Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Art of Cane Work (Millefiore) written by Wyvern Designs

The Art Of Cane Work (Millefiore)

written by WyvernDesigns

I have always been intrigued by those polymer clay pieces that use thin slices of a intricately crafted polymer clay canes.  The technique was originally used in making glass making and is called millefiori, which , in Italian, means thousand flowers.  Pieces of this detailed glass work have been dated to  ancient Roman, Phoenician, and Alexanderian times.  The technique was lost by the 18th century but rediscovered sometime in the 19th century.

I don't know who first tried to reproduce those beautiful glass beads using polymer clay, but they were a genius.  The process is long and involved, using rods of conditioned polymer clay in a myriad of shapes, round, square, triangular, and so on.  These rods are then wrapped with thin sheets of polymer clay and stacked together to form one unit.

Once the image is completed, the entire piece is rolled, squeezed and manipulated  until it is the desired size.  The messy ends are cut off to reveal a miniature masterpiece inside!  Then, thin slices are cut and applied to the base piece of polymer clay.

I've tried my hand at making some polymer clay canes.  I have never been too successful.  Most of the time my slices get distorted, smeared or are of varying thickness and are useless for the project I envisioned.   I keep trying, though, because I am fascinated by the process.

Some of the polymer clay artists from the Polymer Clay Smooshers Guild on Art Fire have mastered this difficult technique.  Below are some pieces from those talented artists.

This Flat Modcane Pendant by Dream Weaver's Designs  is a wonderful example of the intricate pattern you can achieve using a relatively simple cane.

This Set of Purple Flowers on Yellow Clay Beads by Blue Morning Expressions  show the delicate beauty of these purple flowers using this intricate cane.

This Black and White Wine Bottle Stopper by Amy Crawley is made with extruded clay.  I'm not quite sure how that works, I'll have to research it, but it produces a bold and striking pattern.

Another piece using the extruding method is this lovely Red and White Extruded Rounds Necklace by Flower Child's Artsy Jewelry

These gorgeous Green Web and Orange Tigerlily Focal Beads by Art Makers Worlds  use the traditional method of cane making.

The Black and White Zentangle Cuff Bracelet by Second Sister At Moark Jewelry  fascinates me.  I just recently discover the Zentangle method and I am itching to try it, both on paper and in clay.

After seeing all these wonderful items, I suggest that everyone run out, buy some clay and start smooshing!

And be sure to stop by WyvernDesigns and check out all of her wonderful polymer clay creations!

3 Smooshing Thoughts:

Kathy R. said...

I have great admiration for those talented people who do intricate caning.After trying a couple relatively simple canes I came to the conclusion that I simply do not have the patience.
Grat work, shown!

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