Fauré Technique- Tutorial » Discussions


  • Leader
    April 24, 2011

    Welcome Everyone,


    Roll up your sleeves and let's get started learning

    the "Faure Enameling Technique" - If you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

    Step #1

    Clean the copper piece thoroughly.
    In this process, copper is used as a base, because it  has the same expansion as glass.
    Its  thickness  must  be ( 1/30 IN  ) in order  to  prevent distortions  of  the  metal  subjected  to thermal  shocks following  numerous  firing. 

    Step #2 & 3

    The copper vase is  covered inside and outside with a coating of transparent powdered enamel, called " flux" , and is  then fired at 16OO° F.

    Fire two layers of copper flux applied over “liquid tragacanth gum”, simultaneously with two layers on the inside. The interior has to be perfectly covered to avoid problems afterwards. The inside is painted with the gum and the interior filled with powder enamel, emptying the excess by turning the piece.

    The second coat acts both as a protection from corrosion, and also as a base on to which subsequent decoration will be added

    Step #4 -Silver Foil & Fire

     Apply the silver foil and fire.

    The Silver  foil  is  placed  on  the  surface  of  the  enamel.  The vase is then totally covered and fired  again  to adhere the foil.

    Step #6- Flux & Fire

    Cover the foil with Soyer flux for silver and fire at around 700°C (1290 °F).

    Step #7 & 8 - Transfer of Design
    At this stage, the design of the drawing of the vase is essential. It is important to create a precise and harmonious decoration to sign its aesthetics  by  covering  the vase perfectly.
    As the central decoration can be made twice, three times and more, the vase is placed on its drawing which has been first divided and lines  are  traced on the surface of the vase.
    This enables the artist to have points of reference during the work but, moreover ,to have a very precise construction.
    After the drawing has been transferred and the surface of the vase divided into regular sections, the pattern is directly painted with a  china paint.
    The line must be very thin " it takes about 12 hours to transfer the drawing anto the vase "

     Draw the design with a compatible medium. I use cobalt blue overglaze china paint mixed with very pure “térébenthine” (turpentine). I pour the turpentine into a wide bowl to evaporate, until a “honey” consistency is reached for mixing. For a floral design I paint directly over the fired silver foil, but if the design is geometric it has to be drawn with the exact measurements to fit the curvature of the piece. Fire.

    Step #9 - Adding Enamel Color

    Enamel is  a  mixture  of  silica, red  lead, potassium  and  sodium, which  are  melted  together  at  a  high  temperature. 
    The resulting  compound  is then  ground  finely  to  produce  a  colourless  powder called " flux ", which  is  more  similar to cristal than to glass.
    The colours are  produced  by  the  addition  of  different metallic oxides to this  basic  powder.
    The following  colours  are  obtained  with:
    Manganese oxides give black and violet colours... 
    Iron oxides give yellow...
    Green and brown colours...
    Chromium and copper oxides give emerald colours...
    Gold oxides give roses and purple...
    Cobalt oxides give blue colours.

     Apply pre-washed transparent enamels (mesh 80) mixed with the water and gum in very thin layers. I apply the enamel with a palette knife. Fire. I only use Soyer enamels from Cristallerie de Saint-Paul (Limoges, France). Reds and pinks are never applied directly over the foil to avoid a reaction with the silver. The entire surface has to be covered all at one time (it takes me about six hours per layer). The surface cannot be completely dry before the whole surface is covered, because the enamel would fall down.


     The decoration consists  of coats of differently  coloured  powdered enamel, applied  with  a  spatula, each coat must be  fixed  separately , by  firing.

    Reds and pinks are never applied  directly  over the  foil  to  avoid  a  reaction  with  the  silver.





    Step #10 - Second Layer of Enamels



    It is necessary to make a second coat of enamel
    ( it takes about  six hours per coat )
     I keep working and firing in the same way for each layer, always applying thin layers with the palette knife. I repeat this process 15 or 16 times, until all of the design is completed.

    Step #11 - Relief Work

     Start the relief work, working with Soyer flux for gold in 40 mesh mixed with water and gum.
    It can also be done with color transparents, but this will cause the base colors to change. Again, the whole process must be finished all at once, drying off the humidity with a paper towel, but not completely because the enamel can fall off. Fire between each layer. You have to leave a small gap between neighboring relieves.

    This technique makes it possible to obtain a kind of sculpture!. The enamel is applied in  thickness, and is  modeled  with a spatula  following  the lines  of  the drawing . It is really  difficult  to master  this  technique and it requires a great  experience  and  great  skill  from the  enameller.

    The slightest  error  can  be  fatal  when  firing.


    Fire is the catalyst  that  transforms  the  enamel  powder into  lustrous  material.
    Each firing has to be very precise regarding the temperature and the duration .
    Enamel begins to vitrify at ( 1112°F )
    There will be  approximately between (15 and 20 firings for this process.

    Step #12 - Opalescent white

    The last coating is done with opalescent" white", wich has to be applied over the areas in relief again with water and gum.
    Variations are obtained by superimposing  these coatings. The grooves  are  made  with the edge of the spatula.

    To control the thickness  of  the relief enamel in the oven, each firing has to be done by changing alternatively the upside down position of the piece on the rack .

    Step #13- Firing 
    After a 3-week " gestation" period including 45hours of work as well as 15 to 20 firings  at "1600° F ".
    " The Pink Spiral " vase is eventually created!...
    The work  of art in which the enameller has put all his talent, his know-how and all his high standards, that is.
    The mysterious legacy transmitted by the "Marters" enables one to approach all the alchemies of the creativity with humility. 



    • In order to hold and rotate the piece without touching it, and still be able to cover the entire surface all at once, she uses a wooden stick that passes through a hole in the bottom of the vase. The finished piece will be covered by a metal rim and base, which hides the hole.

    •I use a small palette knife to apply the enamel for all the layers.
    • When applying each layer of the wet packing, she dries the area with a paper towel (but again, not to be completely dry).

    •  Each firing has to be done alternating the position of the piece on the rack between upside down and standing.

    • Each firing has to be very precise and is done using different temperatures and durations.
    • Instead of using a pyrometer, I control the firing by looking at the color inside the kiln.

    Two books have been published about Camille Fauré: 
    Camille Fauré: impossible objects. 
    by Cork Marcheschi, and
    Limoges, Art Deco Enamels: the Geometry of Joy
    by Alberto Shayo.
  • Member
    May 17, 2011
    Great article, I have just finished the book still working on my Shotai Jippo but I am keen to have a go at this next.
  • Leader
    May 18, 2011

    Thank you Larah,

    Now you have me asking, what is "Shotai Jippo?