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How to Make DawnDazees

By Dawn Naylor, edited by Sunni Bergeron

First I would like to thank every artist who surely had a hand in shaping my polymer technique. It would be impossible to list everyone from whose work I have learned. This short list represents those that I think influenced me the most: Katherine Dewey, Kris Richards, Marie Segal, Leigh Ross, Vincent VanGogh, Claude Monet, Georgia O'Keefe and M.C. Escher. But since we are doing flowers I thank GOD for those!

I picked the colors I used to help everyone see the process better, please do not think that you have to use these colors. In fact experiment! GO CRAZY! You will find some examples of other flowers done in this technique but with different colors at the end of this lesson.

So let's make some flowers!

Supplies: (All measurements are based on the 2 ounce block of clay.)


1/8 block each of Premo Violet, and Blue,
1/4 block each of Premo Pearl White, Translucent and Black.
A scrap of Premo Green
(You can use other colors - in fact, I wish you would!!).
For the flower center:
1/8 block each of Premo Pearl, Yellow and Translucent
3/8 block of Premo Gold
1/4 block Premo Green
For assembling the cane: another 1/4 block of Premo Translucent
Tissue Blade or razor blade
Pasta machine (if you don't have one, a marble rolling pin, a jar or a glass, etc.)
A clean work surface

Condition all the clay by manipulating it. Squeeze it, fold it, twist it, pull it, smash it and run it through your pasta machine. This softens the clay and "gets it moving." Work the clay until it you can roll it into a fat log, bend the log in half so the ends meet and the log does not crack or break at the bend.
MAKING THE PETALS
My flowers have a translucent quality to them. When sliced very thin they give the appearance of real flowers. The first step in achieving this is to use a mixture of color/pearl/trans in a 1:1:1 ratio.
  1. Roll the Pearl White and Translucents out into rectangular sheets using the thickest setting on your pasta machine.


  2. Place the Translucent on your work surface and the Pearl White on top of it.


  3. Roll the Violet and Blue out into rectangular sheets using medium thick on your pasta machine.


  4. Fold the Violet and Blue sheets into triangles and place them on top of the Pearl White as shown in the Figure on the right.


  5. Using this mix of colors, proceed to make your skinner blend. If you don't know how to make a Skinner Blend, go here.


  6. Fold the skinner blend in half again matching the SIDES and not head to toe as you were when blending the colors. Run it through the pasta machine on the thickest setting one last time to get a long sheet. Trim this long sheet so it is a neat rectangle. (See Fig 1 in the next step.)
After you have the blend looking the way you want it, it's time to figure out how you want to roll it up. You can start at the light end for a light center (see Fig 2) or the dark end for a dark center (see Fig 3)
  1. Pick the end you want as your center and place your blade in about 1/8 inch in from the end.


  2. Press firmly at an angle being careful not to cut all the way through. The purpose here is to give yourself a crease to make the beginning of the roll easier.


  3. Push the end of the sheet up so it begins the jellyroll and then slowly, squeezing and pressing firmly along the way to prevent air pockets, roll the sheet all the way up.
Now it's time to wrap your blend and add the vein that runs through the bottom of each petal
  1. Put your black clay through your pasta machine at the thinnest setting (or roll it out by hand as thin as you can get it) without its falling apart when you peel it up.


  2. Trim the sheet so it is the same width as the Skinner Blend log is long and square the ends up.


  3. Wrap the cut sheet around the cane. When the wrap meets the end of itself, press it lightly to get a line in the excess. Pull it back so you can see the line and, using your blade, cut off the excess just barely inside that line. You want the clay to wrap around only once and to have both ends of the black sheet abut each other.


  4. Where the ends of the wrap meet, slice about halfway through the cane and keep the blade in the cane!! You do this because it will close up again if you don't. You can cut it again, but you don't want to do it too many times!


  5. Put a small, slightly flattened snake of green clay in the cut and remove the blade. I used green here, but in your world, use your choice of color!


