Plique-a-Jour Work by DIACCA from 1974-1985
Plique-a-Jour is a type of enamel which resembles miniature stained glass. Where other enamels are ground glass fused onto a metal backing, plique-a-jour is a difficult technique much produced in 1800's Russia as souvenir objects of art, along with some of the famous Fabergé eggs made for the emperors. A technical tour de force in enameling, the enamel is suspended in small openings and fired. The granular enamel (glass, similar to sugar in size) must be brought up to fuse temperature. It must fuse completely to become the clear, clean glass suspended in the openings without air bubbles or contaminants. This means that the enamel must be brought up to an almost syrup-like consistency and not a second longer which would allow it to run out of the openings.
I use a vacuum furnace to eliminate air bubbles and use a stop watch with the pieces suspended vertically. I may take it up to full fuse temperature many times during the final stages of production. This is a nerve-wracking method, but I think my plique-a-jour enamels are the cleanest and clearest possible.
Many plique-a-jour pieces are made by using a foil background, or metal which is later removed by various methods. This leaves the enamel slightly dull on one side. By firing my pieces in the kiln without backing I end up with a convex shiny surface on both sides in each cell. Which also makes the enamel stronger, clearer and allows for a thinner more transparent enamel.
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Pat DIACCA Topp - The Topp Shop & Gallery
709 W. 5th Street - Marshfield, WI 54449 - Ph: 1-715-384-2627 - Email
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