Maybe 2/3 of the beads I make are flowers or flowery. There’s no particular reason for it other than I like to have a theme and that it’s a forgiving sort of design to do. Variations on a theme require less thought than completely new designs. When I make a design I tend to then do a whole slew of variants. My bird canes? I think I have a half dozen versions now with several more to come. The new tulips? Yep.
Then, sometimes, I get asked to make seasonal canes and beads. Years ago I made a bunny and carrot cane. Turned out the carrot became one of my standard, reliably purchased bead offerings (who would have guessed?) but I hadn’t taken another try at the rabbit design until last week when I made a cane and then slice beads from it. They’re fairly adorable and have a Velveteen Rabbit / Peter Rabbit vibe going which makes me happy.
I will have instructions written up for the carrots as a downloadable tutorial fairly quickly. And I turned some of the canes into earrings because why not? Also, Easter is coming right up.
I tossed the tulip canes into my Etsy shop! Don’t want tulip canes? There’s also piles of tulip beads in there. There’s also crocus, little birds and other signs of spring in the shop. Spring is coming.
If you make polymer clay canes and you’ve made rose canes and variants on the multi-petal canes like chrysanthemums or dahlias you’re familiar with the very cool effect that Skinner blend shading can give your canes. Those canes are made with two colours of clay, generally, and all detail is arrived at with careful placement of the shaded blocks, like you do with painting. It’s sort of an art form to make complex, effective designs with the simplest of combinations and materials.
Backing up in time a bit, I’ve made tulip canes a few times and they were clearly tulips. They weren’t great and they relied on “outline” or drawn elements to establish that yes, these were tulips. The shading was there but not used for definition.
I decided to tweak that a bit this week and, starting with the crocus, did a “drawn” or outlined flower to get the shape right. Then I, using roughly the same design, went with tulips using just the shaded blocks to get the definition and it worked! I got tulips out of it.
My mildly clay nerd week for you.