Sunday, June 28, 2015

Cane Evolution Tutorial

I am not a caner but after my guild's recent workshop with Carol Simmons I had leftover cane chunks to play with. My usual work is more blendy than a typical cane and I favor large patterns over small so I "blew up" my cane.

Here's how I made these...

...from these leftover 1" tall cane slices:

1) I placed a few slices of cane on a sheet of lime colored clay that was about 3 times as thick as the cane slices. Then I ran the sheet through the pasta machine on successively thinner settings (from 1 to 4-5). 

2) I alternated the direction I fed the clay through so the cane would stretch in both directions. The cane clay was more leached than the underlayer so the the cane cracked a bit as it stretched, letting the green underneath show through. 

3) I rolled a log of scrap clay, sliced it into equal portions, and rolled each piece into a ball. 

4) I ripped the cane sheet into random pieces and wrapped them randomly around the ball, covering it completely. I rolled the ball until all the wrapped pieces had melded together. I turned two of the balls into long barrel shapes.

5) With my needle tool I traced lines to loosely define shapes of leaves and petals. 

6) I baked the beads for 15 minutes and then lightly sanded with 1000 grit wet-dry sandpaper. 

7) I rubbed black liquid clay into the etched lines and wiped off the excess with a paper towel.
Then the beads went back into the oven for 15 more minutes. 

8) I sanded them again with 1000 grit. I could have stopped at this point but I like them shiny so I used my buffer.

The cane slices on the beads below were put on a lilac base layer. I didn't etch these beads. I wish I would have, the design would have looked more "focused."

So, there you go. Grab some of those old canes and blow 'em up!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Great Smokies photo inspires a necklace

My coworker Ashley Macik attended a photography workshop called Spring in the Smokies with instructor Jennifer King a few months ago. She came back with beautiful photos. I really liked the colors in the one at left below so asked if I could "borrow" it for a bead project.

First I pulled out a few colors from the photo:

Then I got to work with my new clay color mixing skills learned in Carol Simmons' workshop in May. I used Premo fuchsia, ultramarine blue, and cadmium yellow, plus black and white to make the 5 colors. I made a variety of shapes and sizes, some etched, some plain. Below are a few after the first baking. Next step: fill the inscribed lines with black liquid clay.

I strung them up but couldn't get them to drape the way I wanted. I also decided I needed more beads because the necklace wasn't long enough.

I made a variety pack of additional beads and strung them up. Ultimately I chose not to use the large round tree bead... I just didn't like it enough. The red and gold each should have been a bit more orange-ish and the eggplant could have been a bit more purple but the colors all look decent together.
I will wear this with an eggplant-colored t-shirt and black skirt.

Tuesday, June 23 P.S.: What a nice surprise to find out I'm on Polymer Clay Daily today. Thanks Cynthia!


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