In my previous experiments with large thin sheets of mokume gane, I created essentially abstract designs. Pieces cut or torn from the sheets were applied over flat sheets of scrap clay as in a collage. This time I experimented with patterns and covered mostly three-dimensional forms. I cut linear strips from the mokume sheets and aligned them to form patterns on the surface of the raw clay.
These three-dimensional pieces required much more handling than the flat pieces I had done before. I found I was disturbing the strips I had previously applied as I applied new ones. In the case of the banana slug, I ended up placing new strips over old strips repeatedly until I was satisfied with the results.
When it came to the beads, I held the clay forms on skewers to minimize my handling of the uncured clay. Because the strips I applied were extremely thin (like tissue paper) the beads had to be fully shaped before the strips were applied. Attempting to shape the beads after the strips were applied caused smearing.
In my earlier experiments I found that unless the veneer I created was perfectly flat, I would lose some of it during sanding. Flat pieces could be covered with a sheet of deli paper and burnished until the surface was flat and smooth, but with 3-D forms I had to use a roller and other tools. After some trial and error, I found I got the best results by waiting until the entire bead was covered before applying pressure to join the strips.
Each of the pieces above has a flat surface made by aligning and joining strips or dots. These next two pieces incorporate raised dots, punched from the mokume sheets with a circle cutter. The piece on the left began as a flat background of strips. After the piece was fired and sanded I added raised, gold-rimmed dots then fired and sanded it a second time.
The piece to the right has dots applied over dots in several stages. It was fired and sanded after each stage. I had to take special care during sanding to avoid sanding off the dots.
This final piece is a late addition to this post and yet another experiment. This time I aligned the strips edge-to-edge on a sheet of scrap clay and burnished them all together. Then I trimmed the sheet into a rectangle. I picked the sheet up and wrapped it like a blanket around a pre-formed core of scrap clay shaped like a flattened cylinder. I pinched the top and bottom then trimmed and pressed them flat. Finally, I rolled the covered core gently between my hands to seal the covering to the core. There is a seam on the back of the piece.
All of the pieces shown here were sanded with 400, 600, and 1000 grit sandpaper then buffed on a buffing wheel.