Christoph Reischer - Mokume Gane
Hello and welcome to my homepage!
 
I am Christoph.
Originally, I used to make surgical instruments by profession; today I work as an artist creating artefacts and especially accessories, jewellery and knives, using the technique of Mokume Gane and materials like Damascus steel and precious wood.
While leaving the production of damask steel to specialists, I concentrate on the work with Mokume Gane.
Since my home is at the same time my workplace, it makes it quite easy for me to develop my ideas and concepts at any time of the day.
 
Here is a brief description of what I do:
 
Mokume Gane is an ancient Japanese technique of forging metals. After stacking different sheets of metal in the desired order I start welding them until below the melting point so that they fuse into one single piece without the aid of solder.
The use of different types of metal has a decisive effect on the structure of the final product the surface of which shows a similar pattern as wood does when it is cut in two. So, Mokume Gane might be translated as “metal resembling the grain of wood”.

The picture below shows a bar made of copper and brass, welded and forged for the first time.

By forging and rolling the work piece several times I slowly reduce its thickness. To keep the material smooth throughout the entire process it is necessary to heat it repeatedly. This takes a lot of care and attention: too much pressure, and layers could split off; too much heat, and the metal loses its fine structure. Mokume Gane allows no mistakes.
 
As for the design, there are three ways of forming a pattern:
 
  1. by punching the surface to impress a design, and afterwards filing, grinding or milling it
  2. by removing parts of the surface by means of drilling, milling or filing, and in the end planishing it
  3. or by reshaping
 
Finally, the surface needs finishing. Most pieces reveal their character best, if treated with matt finishes. Glossy surfaces only irritate the eye. Though, alloys of copper, for example, often need colouring and sealing. Over the years they gradually change in appearance and take on their individual character, dependent on who is wearing them.
Those who prefer steady colours should decide for gold, platinum, palladium or silver.
 
Some of the alloys I work with I usually buy – such as copper, silver, gold, platinum and palladium alloys. And some I produce myself, above all Shakudo (copper and gold) and Shibuichi (copper and silver), which allow a wide range of different combinations. Here the proportion of gold or silver plays an important role during the treatment with colours. Shibuichi shows various shades of grey, while Shakudo may range from purple to black.
 
Below: a Higonokami with Mokume Gane of brass and copper
 
 
With the technique of Mokume Gane I can produce a great variety of patterns finally visible on the surface. Whether you prefer unsymmetrical and wild or beautifully curved forms, or geometric figures; strong features at a low number of layers or fine lines at a higher number – almost anything is possible due to the many sorts of metal.
So even your name and initials or a logo can be integrated into Mokume Gane.

Picture below: my logo inlaid in copper and brass alloy

Above: stainless steel, copper and brass 

 
If you have any questions or wish to order some piece of jewellery, a knife or a piece of art, don´t hesitate to write me an e-mail.
 

Thanks for your attention!