Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Extruder Canes with Bead Patterns as a guide

I put up the color mixing chart yesterday for this project!

Millefiori is the glass technique of bundling or layering colored rods of glass together to form images and then cutting the cross section of the bundled or layered glass to get a little tile of an image. These colored rods of glass are called canes. I have seen this technique duplicated in many mediums, ceramic, candy, food, and polymer clay, and it can sometimes seem almost impossible to achieve, but if you start with basic design, bulls eye canes, open spirals and checkerboards just to name a few, you can combine those to make more intricate pictures or images, called advanced caning. Anytime two or more simple patterns are combined it becomes advanced. I have found a way to make intricate canes that is so easy to do, yet gives the impression of intricacy and complication. Bead patterns and a Makin’s Clay extruder are great for attempting this.

You will need:
Red and orange Cernit, 2 blocks of each
Opaque white Cernit, 1 block
Makin’s clay extruder
Kemper Slicing blade
Bead Pattern- I got mine on from Kris Jernberg who is BeadedandBejeweled on Bead-space. She has her many beautiful patterns in her gallery and generously shares them with all of us at Bead-space. Thank you so much Kris, this project is 10 times what it normally is because of your generosity and talent. This is her home page at bead-space Any bead patterns or your own can be converted to canes this way. Even some cross stitch and needle point patterns work great for this also.
I love bead-space and Kris is just one of the many reasons I am so proud to be a part of this community of generous, kind, and talented men and women.

Mix each Red block of clay with 1/8 block of Opaque white
Mix each Orange block of clay with 1/8 block of Opaque white

(You can do this with the colors that Kris picked too, use 2 blocks of Yellow and 2 blocks of Light Green and mix those with 1/8 block of Opaque white for each block of color.) In my picture block the Green color is orange clay and the yellow color is red clay. I cross out the line of squares on the pattern as I complete them so I don't get lost.
Load up the extruder with the conditioned red mixture first by rolling into a coil slightly smaller than the barrel of the extruder and use the square disk that comes with the extruder. Place the disk in the end fitting and screw that on to the end of the barrel and screw the handle down to extrude the red clay in a square shape. Cut this long tube of squares in to 2 “sections.
Then extrude the other glob of preconditioned red clay.
Now do the Orange clay blobs and cut those extruded squares in to 2” lengths.
Now you are going to use sticky notes and block off a section of the pattern like I have done, shown in the first picture above. Now assemble the squares to duplicate this pattern exactly. Place all the square logs together deliberately and take your time to make sure they are all lined up. Once you get the block together. Start compacting the lined sides (all of them one at a time) of the block down gently to extend the patterned faces out and lengthen the design block and make it smaller in size. Go slow and do a little at a time to keep the rectangle shape and the pattern straight.
Once you get this down to about 1” on one side you can cut in to sections and put them together to form different patterns. These can be put together a multitude of ways and in many configurations, just play around with them, just don't press them together until you get what you like. Then they can be pressed together and reduced again and cut and placed together again to make the design more and more complicated.


  1. I thought you would enjoy this one!
    Merry Christmas girl!

  2. Gorgeous as usual, Mur! Hey you haven't posted for a whole week!! I hope your just busy with holidays, darlin'. xxoo

  3. So now I have visited all your locations your clay factory, your work and your blog and they are all great!!

  4. Thank you so much Meredith, I have been wrapped up in the holidays but not really the way I imagined, I have been painting and moving in my youngest. Yep, I suggest if you are going to move to pick another month like January or June or something else with out a major holiday in it. Oh and make sure you have enough money so you don't have to make all of your presents either if you do move in December, but as we were driving back and forth I was amazed at how many people I saw moving. And then, yes it is the "but wait there is more"... both septic tanks went out at the same time on moving day, interesting! We are digging the holes because it cuts back on some money, but there is the mother of rain storms coming, it just gets better too. So digging fast is the key. But I am going to cut it off there, no recapping, because the week is better off being left in last week. I could not lift my arms to type and my attitude was a bit crappy(lol). But I did win a basket of Burt's bees stuff this week and I am hanging on to that as my glimmer of hope.
    Happy Holidays to you Mer, Blessings all over you,

  5. Terri,
    Thank you so very, very much. It means a lot coming from you, your designs are beautiful and I love them.
    Happy Holidays to you and yours,


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