General Session: Magical Mokume Gane – Exploring the Universe of Possibilities
When I was new to polymer, I became intrigued with applying the ancient metal technique, mokumé gané, to this wonderful, colorful and versatile medium. Nine years later, I am still fascinated! In this presentation I want to share what I have learned along the way and to show some new techniques that, I think, push mokumé gané in an exciting new direction.
A centuries old Japanese metal working technique, mokumé gané is very different when realized in polymer clay. The versatility of this medium gives us more opportunity for variation. I am always experimenting. Many polymer artists are adapting the technique with purpose and predictability, giving more thought to how they distort the layers of clay and whether the distortions produce patterned or random design.
When we go beyond the focus of how we distort the layers of clay that make up the billet and contemplate the effects of making changes to layers within, we can produce enticing, intriguing and more sophisticated design. Substituting the standard opaque clays in the billet with translucent clay changes the final effect. By adding a variety of elements to translucent clay, the final effect becomes more dazzling and impressive. Metal leaf is a standard addition to layers that make up a billet. Imagine adding metallic paints, inclusions, tinted translucent clay or silk screened or stenciled patterns as a layer.
Even more exciting developments happen when you alter the makeup of the billet even further by combining the precision of caning with the traditional layered approach to mokumé gané. The marriage of precise, predictable elements with the organic effects of layering and distressing yields such beautiful harmony!
I am obsessed and forever intrigued by the alluring “magic” of mokumé gané. In my presentation I hope to expand on traditional approaches and to inspire attendees to take mokumé gané to new heights. I feel that with continued experimentation we are at the brink of developing a “new generation” of mokumé gané polymer artists.
Tuesday, August 15 – Morning
Presenter: Ellen Prophater
Ellen Prophater, both as an artist and as the gallery director of Creative Journey Studios, is a steadfast proponent of polymer. Her fascination with polymer clay is always being redefined. The color possibilities are what draw her to this medium, while bringing her expertise in metal fabrication, pottery, glass, encaustic painting and quilting to bear on her finished art. Ellen has developed her style of mokume gané, using variants both on and in the clay. After working with polymer for 8 years, she is obsessed and forever intrigued by the “magic” of mokume gané.