An Inro is a small ornamental box hung from the sash of a kimono to hold small objects such as cosmetics, perfumes, tobacco or medicines, because traditional Japanese garb lacks pockets. Inro can be made from a variety of materials including wood, ivory, bone, and lacquer (and polymer clay of course :). They evolved over time from a utilitarian article into objects of beauty and craftsmanship.
I have been playing with a technique I call Scrap Mokume Gane and I love that I can use it to make colorful pattered Inros. Ironically enough, the Mokume Gane technique is also Japanese in origin. Translated it means “wood eye metal”. Many layers of different precious metals are laminated together. The stack (or billet) is then cut or carved into to create a pattern. The metal is then flattened into a thin sheet and used for jewelry, household objects, etc.
My Inros do not have the traditional look of Mokume Gane, but I love the designs and colors I get from using scrap clay as the base and rubber stamps or texture sheets for the design. Look to my past posts for a link to my short tutorial on making the Scrap Mokume Gane sheets.