The confection

The baking which allows the crystallization of the clay

The different steps for a jewel’s confection :

  1. The jewel’s design : Effectively, some pieces must be precisely defined before, and can be only shaped individually.
  2. The modeling : Each bead is manually shaped and pierced to permit the threading during the assembly. Some elements are pierced twice. The drilling is delicate and meticulous to avoid the deformation of the flat or round pearl, because this step will determine the harmony of the jewel.
  3. The drying : when the modeling of the piece is finished, before to be able to bake the elements, they require a total drying at the open air. The time of the drying obvious depends on temperature, weather outside and the thickness of the pieces. A premature baking can make the different pieces explosed.
  4. The baking : A step baking is ideal, the clay becomes state of brick at about 180 degrees celsius. For some pieces a re-adjustment with sandpaper is necessary. In this case I choose to make a first baking at 180 ° and to sand before the final baking. A small ceramic oven heats about 1000 degrees celsius, then the pieces becomes glowing, although the crystallization is already obtained from about 850° . After the baking we obtain what is called a porous ceramic which can be subsequently vitrified by baking again. Personally I don’t enamel because I shape many small elements to assemble and that enamel will weighed down the pearls. It’s possible for plastron pieces or for few big beads or elements. Those techniques are rather destined for set of dishes or vases. So, once my ceramic baked I choose to paint it, paintig which is baked about 130-150 ° degrees celsius.
  5. The paint : It’s a long step in the confection, each paint have its characteristics. Generally each element has two to four layers of paint, all depends of the effect researched. There’s a varnish layer too. Of course there’s a longer or shorter time between each layer for drying.
  6. The baking of paint : It allows adherence to the ceramic, it reveals the brilliance of the jewel to come, it can also change the appearance .
  7. The assembly : It’s a little the reward, although in a first time the beads must be gently removed from the supports, it may be necessary to deburr them too. Then it’s at this moment that I choose various little elements as cups, miyuki beads, connectors to find the best assembly possible. As it’s handmade there will always be small irregularities but that’s the charm of the jewel. As long as the whole is harmonious and beautiful, the goal is achieved.