What I've Been Up To Lately + A Bit of Thrifting Thursday 8/7/14

Hello My Dear Friends~
 Goodness, summer sure has flown by. I'm so glad that Virginia still respects the Labor Day rule for the start of school. This means we still have a few weeks left to enjoy the summer here, which is great because I need to get a ton of work done for fall shows....

 Earlier this summer I took Heather Powers "Art of Color Bootcamp" course online which awakened an interest in polymer clay caning. I confess that I wasn't a fan of caning before. It just seemed so tedious but now that I'm a convert, I've been surfing the web looking for interesting tutorials to try.

So first I was intrigued by the concept of a Monarch cane. Here are links to the tutorials that I used
[Meg Newberg Butterfly Cane Tutorial]
[Jewelry and Polymer Clay Tutorial Heaven]
[Fire Mountain Gems Making a Butterfly Cane]

In my humble opinion, I used too much white and probably didn't take enough time in my reducing.
So my cane came out less Monarch butterfly and more Japanese lotus flower-like.

It still made a cool pattern and some nice veneers for jewelry and home decor items.

 Next up was a try at a houndstooth cane.  [Meg Newberg Houndstooth Cane Tutorial]  I loved this idea and I was especially inspired because for the first time in at least 8 years, I was going to be with a dear friend near her birthday. She is a University of Alabama alumnae and a HUGE football fan, so the idea to create a pendant set was a no brainer.  I think this turned out pretty well. The 'A' logo is a licensed image and so as much as I'd like to, I cannot sell them. I am, however, working up an alternative idea using an elephant image, that I think I will be able to sell.
Roll Tide!

That brings me to this cane. I was still haunted by the butterfly image. I reviewed the links above, and
I did some recon and printed out a pencil drawing of a monarch to help with placement and I made a zillion tiny white with black tubes.
I vowed to take my time this go-around and not let my impatience ruin my effort.

I had a big bunch of blue scrap clay I decided to use up.  This time I opted to make two separate canes for the wings to improve the realistic look I was going for. I also watched a tutorial on cane reduction that showed a technique using some scrap plastic on the cane ends to decrease the warping that is so common when reducing.

So, here we come the 'Thrifting" portion of the post.   Earlier this week I was thrift shopping for my college bound son's first apartment and ran across these ceramic Mardi Gras mask forms for .75cents each.  I thought I'd give them a try.

First I washed + scraped the mask. Then painted on a coating of liquid polymer and baked. Then applied a thin layer of black clay and baked.  You see the shot in progress prior to finishing + curing.
Lastly I began to add wing cane slices to complete my vision.  
The thing about canes is that they make A TON OF product. You can cover many, many things.
Sorry I didn't have a before shot of this blue thrift shop ceramic frame, 
but the after photo shows how it perfectly matched the blue of the wings. 

A few more pics of the mask after adding a couple more wings, smoothing and glazing. In hind sight I think I should have used a satin or matte glaze. It's just a wee bit too shiny for my taste.

 And of course with so much cane left, here's one more frame, on a wooden form that I painted black prior to adding slices that I formed and pre baked.
So, there you have it. 
Now enough goofing off on the computer! 
It's back to the work bench for me!

Have a wonderful weekend and I'll see you soon 
:-D  ~ Tammie


  1. Oh Tammie the second time was it for you, your butterfly is gorgeous. I love the frames and the mask. Can't wait to see what else you come up with.

  2. I can clearly see your cane addiction deepening, Tammie ;)

  3. Such improvement from beginning to end! Beautiful work and very interesting read! Thanks!


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