Jackie Truty’s Top 5 Tips for Making Metal Clay Mokumé Gané Jewelry
Metal clay rocked my world…just sayin’. I’m sure clay is a big deal for every kid who had the great pleasure of playing with it. Whether you made dinosaurs or flowers; loved the smell, texture, or simply ate Play Doh (my first grade classmate, Gordy Johnson, was infamous for that), clay likely entered your life at one time or another. It sure made an impact on my life.
As an adult, I fell in love with raku pottery and had a lovely career selling my art. Then I heard about this thing called metal clay and ba-bam! Like many other artisans, I was instantly hooked. It was love at first squish, and we’ve had an exciting, deeply satisfying relationship ever since.
I was beyond excited to get Jackie Truty in the Interweave studio to shoot four new metal clay online workshops. Her innovative techniques using metal clay are really exciting and quite simple to learn. Take a peek at my earlier posts about Jackie’s metal clay workshops on faux cloisonné enameled jewelry, metal clay and resin jewelry, and metal clay paper quilling.
In Jackie’s fourth online workshop in the Advanced Metal Clay series, Metal Clay Mokumé Gané Jewelry Using Art Clay, she creates a new type of mokumé gané using Art Clay Silver and Copper. This New Mokumé Gané (more on that below) recreates the magic of mokumé gané (a centuries-old technique for Japanese sword making) in metal clay rather than traditional metal. Jackie takes you on an adventurous journey of cutting, stacking, and twisting Art Clay Silver and Copper into a stunning marbled pattern. It’s hard to believe you start with a couple lumps of clay and end up with a stunning pendant that is 99.5% metal. It’s thrilling alchemy at its finest!
Jackie is certified in New Mokumé Gané by Aida Chemicals Industries, the Japanese company that created Art Clay and developed this innovative two-step firing process that sinters the two metal clays without alloying them. Jackie has been teaching metal clay techniques for many moons and travels all over the country bringing the joy of Art Clay to others! Here are her top five tips for making metal clay mokumé gané jewelry.
Jackie’ Top 5 Tips for Metal Clay Mokumé Gané Jewelry
1. Through thick and thin: Keep track of the thickness of your layers as you roll them out. Write down your measurements if it helps you remember.
2. Do the twist: When you twist the stacked layers, make sure you twist tightly around the center 180 degrees.
3. Put the pressure on: You cannot compress too much. Make sure your clay is one solid piece after twisting and before drying.
4. Save the scraps: Save all the leftover dried clay when you file. You can add water later to reconstitute this material back into clay. Since these particles are a mixture of silver and copper, you can fire them together at the same temperature and end up with a piece that looks gold or marbled.
5. The silver lining: Don’t forget to add the silver layer to the back before drying! You don’t want any of the mixed copper and silver against the skin when the finished piece is worn.
One of my fave things about this technique is how versatile it is. Jackie shows you how to make a basic pendant design, but you can tap into your imagination and create all kinds of jewelry and shapes, such as hearts, donuts, earrings, charms, etc.
You’ll need a kiln for firing your metal clay mokumé gané. Jackie takes you through the firing schedule and even shows you how to program your kiln. So this process is pretty fail-safe, and let’s face it, if I can do it, you can do it!
What are you waiting for? Grab your metal clay and let’s get going!