Mokume Gane- A Comprehensive Study 
by Steve Midgett

review by Therese Martin

Color photographs | Hardcover: 157 pages  |Earthshine Press (2000)
English | 
ISBN-10: 0965165078

 

 

Mokume-gane is a comprehensive study is wonderfully beautiful book on an ancient technique originating in Japan in the 1700ís. The words mokume- gane pronounced, Mo-KOO-may GAH-nay, translates to moku, meaning wood, me, meaning eye and gane, meaning metal. Developed 300 years ago originally for sword making, the process leaves the metal with topographical patterns appearing when the metals are forged and twisted together, making some of the most beautiful jewelry. This book starts with the history of mokume-gane telling the story of this amazing ancient art form, how it moved west, to eventually apiece found from space. Though only ten chapters long, this book is intense. The process, technique and skill that are required to do mokume-gane is brought to the reader through amazing photographs and well written discussion. These chapters give the reader the basics of the process, metals and tools used, metallurgical theory, and patterning the billets. In the metallurgical theory chapter, there is a metal compatibility chart, which is of greatest help. This research takes the guesswork out of finding, by trial and error, which metals work well together in the bonding process. Each of the ten chapters comes with beautiful close up photographs, charts, diagrams, and images of finished work. The gallery chapter is one of the most astonishing collections of metal work I have ever seen. Impressive close up photographs of tsuba, which is a decorated sword guard, jewelry, knifes, swords, and my personal favorite, bowls and vessels. There are five projects given at the end of the book on jewelry you can make with mokume-gane sheet or wire. Each project is explained well in detail again with close up photographs, giving the reader an understanding of the procedure. Following are two pages of troubleshooting; covering metal, rolling, finished sheet and firing problems. Once again this is important resource in helping the student understand what went wrong and why. When all is said and done there is a metals characteristics chart and firing logs all to help the student have keep records for documentation of their work.

Steve Midgett is an author, instructor, and an innovative pioneer of the mokume-gane process.

 

 


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