The making of a NYCO Enamelled Heirloom
NYCO's collection of intricate, handcrafted, enameled
ornaments are noted for our innovative design concepts,
unique colorations, and overall quality. As a memento, or a
complement to celebrations, each creation captures the
beauty of a treasured art form.
Nicki Yassaman, head of NYCO, first draws a sketch of a
new ornament design. Images may reflect elements of nature,
nostalgic holiday themes, antique fabrics or sophisticated
geometrics. The completed artwork is then taken to one of
the three NYCO Factories.
Each ornament design is produced in a silver prototype
for more precise rendering of pattern and coloration. Once
the prototype is approved, production of the iron mould can
begin. The ornament shapes are made by pouring copper,
which has been heated to a liquid into the molds.
To create the design on the piece, copper wires are
individually twisted by hand. These wires come in various
thicknesses with a single filament reaching as much as 50
yards in length. The twisted wire is formed into a pattern,
cut, and carefully applied by hand to the ornament using
tweezers and glue.
To set the pattern, the wired design is dusted with epoxy
and fired in a kiln of a temperature between 500 and 800
degrees. The technique results in a piece that is
structurally strong and copper in color.
Each NYCO ornament is a delicate palette of distinctive
colors. Often layers of color must be applied to achieve
the desired effect. To withstand the high temperatures of
the kiln, only colors that will fire true to the original
design are selected.
The copper ornament produced from the mold is first
painted with a white base coat or silver-plated. Small
brushes are then dipped in liquid enamel paint and hand
applied to the wired design.
To produce the many colors on a design, one color may be
applied over a different color so that the ornament is
finished with the appropriate shades and tones. To attain
the precise coloration, technologists must experiment until
a specific effect is achieved.
The ornament is fired a second time in a small,
coal-fueled kiln that holds up to twelve pieces. Due to
high temperatures reached during the firing process, the
liquid enamel essentially turns to glass. Depending upon
the collection, the ornament is now silver-plated or plated
with 24k gold. Pieces are then dried to a lustrous, durable
The History of NYCO Video Presentation
our video presentation of "The History of NYCO" , you will
need a computer with audio capability and the QuickTime
Get QuickTime for Windows
History of NYCO" for broadband
History of NYCO" for dial-up