Cloisonné enamel: Embossed decor of ceramics

The development of enamels has a rich geographic history. It is closely connected with the culture of the central European countries, as well as the cultures of Persia, India and China. These are the countries, which have achieved great results and lead in enameling even today. They made a certain contribution to the technology itself and which in turn affected the culture of the Mediterranean. In the 15th century, the Byzantine cloisonné enameling technique reached its perfection. It is quite a labor-consuming and difficult technique. It is the Byzantine enamel examples, which are considered to be the classic examples, but not the Celtic-Roman ones, which appeared 500 years earlier, or enev the Egyptian ones, which are 1000 years older.

The famous Georgian “minankari” are another great example of enamels. The masters continued that Jeweller's art and preserved all the details of the technique.

The ceramic cup made in St.Elisabeth Convent, using the technique of the embossed decoration, you feel that it is not just a decorative element, but an echo of ancient art. The item adds volume, and its texture is unique and inimitable. What is more, such cup is rather pleasing to the touch.

Using a stencil, a painter sketches of the embossing on the raw (not encaustic) surface of the item, according to the example.

The embossing itself is scratched with a metal instrument. The remaining of undue enamel is purged away.

All the elements of the item are painted with ceramic paints, the salts of various metals, and colored enamel.

Then the colored pottery is going through burning.

Working with this technique, our craftsmen have managed to develop their own style. If you look at the finished works, you will be surprised at the decisions taken while working on this particular item, as well as the inventiveness of our painters in their work with salts and metals. Even if a cup is made according to the example, it will be unique anyway, for the handmade work is matchless. Every time there are other painter and other mood, which will reflect on the finished item. Yana Kasperovitch, our ceramic painter, will tell you more about this.

I am from Vitebsk, the city which is rightly called the city of artists and the second “Paris”. The city of such artists as Mark Chagall, Ilya Repin, Yehuda pen, Kazimir Malevich, Robert Falk, Mstislav Dobuzhinsky, Vladimir Tatlin, and Solomon Yudovin. In 2008 I got into the college of arts on the faculty of pictorial art. When I finished my study, I came to the ceramic workshop of St. Elisabeth Convent, where I work to this day. I was sent to the department of embossed decoration. To my surprise, the ability to paint was not enough to do my work. That is why I had to learn more about the materials I worked with. Like any other technique, embossed decoration demands you to fell the material and to understand it. A distinctive feature of salts and enamels is that their colors before and after burning are quite different, what means that an artist can never be sure in the results of his work.

It is necessary to note that the technique is quite unique, and this is why every cur or saucer are unique too, because all the work beginning from a sketch is handmade.

What is more, I would like to point out that this craft needs well-coordinated teamwork. Each item is getting through several craftsmen, and to achieve the best result we need to be very attentive and to do our work with high responsibility on each stage. 

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