Follow-up on Mokume-Gane with Copper and Silver

First – this is the last call for entries: my book Patterns of Color in Metal Clay: Canes, Gradients, Mokume-Gane, goes to the printer in about three weeks. If you have pieces that you would like to include, please hurry.

While mokume-gane literally means “wood grain metal,” when we say “mokume-gane design” we mean a much wider range of designs. Some of them I’ve shown in my blog posting Sterling Silver Clay, Copper Clay, and Mokume-Gane, and many of them will be introduced in my upcoming book. In the pieces shown in the next two photos, I’ve tried a design that looks like natural wood grain.

Both sintered at first firing, with no need to repeat the second phase. A project of mine about making wood grain design in copper, bronze, and Pearl Grey Steel is about to be published in one of the next issues of Jewelry Artist (Lapidary Journal).

Then I tried gradient surface, stripes, and mixed copper and silver.

The bird is made from pure copper clay. After the first firing it fell off and I had to re-attach it with paste. The paste was a mix of copper and silver, and so is the backing layer. The sun is made from a mix of equal amounts of copper and silver.

I was not so happy with the gradient part (the sky), so I made another attempt.

Both the sun and the bird came out very well attached to the background, but the copper part in them required repeating the second phase of firing. The gradient area sintered the first time.

These pieces bring to mind old sepia photos. It’s good to know that this option exists. Maybe when the price of silver becomes reasonable again we can practice it more widely. In the meantime, I am sticking to base metal clays, which are reasonably priced and allow a wider, richer range of color combinations.

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