Category: Techniques

Adaptive Thinking: Weaving

City Zen Cane, (aka Ford/Forlano) Two Tube Cane Vessels, circa 1991

At first glance one might think the inspiration for imagery on these vases came from an encounter with the plumber rather than from Mexican blankets.

Adaptive Thinking: Lathe-Turned Polymer

Michael Mode, Ode to Maracanda 1996

Polymer artists, Steven Ford and David Forlano have continually considered the “what if?” factor of polymer.  From early on they looked at how other craft techniques might be adapted to polymer.  In particular, Steven’s interest in exploring these possibilities created a viable back and forth of ideas.   His outreach to other craft artists, helped to educated them about the versatility of the medium. While teaching at the Arrowmont School in 1995, Steven Ford found that polymer could be turned on a lathe.  

Keep on Stackin’: Mokume Gane – Part 3

Celie Fago, Mokume Gane Cuff

Just as Tory and Lindly built upon Nan’s original concept of polymer mokume gane, others followed and added their own variations to the process.  The approach to “stack and distort” kept evolving. Celie Fago combined Tory’s and Lindly’s techniques.  Celie used slightly tinted translucent polymer layered with metal leaf,  which was adapted from Lindly, as well as layers of black and pearl opaque polymer, but then pushed down into the stack from above as in Tory’s approach.   Her results achieve a fluid, organic look.

Mokume Gane’s Next Ripple

Victoria Hughes, Dory, 2008, 2.25″ x 1.5″

For a time in the early 1990’s Nan Roche, Tory Hughes and Lindly Haunani were all living in the Washington, DC area. Shortly after the publication of Roche’s The New Clay, Tory Hughes and Lindly Haunani each developed their own version of the mokume gane technique.

The Origins of Polymer Mokume Gane


Mokume Gane creates the illusion of irregular knothole-like configurations on the surface.   Today, mokume gane is integral to the established repertoire of polymer techniques.  Many artists use some variation or derivative of the concept.   However, mokume gane is a centuries old Japanese metals technique devised to reproduce the wavy grain patterning of certain steels used for Samurai swords; so how did it become incorporated into the polymer vocabulary?