Community. Engagement. Advocacy. Humor.
ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT/ Deb Weld, Jennifer Finley, Julie Van Hoecke, Whitney Wilson, Eric Burris, Danae Natsis
at Genevieve Flynn Studio Kansas City, MO, May, 2012
On May 11, Genevieve Flynn Studio hosted instructor Eric Burris who taught the process of making a billet of mokume gane.
This was Eric's second time coming into the intimate setting of the studio to teach the arduous process of making the beautiful material that many of us take for granted. I would like to be the first to say that I no longer take this intriguing metal process for granted as I participated in the class. I am overwhelmed at the amount of time this process takes.
Eric spent his first day in the studio demonstrating and speaking about how clean the material must be in order to fuse, how to make a small kiln from fire brick, firing the billet, forging the hot billet when pulled from the kiln and then using the rolling mill to get the thickness we wanted to begin using the billet for a piece of jewelry! Whew!
IMAGE ON THE RIGHT/BILLET WITH SECTION CUT FOR
The second day students began the process of making their own billet. (If students did not finish their ring, of which I am going to describe next, they proceeded into the third and final day of the workshop.)
Every student was successful with their firing and so ensued the next physical step. I am going to step out on a limb here and say that most women never get the chance, or possibly want the chance, to actually forge a hot piece of metal. I, perhaps, am one of the exceptions in this tale, but I have a better understanding of the hot forging process! It was exhilarating to remove the hot billet on to the top of the anvil and proceed to condense the billet into a thinner, more manageable piece. Once forged to the thickness and width needed we put the piece through the rolling mill to conserve our tired muscles and take it a bit thinner as we were going to use this billet to make ring stock. A 1/4" wide piece of the billet was cut off (image above right) and then heated and twisted to create a star/twist pattern.
This was done several times to tighten the pattern. When this was to our liking we then rolled it through the mill in the square wire section to .....what else? square it up! ( As you can see in the image below right.)
Calculations were made on size of rings to be created for each student and then the process of measuring and cutting a most perfect line down the center was done. The piece was split in the middle leaving a section at each end without being cut through. This allows for one to make a seamless band.
RIGHT IMAGE/Rounding the annealed stock
When opened up and rounded out on the ring mandrel a silver liner was made to slide into the ring. I used Argentium, of which I fused the liner and then friction fit the liner into the mokume piece. I flared the edges with a dapping punch and voila! I had a beautiful silver liner inside the seamless mokume ring. The top of the mokume is filed down and then polished if you want a high finish. A beautiful satin finish really compliments the mokume pattern. As soon as I have my ring done I will post images!
IMAGES LEFT/ Some images of the square mokume and split mokume stock
Danae Natsis hard at work!