Basse Taille Brooch in a Day

Jane Sheppard

On a glorious day 14 of us gathered in a seminar room at Nottingham eager to learn from Jane Short techniques for creating a Basse Taille brooch in standard silver in one day.

Jane had brought with her some stunning examples of her own work both to inspire us and to use to illustrate the various stages as she talked us through the process. She had also prepared an excellent step by step flow chart detailing what to do in what order (essential for those of us whose short term memory problems mean that anything more than three steps ahead gets forgotten!). After deciding what shape we wanted to create and whether to texture by punching, engraving, etching or a combination of all three we were off.

If using a combination of methods to texture the silver (texturing under transparent enamels produces wonderful glowing colour and depth) etching is the first process to carry out. We discovered that sandwiching the silver between two sheets of sticky backed plastic provides a first class resist for the main part of the design, much quicker and easier than many other methods. More detailed sections were created by using nail varnish as a resist. Polishes produced for nail art decoration have very fine applicators almost like a drawing pen and enable very precise application (available on the internet at about £18 for 8 bottles). When the design had been completed in the resist, it was time for the ferric nitrate bath.

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