Awhile back I made a dragonfly pattern in clay, it sold out so quickly that I was very sad I had not made more. So for the first time, I tried to replicate a complex pattern that I had made. Yikes! I figured that it didn’t have to look exactly like the original, hence the name Dragonfly’s Brother for this one. I was really going for a strong family resemblance.
For the first time in my process, I had my smartphone handy and was taking pics throughout, and I’m brand new to Instagram, so I was sharing them over there and it was amazing to be getting feedback WHILE I WAS STILL MAKING IT! Wow, all these new fangled devices can be really lifechanging.
Here, I’d like to share the pictures with you and explain a bit of the process to make Millefiori canes in polymer clay. Firstly, earlier I mentioned a ‘complex’ cane, ‘compound’ might be a better word, since what I mean by this is an end cane that took several combined canes to create. This particular cane required the dragonfly (which was several small cane pieces), a black and white spiral, a translucent and white spiral and a translucent and white flower can (on it’s own, the flower can weighed near a pound).
I’ll just drop the pics here in order, not the greatest quality since they were from my phone, but still quite revealing. First you can see the flower cane, which is a really just a combination of circles, half circles pinched into triangles and more triangles. Then you will see the reduced flower cane and some spiral canes being used to create a background for the dragonfly itself. Reducing large canes like this is a bit of a challenge for me because I hate waste! And the ends can easily become giant blobs of unusable, distorted pattern if you are not methodical about reducing. My method is to pinch the ends, then reduce the middle and use my table to press down as I reduce to keep the middle of the cane from bulging out of the ends too much. I was able to reduce these large canes with just a couple of inches on each end or waste and with little to no distortion in the end portions of the canes. YEARS of practice and trial and error have evolved into this method for me. Enjoy!
I’ve had a lot of people ask me how to get started on the clay. While there are a lot of amazing tutorials online and many great artists sharing their techniques on YouTube, I am a book girl. I have a small crafting library, that I occasionally add to when I find a book that I know will teach me something new and useable. This small book was a great tool to get me started on blends, ombres and shading. It’s cheap, small, and full of photos. I highly recommend it!
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