Enamel Enigmas

Article excerpt

Cloisonne enamel jewelry is a magical medium in which to work. Not only does it provide seemingly infinite possibilities in terms of shape, color, texture, and intensity, but it can also be a rich, delicate, indeed radiant "canvas" on which the artist may express ideas. For California-based artists Falcher Fusager and Susan Demski, cloisonne has taken on the added dimension of mystical and mysterious realms through the inclusion of exotic influences from abroad.

"Most of our collections are inspired by the world's wondrous and diverse cultures--new and old alike. Over the years the Celtic and Egyptian cultures have especially caught our fancy," they explain, adding: "We were struck by the important role cloisonne played for these masters and the power of the jewelry they bequeathed to us." American Indian and Oriental influences can also be found in the vivid colors of their jewelry work.

The techniques employed in their painstaking craft are as intense as the artistic result itself. Enamels are fired at least twelve times at 1,400[degrees]F, after which up to ten layers of enamel are poured into patterns shaped by 24-carat-gold design wires. …