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Monday, 29 March 2010

Klimt Cane - Polymer Clay

I set out to make a Klimt cane, using the instructions in a lovely book I bought by Donna Kato.
The first step was to condition the clay using a pasta machine (you can of course do it by hand but it takes much much longer) and then make logs with however many colours you want.  I've used pearlised clay made by Cernit, in metallic silver and copper, brown and aqua.  Disaster struck while rolling the second colour, my machine seized up completely and the rollers won't move at all.  Fortunately the clay I was rolling was just about out of the machine so I didn't lose any.  
So I conditioned the other two logs by hand, which took much longer and left my hands really sore.
On to the next stage, making a multicoloured log.
 This stage was straightforward.  Slice up logs and join slices together randomly.  Then soften the resulting log and roll it to size so it will fit into the extruder.
The extruder is fitted with a large square plate.  Extruding was hard work.  I think maybe I didn't soften the log enough, but I did try to soften up the clay for subsequent extrusions and it was still very hard to do.  My hands are very weak so it probably wouldn't matter how soft the clay was.  My left hand, gripping the barrel while I turned the extruder screw, kept cramping up, so it took me a long time to do all the clay. 
The next stage was to cut the extruded clay into sections and join together into a square or rectangle.  I forgot to take a photo during this process,  I cut a slice while it was a square but then I cut the cane and doubled it to make a rectangle.
I took the square I cut, and made a base for it from scrap clay and made a hole so it can be a pendent.
Then I used some of the cane to cover a lentil shaped bead made from scrap clay.
I made 2 more beads for earrings, I'll photograph them when they are finished.

As for the pasta machine........
well it is just so much scrap metal, and I decided to get myself a Makins machine, which is made specifically for clay rather than pasta, and has teflon coated rollers.  It's rather expensive but would have been better value if I'd got that one in the first place instead of the cheapest I could find - I really should know better!
Sadly it comes from the USA and I could only find one UK stockist.  And they are out of stock so I have to wait 2 - 4 weeks for it.  (That's if they receive their shipment when they hope to)
I could order it direct from the States but with taxes and shipping I think it would be more expensive so I'll just wait.
In the meantime if I have to condition and roll by hand I'll stick to small projects.  Of course there are all sorts of things I need to do - including decorating my house - but that can wait for another day.


Aeris Designs said...

You're a brave woman, Pam. Cane making looks far too complicated for me!

sue wright said...

Really enjoyed reading about the process in making this lovely effect.
Best wishes Sue

Maxine Veronica said...

Fab canes Pam, I love the colours and playing with clay can really de-stress you and as a bonus you end up with a fab bead at the end. Good luck with future projects - perhaps we should start a polymer clay cane appreciation club!

Max x

Jo Clarke said...

That was fascinating, it's great to see how things are made and how much work goes into a handmade item.

Natalie said...

Thanks for sharing this, really interesting :) I enjoy reading about how other crafters craft! x

Johnnie said...

Hey. I am a new follower of your blog. Great stuff. Just wanted to let you know I posted about this tutorial and linked your site. Blessings!
Saved By Love Creations

Shoogly Beads said...

Lovely work. Mike loves these canes and has been doing them for a few years now. Sometimes we call them 'Klimt' but often call them 'Retros'. He also loves Donna Kato so probably learned them from the same source!!

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