Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mokume Gane

I just finished my babysitting gig and I must admit - 3 young boys (my grandsons) wear you out!!! I had 2 girls and they were emotionally draining, but boys - let's just say I need about a week's bedrest!

My last post detailed the cane I made from the scrap left over from my first attempts at mokume gane, 18 years ago. The slices from the mokume gane stack that I demoed turned out so well I made some beads from them. As you can see, even this primitive form of mokume gane yields some nice results.

The key with mokume gane is CONTRAST. That's a very important design principle. To me it's one of the most important. If I show you a sheet of white paper what would you see? Probably not much. However, if I put two black dots and a larger black triangle between and below them, you could see that it obviously is a picture of a polar bear in a snowstorm :-)

The point is that the white defines the black and the black defines (or "informs" as some purists put it) the white. There are many design elements that can be manipulated to provide contrast: shape (organic vs geometric), line (thick vs thin), texture (smooth vs rough), colour (hue, saturation (pure vs dull), temperature (warm vs cool), value (light vs dark), just to mention a few.

Over the next few weeks I'll be discussing my experimentation with mokume gane and give a few tips on my way of doing this amazing technique.