All photos courtesy of the artist
I am an artist because I am curious and have a deep desire to continue learning. I enjoy viewing, studying, and crafting organic and inorganic structures, surfaces, and patters within metal. I enjoy the concept that the metal or object that I am creating will take on a new form through a series of transformations. Over time it will develop and change as if by metamorphosis.
Mokume is a Japanese metalsmithing process that loosely translates to "eye of the woodgrain metal". The process was first developed in Japan by a craftsman named Denbei Shoami (1651-1728ad). Traditional Japanese mokume was created in a coke/coal forge using copper, silver, gold, and alloys of each of these metals mixed to produce a wide range of colors. Each metal is cleaned of all grease and oxides and then bound together and fused into an alternating metal/color block known as a "billet". The billet is then carefully manipulated by hammering and carving to produce patterns in the metal as it continues to be reduced into a sheet that can be used for fabrication. This original fusing technique is known as liquid phase diffusion bonding.
Much of my mokume fusing relies on a more modern technique known as: solid state diffusion bonding. The metals are cleaned of all oxides and grease, placed into a special jig under many tons of force in an atmosphere controlled environment within a kiln. Thru high heat and pressure the metallic surface interface is excited and atoms freely jump between the sheets of metal forming a superior atomic bond.
2020 marked the 21st year of my research with mokume. There have been many failures and wonderful breakthroughs over the years. The natsume (Japanese tea container) are a way for me to continue experimenting yet pay homage to the old traditions of Japanese metal craft. While exploring the future of mokume, I feel I must pay tribute and respect the past.