Friday, March 28, 2008

My big-headed chickadee cane

Hi Everyone,

I've spent a few hours working on my chickadee cane. I'm not sure whether I'm happy with it - I had some problems that I'll discuss below. Once again, my inspiration was a stained glass pattern. I've decided that canes are prettiest when they've got skinner blends to I tried to incorporate some into this cane. I started out creating the main framework to the cane - you can see the approximate dimensions in the photo.
Then it was on trying to determine what background would be best. I'm trying to marry the trillium cane and the Canada goose canes that I did earlier so it seemed like I needed some green and blue in the background. But, this time I got smart and sliced off a bit of the chickadee and a bit of my tentative background, baked them separately and then put them onto each other.

I took a tip from Judith Belcher's video and looked through my binoculars in a reverse direction to see how it would look in a smaller scale. Judith uses other equipment than binoculars but the result is the same and I hope I'm not giving away secrets by spelling this out. I also considered a tan background, which also would have looked nice, but this background allowed me to use up some scrap clay. The head looks a little big here but that's only because when I sliced a bit off the chickadee I didn't get much of the head and I had to cut off a sliver more for the head. I didn't realize that this was more prophetic than I expected.
So then it was on to constructing the cane. I do like creating a full background and then cutting out the bits to surround the main cane - it's a bit easier for me to visualize and get the effect that I want, though it does generate some waste clay.

Once I cut everything out I started to reduce it. I was impatient and didn't let it rest before reducing, but the main cane and the background had been constructed previously so it wasn't too bad. HOWEVER, I had incorporated some scrap clay into the black of the chickadee. I knew that it was a bit stiffer than the other clays going into it, but I didn't think it would be as much of a problem as it turned out to be. The black in the chickadee did NOT move very much at all and I ended up generating a whack of scrap clay as the rest of the cane moved around it. At one point I was tempted to cut the cane open and remove the black and put new stuff in it was so bad.

I've never had such a difference in clay in caning before. It was terrible and I got very frustrated. Normally I'm a patient reducer. But, finally I was able to reduce and the results are shown in the photo - the head is bigger than I would like, hence the title of the blog. I now have the two bottom sizes in about six inches of length each. The other is just a slice to show what it looked like mid reduction. I'm kinda thinking that I'll combine the two smaller ones together when I put my project together. We'll see.

And, of course, there are Judy Belcher's/tessellated canes that were made with the cutouts and remainders from the blends. These make me think of Ireland and tartans for some reason or other. I have other tessellated canes that I made from more of the scrap and I'll post those later.

I still have the mystic bear that I want to finish and then I'll have to step back and see about the final design of the project.

And, for those of you following the saga of my night light - I broke it as I was showing Leigh how to put it onto the light gently. All that happened was that I snapped off a piece that I had glued on and it didn't actually break the nightlight portion of it. But, I've obviously got to figure out a better way of attaching the support to the shade.

That's it for now.




Vivi said...

your bird is ... waouh ... fantastique !!
I love your work, Sandy !

Cindy Lietz, Polymer Clay Tutor said...

I love your cane Sandy!

I know how frustrating it is to have some section of your cane not want to reduce! Turned out great despite the issues though. It's too bad all the clay we get can't arrive the same consistency... would make a caners life a little easier!!

Louise said...

Ayoye! That is a great cane Sandy. Je me prosterne devant ton talent. Bravo!