Sometimes, when I start a project, I carefully plan everything out with sketches and color chips and recipes. Sometimes I just grab some clay and start creating.
Whenever I can't decide on a color for a project, I gather all the little bits and pieces of one color family and just mix them together, using whatever color I end up with. (I am a little more careful with the coordinating colors.) That's what I did with this one. It's a good way to use up all of those bits and pieces of pretty colors that I just can't bring myself to add to the mud pile- just make sure you don't get rid of any solids that you might need to go with other canes.
Anyway, on to the tutorial...
Blue Stitched Flower Cane
polymer clay in tan, white, black, blue, translucent (I didn't keep track of amounts very well. Just keep in mind that you'll need about 8 times more blue than tan.)
needle tool or thin knitting needle
extruder with tiny round disk (optional, but highly recommended)
Step 1: The Center of the Flower
Use equal amounts of tan and white to make a skinner blend (if you don't know how to do a skinner blend, click here for a great tutorial).
Roll it up with the lighter end in the middle. (I'm going to have a lot of leftover center cane!)
Make a log of black clay and wrap it in a medium-thick sheet of white. Reduce it and cut into a bunch of pieces. Arrange them around the blended log. (The less space between the black logs, the rounder they will stay. Mine will be fairly flat.)
Pinch and squeeze the black and white logs around the blend until the cane becomes round. Reduce and cut into seven equal pieces.
Put the pieces together as shown below and squeeze together.
Reduce cane and set aside.
Step 2: Building the Petals
Use the blue and some white to make another skinner blend, about 8 times bigger than the first one.
Roll it with the light end in the middle.
Roll or extrude some tiny black strings. (I rolled mine by hand. Only do this if you have plenty of time. :) I probably should have used the extruder.) Make them smaller that the ones shown here. (You'll see in the next photo.)
Cut the blended log in half the long way.
Lay one of the halves, flat side up, on the work surface and lay several tiny strings along the length of the half log.
Put the two halves of the blended log back together and press firmly.
Make two new cuts in the log as shown and repeat with the strings. Only do about 3/4 of the cut with strings, leaving the top without strings.
Put it back together firmly and make two more cuts as shown. More strings in the cut- this time only go about halfway up. Put it back together and reduce a little.
Add a thin sheet of black about 1/3 of the way around, centered over the point where all of the cuts met.
Reduce the cane and cut into 6 pieces.
Step 3: Putting it All Together
Pinch each log into a petal shape, going down the middle of the black sheet (I can see now that I wasn't too careful about that on one of these- but I'm not telling which one.) Arrange them around the center cane. Resize the center as needed to get the petals to go around with enough space between each petal for a thick sheet of translucent clay. (I was right, I've got enough center left to make 3 or 4 more canes.)
Add a thick sheet of trans clay between each petal and place them around the center cane. Make sure the trans hangs out a ways so you can trim it. (See the next photo.)
Trim the trans clay at an angle along each petal so it tapers really well. The more gradually you taper this, the less distorted the petals will be after reducing. It's really hard to tell in this photo.
Roll a long thick sheet of trans clay and start wrapping it around the cane. Use a needle tool to press the sheet into the creases.
Cut the end flush with the beginning of the sheet and butt them up against each other.
Make 6 shallow wedges of trans clay and press one into each crease of the cane.
Looking straight down on the cane, trim away the excess clay of the wedges. Shaving off a little at a time is better than trying to get it all at once. If your blade is flexible, you can curve it a little to help with the shaving. The idea is to get the cane as round as you can before you start to reduce. (I didn't get a photo of that step.)
Reduce as needed for your project.
P.S. I know it's been a while since I've shared a clay tutorial. Sorry. I hope this one was worth the wait. ;)