Welcome to Susan Jones Studio and thank you for visiting my online studio. I am Susan Jones, a metalsmith, enamellist and art jewelry designer. The pieces of jewelry you will find in my studio are unique works of art -- one of a kind, hand fabricated pieces of jewelry made of the precious metals, gold, silver and/or copper. Each one is individually designed and handcrafted by me.
I have always been inspired by colors; hence, my attraction to enamels. Although there are many techniques that may be used in enameling, I particularly enjoy incorporating into many of my designs ancient techniques of cloisonné, plique-a jour, torch-fired enameling and raku.
Cloisonné is a process in which the enamel, finely ground glass, is placed inside wire cells. The cells are formed by establishing a design and laying the 24K gold or fine silver wire on fine silver sheet to form the design. The process is labor intensive because of the many kiln firings that are required as the enamels are placed into the cells.
Another enameling method that I enjoy using is called plique-a-jour. This is similar to cloisonné but there is no metal back to hold the enamel. The enamel, which is like grains of sand, is gently placed into each cell formed by the wires that are soldered or fused or by piercing the sheet metal, and the piece is repeatedly fired as additional enamel is added. Plique-a-jour is lovely in that the light shines through each cell making it to appear as a window of stained glass.
Torch fired enameling is accomplished by sifting enamel onto the cleaned metal and then heating with a torch. Torch-fired enameling is fun to do and the results are both beautiful and instantaneous.
Raku is a method in which the hot enamel along with combustible material is smoked, thus producing iridescent colors on the enameling piece. Often potters, along with enamellists, use this technique in creating their works of art. The results are stunningly beautiful.
Enameling and metal fabrication represent different, yet complementary, artistic skills. As a metalsmith, I use various tools to craft each piece of jewelry. A jeweler’s saw or shears is used to cut the metal. I forge the metal in the form of sheet or heavy gauge wire using an anvil and special hammers. A torch is used to solder, anneal or reticulate the metal. Each soldered piece is pickled in a mild acid. Any stones or enamels are then set in a bezel. Often the sheet metal that I use is rolled on a rolling mill against an acid etched plate for texture or etched directly in nitric acid. At times I use a hydraulic press to help form the metal into various shapes and hand held gravers are used often for engraving. The polishing is done with soap, vinegar, water and a brass brush, sandpaper, a buffer or a hand held foredoom with polishing compounds. If the piece of jewelry is not polished to a fine shine, a dark patina might be used and is acquired by dropping the piece of jewelry in heated liver of sulfur. It is then polished with steel wool. The resulting darker finish is desired by many as an attractive alternative to a more highly polished finish. As with any jeweler, I use many hand tools to assist in the fabrication.
Now that you have some idea of how most pieces of my art jewelry are made, I hope you will enjoy browsing my online studio with an appreciation of the craftsmanship that goes into each piece. Some of my past work is posted in the Gallery and if you are interested in a commissioned piece, please Contact me by e-mail. Remember that each and every piece of jewelry you find in Susan Jones Studio is individually designed and fabricated, so no two pieces will ever be identical.
If you want to know more about my journey as an artist, please view The Artist and be sure to check the News section frequently as I will be updating it with personal messages and tips. In my Favorites section, I have linked to the websites of several talented artists and other contacts that may be of interest to you. Please shop my Online Store and do not hesitate to return often, as the selection will change with each new design.
And remember, my individually handcrafted jewelry is also available through these fine retail merchants:
Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi, Jackson, MS
National Ornamental Metal Museum, Memphis, TN
Taylor P.O. Gallery and Gifts, Taylor, MS
Susan Kemp Jones
P.O. Box 717
Holly Springs, Mississippi 38635
Member of the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi
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