  6. Gently press the cane closed. At this point, the green should spread out and be showing through the black wrap. You want it to stay that way.


  7. Now reduce the cane.  If you don't know how to reduce, please check out Leigh's lesson on reducing canes! You want to pull more than roll, if you roll you can distort or twist the green stripe that is showing from the embedded flat snake. You want it to stay all lined up. So do more pulling, squeezing, and pinching, being careful not to pull it apart!! Keep it a consistent thickness throughout the process.  You want the reduction to be somewhere in size between the your pointer finger and the your pinky finger. Keep doing this until it is long enough to cut into four or more even pieces. In my demonstration, I cut the cane into six even pieces.
MAKING THE CENTER
fig.1,2,3 & 4 for making & wrapping a spiral/jellyroll caneNow you'll need a spiral or jellyroll cane for the center of the Dawndazee.
  1. Pick up the Pearl, Yellow and Translucent and mix them together. Blend thoroughly.


  2. Roll the blend out on medium on your pasta machine and trim into a rectangle as wide as the petal cane sections are long.


  3. Roll the gold out on the same setting and trim it so it is just a little longer than the Yellow blend.


  4. Place the Yellow blend on top of the Gold sheet. (See Fig. 1)


  5. Pick either end and place your blade in about 1/8 inch in from the end.


  6. Press firmly at an angle being careful not to cut all the way through. The purpose here is to give yourself a crease to make the beginning. of the roll easier.


  7. Push the end of the sheet up so it begins the jellyroll and then slowly, squeezing and pressing firmly along the way to prevent air pockets, roll the sheet all the way up. (See Fig 2.)


  8. Put your green clay through your pasta machine at the thinnest setting (or roll it out by hand as thin as you can get it) without its falling apart when you peel it up.


  9. Trim the sheet so it is the same width as the spiral cane is long and square the ends up.


  10. Wrap the cut sheet around the cane. (See Fig.3) When the wrap meets the end of itself, press it lightly to get a line in the excess. Pull it back so you can see the line and, using your blade, cut off the excess just barely inside that line. You want the clay to wrap around only once and to have both ends of the green sheet abut each other (see Fig.4).
ASSEMBLING THE FLOWER
Now you get to put the whole thing together
  1. Make your petal logs shaped a little like tear drops with the snake of green at the point. To get them to fit together, may require a bit of playing. However many petals you want to use, it is possible you may need to reduce the size of your center spiral log or narrow the shape of the petals (4 petals they will be more round, while more than 6 petals will be really narrow like daisies.)


  2. Take each piece of petal cane and place it on the wrapped spiral cane making sure the green strip touches the green that is wrapped around the spiral center cane. Check the full length of the petal cane to make sure the green stripe is touching the green on the center spiral cane all the way through!


  3. Now take your translucent and roll several snakes, one for each valley between each petal cane where they join.


  4. Make each snake triangle shaped and press them into the valleys (see the "white" clay in the picture) This helps the flower keep its shape when reducing.  You MUST put in the tranlsucent snakes or your flower will become a divided circle. Now you can either wrap it with translucent or just reduce as is (that's how I do it.)
FINISHING THE FLOWER
Now it is time for the final steps to reduce the cane. I would suggest not rolling all of the cane the same size. The charm in flowers is that they are different. So when reducing your cane remember to make some of it smaller, those little flowers make it so nice!   If you don't know how to reduce, please check out Leigh's lesson on reducing canes! Again when reducing squeeze and pull, don't roll.
  1. Pick up the cane and squeeze, pinch and pull it down to about half the thickness, cut some off and set that piece aside.


  2. Continue reducing the remaining cane to about half THAT thickness, cut some off and set that aside. Repeat this for as many times as suits your fancy so you get several different sizes of flowers.


  3. As you reduce it you are sure you are wrecking it, but somehow it always turns out!

Have fun!

©2001-Dawn Naylor

Thank you, Dawn! You can Email Dawn at dn1st@yahoo.com or visit her Website at D-Zyns by Dawn

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