Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chilbo - The art of Enameling

How time flies when you are having fun!

The past weeks have kept me really busy learning some quite interesting crafting techniques. I have been trying out Chilbo art or Enameling. In this art form, 7 kinds of precious items gold, silver, lapis, crystal, coral, agate and pearl have been used in the earlier days to make jewellery.

I was able to attend this program because of the Itaewon global center in Seoul. I am so glad I live so close to this center that enables me to take part in all these fun activities and explore more and more about the Korean culture. We could do the enameling on pendant or a broach or a key chain. First, inability to choose between broach or pendant. Happy to say, I overcome that indecision by choosing to make two: pendant and broach :)

Chilbo art on a broach
The broach base

Chilbo art on a broach
The pendant base on which we used the Chilbo enameling

The base was available in many different colors. I had a tough time choosing the base color.

Base color choices for the Chilbo art in Seoul
Too many choices for the base color!
We used a fine spatula to coat the base with glass powder mixture. We also had the option of using a transparent or an opaque base! More choices :)

After finally choosing my base color, we used different colored glass pieces as opposed to the real precious stones. We used fine tweezers to make designs on the pendant. 

Learning Chilbo art at Itaewon
We used glass beads to decorate instead of the precious gold, silver, coral 

Chilbo pattern using glass beads in Itaewon
My Chilbo pattern 
 This was my pendant design. Apparently I had used a thick layer of the base glass mixture and the glass beads design that I had used was small.

We then "cooked" the glass pieces in this special oven at around 800 deg C (!) melting the glass and giving it a lustrous shimmer. 

My piece looked a totally different color when it was hot and turned out to be in another color when it cooled down. Another interesting technique was to wear some heat resistant gloves and use a thin metal rod to mix the glass beads into a mosaic pattern. That stirring of the liquid glass beads made very interesting patterns on the pendant!

My mosaic pattern. It was quite a thrill to stir in the glass mixture at high temperatures! I was quite pleased with the heart-like design that the random stirring resulted in!

Beautiful Chilbo patterns done by the Teacher
Beautiful Chilbo patterns done by the Teacher!

E for Enameling for ABC Wednesday


  1. Awwwwwesss.....ome !!
    I as well as my daughter just loved it ! Its so beautiful like mixing colours in a water drop ! Am using so many exclamation marks ... hope you can understand our (Pihu and me) excitement.. Its an awesome post and a precious nugget of info Meoww :) Lots of love to you for this :)

  2. WOW is the word...that looks really artistic and creative and ofcourse complex for me atleast. The end result looks superb :)

  3. amazing... interesting in deed. kudos to your passion :)

  4. What an interesting procedure ! Beautiful photos !

  5. Interesting art form. It is always enjoyable to learn new things.

  6. Hey this is amazing and interesting!

  7. Oh my! You are putting your time to the best use, girl.
    I love these posts of yours. I have to say thank you for showing us how this was done. Just reading it and seeing the pictures is so interesting. It must have been great doing it.
    Great job, Devi. :)

  8. So cute. One of the many reasons to visit Korea :)

  9. Not familiar with this technique. Interesting!


  10. Your mosaic heart is pretty. Enameling sounds like fun. I must see if there's anything like that available nearby to try.


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