Blue Vase Necklace

I have been doing some online Art Classes with Leighton House Museum, London. It was the former home and studio of the leading Victorian artist, Frederic, Lord Leighton. It grew into a ‘private palace of art’ and for me the highlight is the amazing Arab Hall with beautiful intricate mosaics and Islamic Tiles from Isnik, Damascus and Persia. William De Morgan who is one of my art heroes, undertook the challenge of replicating tile fragments to repair some of the historic panels and doubtless this work influenced much of his own work as part of the British Arts and Crafts Movement. See their website to access recordings of the classes.

The classes with Laurelie Rae that I took before Christmas were a revelation to me when I realised the link between these Islamic Tiles and the British Arts and Crafts Movement and particularly how I could use this as inspiration for a new line of work. The next images show part of the development of a new Vase necklace with is inspired by Damascene Tiles at the museum.

First I cut out and shaped each of the silver panels so they would have a domed profile. Then the silver was engraved by hand. This engraving will show under the finished enamel. The wires were each formed following my final drawing which is a painstaking task. The silver had a layer of clear flux fired together with counter enamel on the reverse. Then each individual wire was transferred individually and formed to follow the curve. It is essential to get the first ones in the correct place! In this case all the wires were fired into place in one firing. They are on wooden stirrers because they have unfired enamel in place so the front and back can be fired at the same time.

Here you can see a few of the layers of enamel before they were fired. There were about six layers of colour in all as enamel needs to be built up in very thin layers. Each time it is fired for around 90 seconds at around 830 degrees C. Before the final firings the surface is rubbed down with diamond pads so all the wires and enamel are at the same level. Then enamel is placed only in the resulting recesses to bring it all up to the same level. Any imperfections or bubbles are corrected at this point. Finally when all is level it will have the final firing before more diamond polishing to bring it to a perfect flat, shiny surface.

This is the completed necklace. It has fine gold and fine silver dots which add sparkle to the final piece and each piece is set in a silver bezel setting I have made for it. If you want to know more about finishing enamel or the setting process then you may like to see some of the videos I have made that can be accessed from my website.


  1. ann thomson says

    lovely piece Thank you for your description and acknowledgment of the history Enamelling brings us all together .

  2. Andy M says

    Amazing work Linda, thanks for sharing.
    I loved the Elephant too, a great interpretation of the theme
    I can see that you haven’t been idle during the lockdown!!

    All the best