Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My "Blended Family"

My polymer clay family that is... and it's such a happy one. I spent yesterday making a couple more kaleidoscope canes. The first one was very much like the one in my last post - using up leftovers. Once again, my initial reaction was a bit of a shudder, and a mental "REALLY?"

The individual components did not go together at all, but once I did the first cut and match, I saw the potential of the final result. Beautiful potential.

I'm very happy with the final result,

but now I wish I'd used something other than white to wrap the first step. Just a note for the future.

I spent the rest of the day practicing color blending.

The main polymer clay technique for doing this is called a "Skinner Blend", invented by Judith Skinner. To do this, you need two or three triangles of different colored clay. Butt the triangles next to each other, fold in half, and feed through the pasta machine, folding again before each pass. It takes a lot of passes to get a smooth blend. I'm OK with the blending part, but then you have to roll up that beautiful sheet and do it smoothly so there are no trapped air bubbles.

For the few Skinner Blends I've done so far, I roll the sheet. Then, when finished, I roll the completed log to make it thinner and longer, and... damn! I hear the clay slapping on the tile as I roll, meaning there's a big old air pocket inside.

To practice, I made lots of color blends yesterday and used them in the second kaleidoscope cane for the day.

I started with the flower cane and added roll-after-roll-after-roll of the Skinner blends...

... just kept piling them on, until I had a pleasing triangular piece. I pinched and squeezed to compress and lengthen it. After several divisions, and four hours of work (including the time it took to make the blends), I have a knockout cane!

"Psychedlic, Man!"

The only way I'll know if I learned my bubble-eliminating lesson will be to bake up some pieces when my new oven arrives ("Hurry up already!"). If I get bumps and pops, I'll know I need more practice. Cross your fingers! :)

copyright 2009 Shibori Girl


Anonymous said...

fun stuff! have you seen Kathleen Dustman's work?

Snap said...

You are having so much fun! YeeeeeHaaaaw!!!!

Alice Stroppel said...

Man are you on it! You'll have it all mastered in no time. I'll be waving as you pass me by.........

Kate T. said...

HA! Oh, Alice, it's going to be a while before I'm passing you on the left.

I'm enjoying the journey though...


Andrea - Faded Plains said...

Cute...can you even make something ugly...I think not.

SweetbriarStudio (Christie) said...

I can't believe how these things morph into such beauties. You're doing great. ... um, have you ever had anyone mention ocd to you? In this case, it would be a good thing!
Getting together would be a good thing, too - maybe later in the month?

Gabriela said...

Hello Kate,

These are awesome, great colours!

~ Gabriela ~

lori vliegen said...

you never cease to amaze me, kate!!! just when i thought that toaster ovens (i hope yours arrives soon!) were good for the obvious toast, and maybe a pillsbury cinnamon roll on sundays, you're going to take your culinary skills to a whole new level with some bits of clay!! you can make beads like no one's business.....and you're a constant source of fun inspiration!!! you go girl!! hugs, :))

Gypsy Moon Designs said...

Far out man!

Julie : )

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

You really did create a knock out cane! Great job! Glad you liked the information on getting rid of air pockets. Thanks for adding my link. Would love to hear if you were able to keep those pesky bubbles out of your magnificent cane.