The Christmas candy is made in the same way, using rods of molten candy, rather
than glass. These same techniques have been adapted by polymer clay artists to create
polymer clay canes, which can be used as beads, buttons, veneers to cover items or
placed together to form mosaics. For many people, making canes is one of the most
intriguing, but intimidating techniques used in polymer clay. Some people find cane
making very challenging, while it comes quite easily to others. I happen to truly
enjoy making polymer clay canes and am one of those people who find cane making as
natural as others find making sculptures (which I find very challenging).
Today is the first day of the rest of my life, at least that’s what I’ve been told,
so I decided it was finally time for me to have a web site dedicated to my Polymer
Clay Play (notice, I didn’t say Work, as Polymer Clay is pure play for me).
What is Polymer Clay?
Polymer clay is actually Poly Vinyl Chloride or PVC (which is also what much of our
modern plumbing pipes are made of; those hard white plastic pipes you see at the
hardware store). This is a man made plastic clay that must be cured or hardened
in an oven, just a regular oven, it does not require a kiln or special oven. Polymer
clay comes in a rainbow of colors and can be used to make just about anything. It
can be sculpted, carved, used as a veneer, used for making jewelry, and is great
for cane making.
What is Cane Making?
“What is a polymer clay cane?” is a question I am often asked. People act out using
a walking cane for balance with a question on their faces. I explain it as follows:
Have you ever seen candy at Christmas that has a flower or Christmas tree through
the center of it? That is an example of a cane.
The word for a cane, Millefiori, comes from Italian glasswork whereby a picture (a
flower for example) runs through the entire length of the glass rod. The Italian
glasswork is called Millefiori, which means thousand flowers, as many small, thin
slices of these are placed together often forming a field of flowers. For the glass
makers, a cane consists of rods of molten glass which are combined into a pattern
and then stretched to create a long cylinder of glass with the pattern stretched
throughout the length of the cylinder.
So, welcome to an inside peek at what I do with polymer clay.