The technique of Makume Gane.
Mokume Gane is a traditional Japanese metalworking technique and has been practiced for over 300 years. The name Mokume Gane, when translated into English, means wood grain metal, this refers to the patterns traditionally produced in Japan. Mokume Gane is a time consuming technique and involves building a sandwich of different metals, normally silver, copper and copper alloys. These are joined together by fusion or silver solder. The number of layers varies, dependant on the desired pattern; Alistair uses between 5 and 128 layers dependant on the individual piece. The pattern can be achieved in two ways, either by twisting or by cutting through the layers to reveal their different colours. The resulting sheet can then be made into the finished piece. Finally, the piece is patinated to enhance and enrich the contracting colours of the different metals. Alistair believes that the technique is best used on simple shapes where the relationship of pattern and for balance and are in harmony.