The Companion to The Amber Mokume Gane Technique

Under the watchful and much emailing back and forth, I was guided by Mary Beth Hanson Hobbs as, I created a step by step photo process in achieving the richness of this amber technique.  We did not have pictures detailing just *how to create this stack. So, get ready for another journey with me, your humble guide .... Marilyn Ray Knopic!

cuff bangle bracelet - results from May Beth Hanson Hobbs
Amber Mokume Gane Technique

*** It is expected that you have basic knowledge and skill in working with polymer clay, thank you.

Materials list:  (can be more or less, depending on just how much you want)

Polymer Clay - this is a matter of choice as, any brand will do.  I used Premo.

2 oz. bars - 1 white, 1 black
2 oz. bar - translucent polymer clay  - again, your choice but, I used Sculpey.
1 gold leafing sheet - you may use what ever metallic leafing sheets you have, be it; silver, copper, etc..
Alcohol Inks - again your choice as, I used Tim Holtz, Adirondack
Acrylic Roller and/or Pasta Machine
2 tissue blades -  stiff one for cutting up your clay and a flexible one that will be used for finely shaving off slices from your stack

Let's Begin!!

                                                                           Step 1

We are going to be working with the Translucent clay for now.  Condition your clay.  I personally do this 20+ times through the PM (pasta machine) on the thickest setting until, I feel, all the plasticizers are mixed thoroughly.  Apply your leafing sheet on top of the translucent clay, I have used gold.  Mary Beth used silver leafing sheets for her mokume gane stack.   Then, I put the translucent sheet, with the gold leaf through the PM on the medium/thinner setting, mine is a #4 - other brands may be slightly different in numbering for thicknesses.  This will give a crackling effect to your sheet of clay.
Now to add our alcohol inks!  I have used;  honey comb, butterscotch, terra cotta and teak.  These will give you the richness of lemon, butterscotch and cognac shades of amber.

*warning about using teak - it can be overpowering, as I used this color very sparingly.  Just a couple of drops goes a very long way! And, here is the sheet.  Let it dry completely, I can not stress this enough or, you will be in for a mess.  Been there, rushed it!

Sculpey translucent polymer clay, gold leafing sheet and Adirondack alcohol inks

                                                                          Step 2

Next, we will condition each bar of our Black and White polymer clay on the thickest setting of your PM.  Lay each sheet on top of each other with the black on the top.  Run these combined sheets through the PM on the Medium setting, mine again is a #5, set aside.  Depending on the size you want your stack to be, you want to be able to cut 4 somewhat equal sheets of your inked translucent sheet, being that it has completely dried.  Inked side up stack the 4 sheets on top of one another then, place your combined and thinned B/W (black/white) sheet on the top.  Your stack should look like the image below.

                                                                            Step 3 

Now here is where your creative license comes in!  Gather up any shape cutters you have designated strictly for polymer clay and cut your design into the clay ( go all the way through) using the blunt edge of you cutter, which will drag the white and black down through the layers of translucent clay.  In the image below of my stack I used a plastic straw, inserted it and pulled the bit of clay out of the straw, rolled it into a tube and re-inserted it back into my stack. * just a variation.  When you like the design you have created, push the stack lightly back together and use your acrylic roller to lightly roll over the stack, this helps the stack layers to adhere better to themselves in creating, cohesiveness.

                                                                           Step 4

Okay, with your flexible tissue blade lay it parallel to the stack and taking as thin a slice as you can pull your blade through the stack shaving off your first slice. Viola' you did it!  Turn it over and there is the first of your pattern beginning to emerge.  Might not look like much but, continue to remove thin slices from your stack until completed.  Below are images of the slices I obtained from my stack.


Congratulations!  You have now completed the tutorial.  You can create many projects using these slices i.e.; pendants, bowls, earrings, bracelets, journal covers, etc. . . you are only limited by your imagination.  Remember, bake your slices according to the manufacturer's direction for the translucent clay,  You can also refer to my first tutorial for baking Mokume Gane pieces
here:   The Tutorial - Part 2 - The Tutorial - Part 3 

                                                                       Thank you!!!

to return and view Mary Beth Hanson Hobbs tutorial

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