Cabochons · Jewelry · Pendants

More Mokume-Gane

Continuing with my trials and experiments, I thought of giving mokume-gane another go, making sure I don’t accidentally use Sculpey III like last time. 🙂 I also thought I’d work in some foil with the clay.

I layered sheets of green and black Premo clay, interspersed with a couple of sheets of silver foil, and pressed down a grid stamp on them. This is one of the deeper-etching stamps we own, but I still didn’t find it deep enough to produce a viable ‘mokume look’ after a slice or two. However, trying to stamp more after slicing only results in the layers getting smooshed and thinned down more and more, so after a while, the effect is dominated by busy layers, and the pattern is barely visible. Well, this is definitely not what I want!

Hollow Pendant in Polymer Clay using Mokume-gane

I made a hollow pendant from the ‘more effect-showing’ slices, and a hollow cabochon from the slices that looked busier. I covered both pieces with translucent clay to aid in sanding and buffing. The pendant accidentally got flung during my sanding efforts, and its bail shattered, but no worries, I can use it as a cabochon now. 😉

Hollow Cabochon in Polymer Clay using Mokume-gane

As you can see, there is a whole lot of plaquing — those pesky bubble-like entities — on both pieces, so much that it obscures the mokume-gane pattern. From my research of this plaquing effect, these are not air bubbles, and they mostly occur in translucent clay. (Or maybe they can just be seen better in the translucent clay…) And unfortunately, no one really knows what causes this. This unintentional effect is fine for the items that I made this time, but what about times when I don’t want the bubbly look? There are baking processes that people have suggested to reduce the plaquing effect — like increasing the temperature gradually — and yet, they’re apparently not foolproof. I have a feeling it’s got something to do with the age of the translucent clay, and  sadly, only old clay stock is available in my country. 😛

Back to mokume-gane — I’d want to work more on the technique to get better at it, but each practice session results in many mokume gane veneers, and I don’t really think I can keep coming up with uses for them. 🙂 Any ideas to help me out?

12 thoughts on “More Mokume-Gane

  1. I like both pieces. I think flaws give them character, but I understand your disappointment in getting them.
    Way back about a decade and half ago, when I first started in sculpting with polymer clay, I was plagued with air bubbles and half moon flaws.
    I resolved most of the issues by combining 2 brands of clay. I used Sculpey and Fimo polymer clay. I have used a combo of Sculpey and Cernit polymer clay too. But my favorite is Sculpey and Fimo. For some reason, for me, a blend of polymer clays was the answer. I don’t know if this helps, but it may be something to consider.

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  2. I think it’s great that you experiment with clay. Clay is something I haven’t wanted to get into, but I love the results. I think both pieces you made are so beautiful! You always make beautiful things with clay. Good luck with finding an answer to your issue.

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    1. Thank you very much, Ginny! It’s fun to experiment, even when I don’t get the results I’m after, but it’d also be nice to know how to get those results with as few deviations from the ‘plan’ as possible! 😉
      I’m hoping to try out E.C.’s tip next time and look for any differences. In the worst case, I can always scratch this and try a completely different clay technique! 😁


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