I haven’t had time to do much blogging during the holidays, but I have had time to do more experiments with mokume gane. I’m still working with very thin sheets (1/32 inch) sliced from the mokume billet with my slicer. All of the impressions were made with my handmade impression plates or stamps. In these experiments I cut out sections of the sheets with a craft knife and collaged them over a base of scrap clay to form either patterns or abstract designs. The two pieces shown here were made from slices from the same billet. The slices were so thin, I had to press them against a glass work surface to stabilize them while I cut them.After firing and sanding a piece, I always have a hard time deciding whether to give it a satiny surface by buffing it on my jeans or go one step further and buff it to a glass-like shine using the buffing wheel. The pendant above was left with a satiny surface while the leaf pin on the right was buffed on the buffer.
I have seen many pieces in which the shine is somewhere in between; they were buffed on a buffer but not to the point of having a truly glass-like shine. I find this in-between state less attractive than either extreme, and I think it results from ending the buffing process to soon. This is a suggestion I give my students: Once you decide your piece is “buffed” lighten up the pressure against the buffing wheel (think of a baby’s kiss) and go over the piece thoroughly one more time. This almost always results in a glossier finish.
When I made these pieces I used regular clay rather than scrap clay for the backing because I didn’t intend to overlap the cutouts. I made the piece on the left first. I like the contrast between the metallic clay and the background but I didn’t like the relationship between the shapes and the background (the negative space).
The piece on the right started out the same way but I changed it by cutting some unpatterned sections of my mokume sheet and using them to cover the background.
I have a lot more to show you but this post is getting too long. Watch for an update soon.