Monday, January 18, 2010

What is a Polymer Clay Cane?





When people see the things I make they often think the patterns are painted on. I explain that they are made by applying thin slices of " polymer clay canes ". Then they look at me and say "what is a cane?" if you have ever had the same question here is a quick simple explanation with visual aids.

A polymer clay cane is made by blending contrasting colors of clay and forming them into a pattern. I know; it's still confusing....I'll use this simple flower cane to illustrate.

Photo #1
I took the following colors green pearl/blue pearl/white pearl and blended them together to form the striped pattern for a single flower petal and I wrapped it in a sheet of pearl clay. Then I "reduced" it; [squeezed it to make it longer] , and cut it into 8 equal lengths.

Photo #2
I took each of the 8 pieces and shaped them like a flower petal. I took the 8 petals and arranged them around a yellow center to form a flower shape.

Photo #3
I took translucent polymer clay and "packed" or wrapped it around the flower shape to help everything hold it's place during reduction.

Photo #4
I took the 3 inch wrapped and packed cane and redused it buy squeezing ,pulling and rolling it until the tube measured about 1/2 inch around and then cut it into 6 2x1/2 inch canes ready to use on projects. Just like the Pillsbury cookie dough at the store the flower pattern goes all the way through the cane.

That is how a polymer clay cane is made....Have I further confused you? I hope not; I hope I have intrigued you enough to learn to do it too.....

11 comments:

clayartisan said...

For the clayers: A phrase I've used frequently when explaining it to customers, is "a picture log". I also tell people that it's like the cookie dough they buy in the store, that they can slice and it has the bunny or chicky picture in it. Then their lightbulb goes off! Good article!
Patti Stoll

Ginger said...

Thank you Patti I use the cookie dough analogy often and your right it's a light bulb moment for some.

2 Good Claymates said...

This cane is very nice -- I especially love the colors! I have presented you with a Sunshine award and you can receive it from our blog:

http://2goodclaymates.blogspot.com/2010/01/some-blog-awards.html

Knightwork Studio said...

It is hard to explain canes... this was very helpful.

You are a popular gal.... lol

I have presented you with a sunshine blog award too... you can find it on my blog Knightwork: Playing with Clay

Mortira said...

I found you through the Sunshine Award! I love the explanation of polymer clay canes. Although I know how it's done, I can never wrap my head around how the images themselves are designed. Some of them seem so complex, and they have to be shaped longways. It's an amazing art form!

Ginger said...

Thank you very much 2 goodclaymates..

Ginger said...

Thank you very much Knightwork.

Ginger said...

Mortira I agree cane work is an art form and it's a ton of fun too.

smiley081561 said...

I have a question. Once you have made a cane, and you take and cut it into 4's, is it still called a cane? If not what is it called?

Ginger said...

Hi Smiley I would still call it a cane....When I take the very thin slices off the cane to use I sill call the slices cane.

smiley081561 said...

Thank you, Ginger. That's what I thought but just wanted to make sure. alot of times those designs are prettier than just having a flower or whatever...lol. Thanks again.