The French word "Champlevé" translates in English to "raised fields". When designing these pieces, I pay close attention to the negative spaces I create within each design that will ultimately be filled with enamel. The thicker silver areas such as the outer walls or swirly components within the frame will be the "raised fields" in the end. I fabricate the bases with fine silver metal clay. This material is ideal because of the deep textures I can achieve under the transparent enamel. Once the base is fired, burnished, and polished to a high shine, I begin painting in multiple layers of enamel, carefully blending the colors to create a smooth transition of color. Between each layer, the piece is fired in a kiln at 1450° F until the enamel flows. Once I have built up my layers to the desired depth, the surface is then ground down to create a smooth, flush finish. A final "flash firing" reveals a glossy shine, and additional polishing gives the silver a shiny finish. Click here to see a slide show of the Champlevé process.