I begin by making many drawings, from life or photos, of my chosen subject.
The base shape is cut from pure silver, formed and textured.
24k gold cloisonné wire is carefully bent into shape and attached to the base.
The enamel is made of powdered glass, and comes in many colors.
The enamel is applied with a brush to the metal, in thin layers.
The piece is fired in a furnace at red hot temperature between each layer, and the glass melts and fuses to the silver base.
After the enamel layers are built up sufficiently to give depth, richness and complexity of color, the surface is stoned smooth and polished. The wings were cut from an abalone shell.
A setting is constructed from 18k gold sheet and wire to hold the enamel, abalone, and diamonds, and to complete the design of bird and vine.
The finished piece, inspired by an early morning encounter with a hummingbird in my garden, captures the bird in mid-flight sipping on nectar from a honeysuckle vine.