Pixelated Retro Blend Cane

While doing a project for my new book “Polymer Clay Bracelets” I was doing an extruded veneer for a bracelet. I had some leftovers with which I just played around a little bit – I stacked it, compressed it etc. Then, when I cut it open I suddenly had this beautiful blended rainbow cane in front of me. The original veneer was a spiral and so the cane I had now was not a rectangle – it was more shaped like a piece of cake. I definitely had to try and figure out what had happened inside this extrusion and translate the whole process  into a rectangular shaped cane. I called the cane “Pixelated Retro Blend Cane” – maybe you guys come up with a better name for it:)

So, here is how it’s done:

Mix 5 different colors. I used 5 consecutive shades from yellow to a warm purple.
Then roll the sheets out on the thickest setting (#1) of your pasta machine.

Punch out 8 circles of each color with a cookie cutter that matches the diameter of the extruder barrel.

Roll out black and white (#1) clay and punch out 12 circles of white and 10 circles of black.

Arrange the circles into two seperate rods following the pattern in the picture above. I made two rods to be able to make two complete extrusions in order to have enough cane in the end to at least cover a bracelet.

If you like to have a lighter shaded cane in the end you may replace the black clay with white. In this case you have to cut out 22 white circles instead of 12 white and 10 black.

Compress the rod a little and feed it (dark side first) into the barrel of your extruder.

Insert the small circle disc (2.5mm) – or, if you have them – the tiny square or triangle disc into the extruder. The tiny square comes in the set withCynthia Tinapple’s extruder discs, the triangle is part of a set manufactured by Lucy Clay.

Now with your disc inserted extrude a long snake from each rod you just prepared.

Then lay out the snakes like shown in the picture, starting with the light color in the upper left corner.

As you can see, I used a sharpie pen to mark a width of 20 cm (~8 inches) on my tile. Shorter lines would leave you with a very thin and extremly high cane, y longer lines would give you a very low cane that is quite long. Also the blend wouldn’t be that perfect anymore. So, 20 cm is a good length.

When the clay sheet is done, cover it with a sheet of baking paper and gently rub over it with an acrylic roller or an old credit card. This adheres the individual lines to each other.

Slide a blade under the sheets to lift them from the tile. then cut both sheets in half and stack them.

Cut the stack in half again and stack one more time. This is more or less how your cane should look right now.

Here you can see the difference between a cane only made with white circles and the one I just made with the white AND black circles.

Now reduce the cane a bit to get rid of all the air that might be trapped in between the layers and use your cane for many beautiful projects like bracelets, necklaces, pins, pendants…..

Have fun and happy claying!

© Bettina Welker, 2012

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Thank you!