Meet Karen Trexler, our Cool Tools resident artist. Karen discovered her interest in jewelry and metalsmithing in 2009 when she took a jewelry class in high school. Thoroughly hooked on making and interested in expanding upon the basics of metalsmithing that she acquired from this class, she continued to study metalsmithing and jewelry design in college and received a BFA from Ball State University. Karen then continued her studies at the University of Wisconsin - Madison, and received her MFA in the spring of 2018 before joining the Cool Tools team.
In this video, Karen demonstrates Plique-à-jour (French for "letting in daylight"). This is a technique where enamel is applied in cells, similar to cloisonné, but with no backing in the final product, so light can shine through the transparent or translucent enamel. The effect is similar to the look of stained-glass and is considered very challenging technically. The technique is similar to that of cloisonné, but using a temporary backing, such as mica. She includes two different versions, both using FS999 Fine Silver Metal Clay. If you are interested in how to create the sheet of clay Karen uses, please watch Cindy Pope's video on Rolling Metal Clay