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Cool Tools
and Dragon Skin

 September 2003
By Trina Williams

The Mokume Gane Tool Swap 
Who would have thought of a thread spool or a picture hanger to attack a Mokume Gane stack? Those are some of the interesting objects that came to me as a result of a Mokume Gane tool swap hosted by Dianne Cook. 

While most of us have used the ball of clay under the stack then poked and prodded our stack with a variety of objects, this Mokume Gane swap really opened the floodgates for ideas for creating a fascinating Mokume Gane surface.


One of my favorite new tools was the plastic screw with a PC handle. You can use it sideways or screw it into your stack. This idea came from Ronnie Baronowitz. And Valerie Aharoni cut up some knitting needles and mounted them in a clay handle. 
Jeannine Chariton sent the curly jump rope and a neat plastic wedge. Nucchi came up with the picture hanger. 
And Cindy Pack built the clay spiral (it is nice and deep.) 
My contribution was the plastic dot texture sheet and directions for making Dragon Skin. As far as I know, Dotty McMillan originally invented Dragon Skin, although she is not sure she was the first.
Dotty's Dragon Skin
Step One: Choose three colors that you like, including a metallic. Put the lightest color in the middle.

 I have chosen Kato Polyclay™ Turquoise, Copper and Pearl. 

Condition and roll your sheets on the #1 setting on your pasta machine. Use at least a 3x4" sheet. (I was working at the fair and didn't really measure well.)


Step Two: Roll your three-color stack through on #1 again. 
Step Three: Cut the stack in half and put one stack on the other, keeping the colors in order. 

Run the stack through the pasta machine again. Repeat one more time for three "cut and stacks" (although Dotty says you can do it with two). 

Step Four: Cut the stack again and layer as before. This time run the dots texture sheet with the stack through the pasta machine (use Armoral, water or cornstarch to release. I like water.) 

Position the sheet so the clay is pressed against the raised dots. 

Here I have cut the stack in two again and run it through with the texture sheet again with the other color up. So we have blue bumps and copper bumps. 
Step Five: Very carefully start shaving off the bumps. The clay will look different depending on which color is up. Save the shaved bumps for another effect. 
Step Six: You may spread out the pattern by running it through the pasta machine at thinner settings. The picture at the top of the page is one example. To the left here I have covered a pen. 
Ever vigilant to the use of scraps, I rolled up my scraps and poked holes in them with Valerie's tool. 
Then I shaved that piece . . . 
. . . and mounted it on a layer of pearl clay . . . 
. . . and made beads. You can make pins, earrings or any thing else you want. 
Here is one of Dotty's boxes and a mini-scope that she made using the Dragon Skin technique.