Material and Technique
Nickle Silver, Copper, and Brass Mokume
5.2cm H x 6.5cm W x 6.5cm D
About The Work
Mokume is a Japanese metalsmithing process that loosely translates to "eye of the woodgrain metal". The process was 1st 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.
This year (2019) mark's the 20th 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.