making lace canes, they can be the basis for all sorts of designs.
Start with the basic lace can and then experiment as your confidence
grows. You can chop them about and recombine them to change the
design, combine different colours, make them with skinner blends
etc. They are exceedingly easy to make and are a wonderful beginners
2 oz turquoise (1 small pack)
1/2 oz black (1/4 small pack)
Cutting blade: tissue blade, razor blade, exacto knife, sharp
kitchen knife, etc.
Pasta machine or something to roll the clay into sheets (marble
rolling pin, perspex brayer etc.)
Clean work surface (ceramic or glass tile - not wood)
Long needle tool - if you want to make beads
Darning needle, or knitting needle - if you want to make beads
Choose two colours that have a good contrast. It doesn't matter
how much you use, if you use more clay you will have a larger lace
cane. I have chosen a turquoise as my main colour and black as my
surrounding contrast colour. Roll the main colour into a log, making
it as even as you can. I made a 2" log here.
Roll your second colour into a thin sheet. For my sheet I rolled
black on the thickest setting of my pasta machine which is about
1/8" thick. Cut it into a rectangle as wide as the log is
long. My log is 2" long so I cut the black sheet 2"
wide. Roll the log with this sheet to cover it. When you have
the turquoise log wrapped, press gently where the edges overlap
and then pull the sheet back again. You will notice a line where
the clays meet. Using your cutting tool, cut along that line.
Remove the scrap clay. Wrap the black clay back around the log,
the edges should abut one another nicely with none of the blue
showing and no overlap of the black. Roll gently to smooth the
join. You now have a simple Bull's Eye Cane.
Roll this log slowly and evenly along it's length to reduce its
diameter. Continue rolling until it is just over 6 times it's original
length - about 12 1/2". Trim off any distorted ends which should
leave you with a 12" log. Then cut your log into six equal
lengths. Don't worry if your log is longer or shorter than this,
it really doesn't matter. But do try and cut them all the same length.
If you end up with 5 logs the same length, just put the excess aside
and use the 5 logs.
Combine the pieces together as shown with one in the centre and
5 on the outside. Or if you have a different number of logs, just
combine together as you find appealing. You can use as few as 3
or several in your grouping.
Gently compress the cane together to form a round log again.
Repeat steps 3-5. Cutting and combining as before. Again you can
use a different number of logs if you want. You could cut your recombined
log into just 3 if you wanted.
Cut a slice from your smoothed log and take a look at your lace
cane! You can carry on cutting and combining again if you want a
smaller design. But don't do this too many times or the lines will
become so fine that you will loose the definition and the pattern
will blend together.
why not use more than just two colours. Here I have surrounded
my purple log with a thin white layer and thin a thin turquoise
layer. You can add as many layers as you like. Experiment and
|Here are some
of the things I've made with my lace canes In the front row are
some slices from my canes. In the middle row, I used scrap clay
(cut ends etc.) and covered them with slices of lace cane. In the
top row are a few of my tiny wish
bottles. Some are completely covered with slices, whilst others
only had a few slices. For these, I kept the background colour the
same as the thin lace lines in the cane.
To make beads some people let their canes rest overnight, I only
do that if it's an intricate cane and I want to keep all the lines
and design very neat, I don't usually bother for a lace cane.
Resting the cane will allow it to cool and then you can cut it
more cleanly without squishing. I actually quite like the slight
distortion you get when cutting while it's fresh. It's up to you.
Use some of
your scrap for the centre of the bead. Take a small piece of clay
- about half the size you want your finished bead to be and roll
into a smooth ball. Cut a minimum of two slices of your lace cane
and apply to the bead. You can apply several slices, overlap them,
or just use two. Smooth over the seams with a smooth needle tool
or knitting needle and then roll between the palms of your hands
until it is round and smooth and then roll into the shape you
want if you don't want it to be round. Let the clay rest for at
least an hour. Then take your needle tool and pierce your bead
halfway through, twisting it as you go. Turn the bead round and
pierce from the other side until the two holes join up. If you
do it from one side only it tends to distort the clay and push
it out on one side. I use hatpin
blanks for piercing and then put several beads on one pin
I suspend it for baking. Bake according to your manufacturers
©2001 Text and Pictures