Inspiration comes from many sources – in this case a stylized butterfly on a pottery vase in a magazine. I knew it was time to play with my polymer clay. Finding a photo of a favorite butterfly - the Monarch- and corresponding clay colors (some mixed and some straight from the package) got me started. I'm including some pictures of the various stages in making the cane. Maybe it will help non-clayers understand the process a little better.
|Ready for the white dots and then to reduce this cane.|
|Adding the last bands of white dots to the cane. There is a layer of black clay, rows of white snakes, another layer of black and another layer of white snakes. This is added to the outside of the cane.|
It seems that every time I make a cane (clay in rods with color or pattern) it comes out much larger than necessary. It takes more clay (I ran out of black and had to buy more). The larger cane is more difficult to reduce. That’s just the way of it!
This cane ended up to be about 6” in diameter and 3” tall in a somewhat triangular shape. Starting in the middle of the cane and squeezing and pulling as evenly as possible leaves convoluted ends that will not be usable for the intended pattern. That means there will be quite a bit of waste and I’m just not good at wadding the waste in a ball for later use.
|The cane gets smaller in diameter and taller as the cane is reduced. The pattern stays the same throughout. The size changes.|
|Reduce the cane by squeezing and pulling evenly|
After the cane is reduced to the largest size I want for the butterfly, I cut it in half and save half. Then I reduce it more and cut that in half and save half. I continue this until I have the smallest size I think I need. As this reduction happens, the ends get concave and then are sliced straight.
That leaves a lot of clay without a complete pattern. I want to see what I can do with the ends before I start using the real canes. This might not be the best way to continue. Maybe I should put the waste away and be creative with the butterflies. I can’t seem to do that. For a few days, I play with the ‘waste’ to see what I can make. Beads, earrings, pendants, buttons! I love the way the patterns change depending on the size and selections.
This is a picture of interesting usable pattern slices from the ends of the cane.
|A few of the beads, earrings. pendants and buttons from the scrap butterfly cane.|
Yes, there will be plenty of butterflies for everyone! It’s summer after all!
|Butterflies in lots of sizes ready to slice and use in jewelry.|