You’ll notice most of my polymer clay creations involve Mokume Gane. This technique is a favorite of mine because one slab can generate and endless number of patterns. When you look at a mokume gane piece and come back and look a few minutes later, you’ll notice something different about the pattern. (Plus I tend not to follow instructions as written and mokume gane is pretty much stack and slice….can’t mess that up to bad can I? ;) )
Mokume Gane (pronounced "moe-KOO-may GAH-nay"), translated as “wood eye”, is an ancient Japanese metal working technique developed in the 17th century by Denbie Shaomi to decorate swords belonging to the legendary samurai warriors. The beautiful wood-grained ring patterns quickly made their way into other areas of decoration, especially the jewelry world.
To see the striking work in the metal world, please check out the following links. It gives you a greater appreciation of the work in Polymer clay when you see the technique done in metal work.
The versatile nature of polymer clay has allowed it’s users to replicate the beautiful patterns created by traditional mokume gane metal working artist. In it simplest form, this is achieved by rolling thin sheets of clay, usually on a pasta machine (but can be done without one) and stacking them. Small ball of clay are placed under the slab to create hills and valleys. Thin slices are then taken from the top of the slab to reveal the mokume gane pattern.
However, polymer clay allows artist to take mokume gane to another level. PC enthusiasts have found that there is no limit as to what other mediums you can add to the mokume gane slabs to create infinite patterns. Metallic leaf, paints, inks, mica powders, glitters are amongst some of the most popular choices. Mossy Owl (Michael) has created top 10 list of popular additions to polymer clay mokume gane. See (Note: She also does other “top 10s in polymer clay” on her blog. Her’s is certainly one to bookmark and visit regularly.)
Also you don’t have to use the balls of clay to create hills and valleys. Simply poking holes into the slab and then compressing, will also help to create a pattern. Rubber stamps can be impressed into the top of the slab and the slab then sliced away to create beautiful patterns. Clay shape cutters can also be used. Again an endless number tools can be used tools can be used to create a mokume gane pattern.
There are some Polymer clay artist out there that should be noted for their mokume gane creations. This list is by no means complete these are just a few of my favorites, so if you know of another noteworthy artist please add them to the list.
I’ve already mentioned Mossy Owl. However, please take a moment to visit her flickr website. Her take on the mokume gane jelly roll is wonderful.
Juile Picarello’s use of opaque colors in mokume gane are simply breath-taking. http://www.flickr.com/photos/8528368@N08/
Ruth Tarragano is another polymer clay artist that creates stunning mokume gane pieces. She creates beautiful stones made of pebbles collected from the Sea of Galilee. See her esty shop for these pieces.
I am a member of a flickr group for Mokume gane lovers. This group is made up of many very talented folks that have a love for this technique. So when you have a moment, browse through and check out the great works of this group.
Interested in trying to create some Mokume Gane yourself? You can just Google polymer clay and mokume gane and you’ll find dozens and dozens of how-to’s.
In the meantime, I’ll paste some of my favorite tute links for Mokume Gane:
(Note: does this post seem familiar. If you think you've seen it before, don't worry, you're not loosing it, I imported it from my old LiveJournal blog.)