Scan of original-sized cane on left. Reduced and baked cane slice on right.

I love damask.  I designed this cane and spent much time putting it together, but when I reduced it, it went horribly wrong.  The nice curves were smashed against the sides.  A lot of white clay squished out the ends, which should have told me things weren’t going well.

I had fairly stiff black clay and fairly soft white clay, both Kato.  It hadn’t sunk in that the clays really and truly need to have the same consistency.  I hadn’t tried leaching yet.

What I learned from this:

  1. It’s really important that all the clay be the same fairly stiff consistency for a cane like this. Leach, add liquid clay, Sculpey Clay Softener or Fimo Mix Quick until all clays feel the same.
  2. Don’t put the design right next to the outside of the cane.  Add a cushion of clay.
  3. Fill all the gaps really well.  Don’t leave holes because clay will move to fill them. This can get ugly.
Scan of original-sized cane on left. Baked and reduced cane slice on right.

I had better results with the above cane because I was more careful about the two colors of clay being the same consistency.  I used the reducing techniques in Wendy Jorre de St Jorre’s tutorial, which helped considerably.  I also added more of a clay cushion around the outside of the design.

Blade cases made with each cane. In the left one, I had gaps where the canes met, so I used a metal pen cartridge to cut circles out of the veneer and replaced them with clay circles in the gray violet.


What I learned from this:

  1. Make the corners on square canes sharp, not rounded.  If you make a veneer, this helps the cane slices join well.
  2. It’s important the cane slices are the same thickness, unless you really like to sand.