets thick. The preferred temperature varies by color, and the color changes by firing. Meaning, the enameler need to experience for years and years to acquire solid skills for perfect results. 

5. Repeat polishing and firing to fine the piece.

6. Polish to finish.

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