Jewellery meets Art: Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa

Hokusai’s Great Wave off Kanagawa is one of my all times favourite pictures. The churning water, the two tiny boats struggling in the waves, Mount Fuji in the background, almost an afterthought.

IHokusai's famous print showing a wave crashing down on two boats.

Source: Wikimedia

Also, it is blue. In short, a perfect image to use for trying an image transfer on polymer clay. If you have a laser printer, image transfers are pretty straight forward: print, put upside down on clay, add nail polish remover to the back, wait. Trying this with my cheap toner wasn’t very satisfactory, though. The printouts are always rather pale, and since only part of the toner transfers, the result on clay was visible, but not brilliant. I dared to add two tiny versions of the image to a bunch of things I had to print at work anyway and tried again, this time with high quality print outs. The results were much better, but still not as brilliant as I would have liked. But since I never found a crafting problem I didn’t want to beat into submission, I decided to use the first weak transfer clay and paint in the details with acrylic paint, and while I’m not usually good at painting, I’m quite happy with the results:

Round earrings showingt the crashing wave

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Yes, of course I forgot to mirror the image. Both times. But I love how this has a look like ceramics now.

And here’s the version made from the quality printout:

Round earrings showing the central wave in great detail but mute colours

©Giliell, all rights reserved

You can see that it’s lacking contrast and brilliance, even though it is rich in detail. I’m thinking about using the transfer plus acylics method with other paintings as well, I think van Gogh would be a good candidate for these projects.



  1. Ice Swimmer says

    I think your versions look snowy. It’s an almost impossible snow scene, but it’s a nice twist.

  2. says

    I love it, it looks like Meissener Porzellan. I would be a bit worried about color stability on the non-enhanced ones though, I do not know how durable are laser toner pigments.

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