Finished tea container
Sometimes things start simply, then just keep growing .... this piece actually started life as a patterning sample. I liked it so much I started messing with it - cut a circle, domed it, did some chasing detail in the center. Soon I had ... a lid! Hmm, what next. Tried a few different simple bases, trying to finish it without it taking over my life, but you know it told me it needed a substantial base, not just a simple quick thing. Three billets, many hours, and quite a few ounces of silver later, this tea container with a secret was born.
Creating matching mokume patterns isn't easy - I used three different billets to create all of the silver/copper mokume you see here. It's all chisel and drill patterned. Patterning was done first, then the sheet cut and curved, soldered and fabricated just as if it were one metal - except great care must be taken not to overheat the mokume. The silver sections are 1mm thick sterling silver, some of it with a heavy cross-hatch texture to complement the mokume pattern. I do a lot of modeling in paper first, to test out different proportions, understand how much mokume I'll need and how the patterns will match up, etc. It is patinated with rokusho, the most traditional Japanese patina for mokume. It is easy to use, really quite functional. Pictured with a lovely gunpowder green tea (not included). There is also a secret (shh!) compartment accessed from underneath, great for hiding special things. Does include the matching tea scoop. I am considering making additional tea scoops for sale, let me know if you're interested.
See below for many photos of the piece in progress - enjoy! And please feel free to comment with any questions about the process, I'm happy to share.
Educator, metalsmith, jeweler, maker of custom mokume gane jewelry and wedding rings.