After years of research, several in house flooring mill tours as well as working with pretty well every major manufacturer of hardwood flooring over the last 10 years I can answer this question with confidence and I will tell you Mirage every time. As with the traditional technique, these involve permanently bonding layers of compatible materials (clay) in contrasting colors into laminated stacks (billets), distorting them, and exposing cross-sections of the layers with various tools to reveal patterns. Condition the remaining colors of clay, from the lightest color to the darkest, cleaning your blade after working with each color. It’s a super value and a terrific way to try out a wide variety of colors so you know which colors you want to buy in full-size blocks.
Kato Polyclay doesn’t make a huge selection of colors like the Premo Sculpey line because most professional artists prefer to mix exactly the colors they want from a smaller number of clear, saturated hues that they can blend to the desired shade and degree of transparency or opacity they prefer for a particular project. DO NOT fold the alcohol-soaked paper towel around the edge of the blade and try to clean both sides of the blade at once…especially if you are cleaning a tissue blade!
But if you’re going to be working with polymer clay often, I think it’s well worth investing in a good quality pasta machine and taking good care of it with regular cleaning and maintenance. Genuine gold, copper or silver leaf can be used, but because the cost is so high most casual polymer clay users prefer to use composition metal leaf, which also comes in beautiful variegated patterns.
If necessary, use any leftover leaf plus a second sheet to cover any remaining squares or rectangles of polymer clay, or leave some of the polymer colors plain. Optional: To get as many usable slices from your stack as possible (and possibly reveal an attractively patterned surface on the top of the shaved pad), make approximately the top 1/4 of your pad from a clay color that complements the colors in the mokume gane stack. Each slice has fewer colors spaced more widely apart because the layers in the mokume stack were too thick.
If that happens, turn the cutter upside down, cover it with a scrap of plywood or a ruler, and then press straight down on the wood to cut out the rest of your cabochons. Reading up on the history of the Tiffany Glass Studio of New York and the gifted but eccentric Louis Comfort Tiffany (after I inherited a modest early-1920s pendant lamp made by that company), I’ve become enthralled by the rich colors of many of the designs. Some of the most striking works are those that rely on silhouette shapes for their impact, not simply the colors – and the moose is a strong form that lends itself to this art – a live-with-able blend of elegance and whimsy.