Category: Year of Clay

Week 10: Bunny and Carrot

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.

Week 9: Tulip Variations

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.

Week 8: Sunflower Canes

I needed a new batch of sunflower canes for my shop (and my own use!) and I wanted to make some with a little more visual interest than my usual ones. I like how these turned out with the extra colour pop and wilder petals. Now, if only the real world were sunflower weather.

A little tired of the winter weather here.