The Lace Cane, in my opinion, is one of the easiest and most effective canes to make. I use it a lot, in many variations, for a zillion different effects. It
can be done with two different colors or twenty different colors. Its all a matter
of what you are going to use it for.
While I was making the candle holders for a wedding, I needed some clay that
had an overall design, to fill in around the Dogwood cane that I had made. Lace cane slices proved perfect for this. I find that the Lace Cane allowed you to use the same colors as your main cane, and gives you a great product that will blend and enhance your original cane.
For this lesson, I took a slice off of each step of the Lace Canes I made so you will get an idea of how the Lace cane looks in different configurations.
Remember, you are only limited by your imagination!
Select your colors and prepare your clay (remember to refer back to
our basic lesson if you have any questions about working with clay). With this
cane, it isn't as important to have the different colors of clay worked to the
same softness unless you are looking for very crisp, even lines. With the Lace Cane there is room for variation most of the time.
Take your first color and roll it into a cylinder. The amounts of
clay needed all vary according to what you are going to use it for. You can
use a little bit for a small cane, or use a lot for a large cane - the effect will be the same. Make the cylinder as even as possible and as flat on both ends as possible.
Take your second color and either put it through the pasta machine,
or roll it flat with a rolling pin or a brayer. Wrap this around the cylinder
of the first color. Don't overlap the wrap if you can help it - you want the edges to butt up against each other for eveness. Then cut off the excess hanging over the ends. Your cane should now look like your first cylinder, with a jacket on!
Repeat Step 3 as many times as you have colors that you want to include in this cane.
When you're done wrapping the colors, pack the cylinder in your hands and then begin roll it on your worktable. Be gentle but firm as you roll it, and make
the cylinder get longer and longer like a snake. This is called REDUCING the
cane (you take a cylinder of clay and make it into a long snake).
When your cane is about four times longer than it was to begin with, you
slice off about a half inch to an inch on each end (this is put on the
"waste" pile, and will be used to make a "waste cane" at a later date). When
you reduce a cane, you will usually lose some of the clarity of the cane on
the ends, even though the center stays constant.
Cut this snake into FOUR EQUAL lenths of clay.
Place these four snakes together side-by-side, and begin to pack them with your hands to make them into another larger cylinder. Work the clay so that the ends are all even.
Now, pack and roll this cane again, and repeat Steps 5 and 6. This time cut the snake into 6 equal parts and pack them back together. Usually I put one
in the center and 5 around the center one.
Pack and roll. Firm up the edges and repeat Steps 5 and 6 if you
want to - it all depends on how large you want your design to be!
Now, there are a ton of variations... make the first cut 6 times or 8 time, use
10 different colors, all different thicknesses etc... Use your imagination and
enjoy making this easy cane. In my opinion, this is a no fault cane. There
really isn't anything that can go wrong, and you can end up with some very
Here are some other Lace Cane examples -
Example 1 Example 2
That's it... the basics of the Lace Cane. You can slice them into a disk thickness, put a hole though the top, bake them, and then string the disks. You can slice it very thin and wrap the slices around base beads or around glass items, and then bake. There are many ways of using this cane, and we'll discuss them in future lessons.
©1997 Leigh Ross
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