This has been the time of COVID-19, and as any artist will tell you, that means lots of upsides amongst the many downsides of a global pandemic! As a retiree, I am fully in the crosshairs of this virus, but I am also an artist, and that means staying home translates to more studio time. One of the amazing gifts of this is that my enamelling mentor, Merry-Lee Rae, has been unable to host her normal cycle of in-person classes at her studio in Watsonville. So she has been teaching online! Such a gift! This fantastic enamel piece would have been created at her classroom, but due to the pandemic, the class moved online. I have also been able to take a couple of other online classes. So far, this was the most challenging, and for that I loved it.
No-one ever promised that enamel would be an easy journey, but it sure is an engaging one!
This is a fairly simple but technically quite challenging pair of cloisonne earrings, featuring a hard-to-source discontinued enamel color for the petals, and the tricky but beautiful opalescent enamel in the background. As you move, the opalescent enamel will shimmer like (duh!) an opal. Because of the labor intensive nature of cloisonne, these enamels will be slightly more expensive than others--and so they come fitted with leverback earwires for additional security. These earrings are the perfect weight--not too heavy for your earlobes, but significant enough to swing and feel great in the ears!
This is one of those pieces that just really has the wow factor! I carefully blended several shades of purple enamel into each individual cell and then I used fancy bezel wire to add to the luxe feel. In keeping with my new desire to use more gems, I added a fabulously translucent amethyst cabochon, along with a casting of a tiny succulent flower. I added the bail, and darkly oxidized the whole piece, before photographing it and adding it to my social media accounts. That very same evening, it was claimed by it's new owner, and I get to mail it off through our isolated world today. I sure hope it brings a bunch of joy with it!
For some time now, I've been wanting to expand my use of gemstones. Not just because they are luscious, and I want to touch them and choose them, and just generally love them, but because I feel like the luminous colors of enamels and gemstones just sing to each other! Up until now, I have tended to add small gems, but not bigger stones.
But when I completed this lovely green bird enamel, I decided that this translucent green faceted tourmaline was just the perfect match for the spring-like vibe of the enamel. Just to add to the overall look, I perched the stone on a piece of twig cast in sterling silver.
Definitely look for more and bigger gemstones to appear in my work!