Polymer Clay Ambitions and
Twisted Kneads  . . . how to make a
Polymer Clay Feather Cane
I have used Premo for this project because it is my personal preference. Any firm clay will do.
Also, it is a good idea to read through the whole tutorial before you begin as I'm fairly new to
writing tutorials and you may have questions that I haven't answered here. Please don't hesitate
to
Email me  if you are having any problems with this tute.
Colors
Copper
White
Black
Gold
White Pearl
Tools
Pasta machine
Tissue blade
(or sharp cutter)
Colors of clay, left to right  . . . black ... copper mixed w/
pea-sized pinch of white pearl ... Gold mixed w/pea-sized
pinch of white pearl ... white.
Run through pasta machine on #1 setting and folded so you
have two layers.

Take the black piece of folded clay and cut in half diagonally
to make two triangle shapes. Stack these together, one on
top of the other to make ONE triangle that will be 4 layers
thick.

Repeat with all remaining colors and arrange as shown in
photo.



Run through the pasta machine to make a Skinner Blend
This has been through the pasta machine about 25 - 30
times to get the effect I wanted.
Take the sheet of Skinner blend and fold it into THIRDS
making sure that you are folding from the left to right and
NOT from top to bottom. (You don't want the white clay
touching the black clay.)
Starting with the white end of the folded sheet, run it through
the pasta machine on the #1 setting and you will have a
"ribbon"
of clay shown in the photo (hopefully, your's will be much
neater, lol).
Take the same ribbon (DO NOT FOLD) and run it through
the pasta machine (starting with the white end) on the #3
setting.
Continue to do this with the #4, 5 and 6 settings and you will
have a very long thin ribbon of clay. This takes patience
because the clay is thin and can tear easily. I have the clay
ribbon slightly folded so I could get the whole strip in the
photo but it is one long ribbon of graduated color.

Starting at one end, gently roll the ribbon of clay into a
jellyroll to make a cane. I started rolling from the black end
but you could also start from the white end. (I want the center
stripe in my feather to be white so I did it as shown in the
photo. I know it doesn't sound right but you will understand
further on in the lesson.) This cane is approx.  1
1/2" tall x 11/2"
round.
Set the cane aside to firm up a bit.
Layer a gold ribbon of clay between two white ribbons of clay
as shown in photo.  I forgot to measure the length of the
ribbon but it should be as 'tall' as your cane and you should
make it at least 3" long. This will be the central vein for your
feather.  Set aside.

At this time you will need to make a strip of gold clay on the
#1 setting of your pasta machine. It should be as 'tall' as your
cane and at least 12" - 15" long. I forgot to take a photo of
this step and also didn't measure how much I needed but it is
easy enough to make more if you need it. This is the other
parts of the veins for the feather.

Get your jellyroll cane ... with your tissue blade, cut off a slice
of the jellyroll (beginning at the top and cutting DOWN
through the cane) ... then, using the gold clay strip rolled on
the #1 setting, cut off a piece to fit the size of the cane slice
and gently press together. Continue cutting off another slice
and inserting the layered ribbon until you come to the other
end of your cane. (This would be a good time to click on the
image so you can get a better idea of how it should look.)
After all your cuts and insertions are made, take the cane
and compress it back into a round, compact shape.
Take your tissue blade and cut the cane in half.
VERY IMPORTANT ... please note the ANGLE of the blade.
The cane must be cut on the
diagonal.


Take your two halves and place them exactly as shown (with
the curved edges together.)


Remember that gold/white layered ribbon strip you made?
Take the 'ribbon' and wrap it half way around on ONE half of
the feather cane as shown at left.
Now you gotta be a bit persuasive ... place the tip of the other
half of the feather cane against the tip of the other one and
begin to press the two halves together until they are all
seamed together.

It should look something like this photo.
I'm not altogether happy with the results yet but the colors
are pretty so all is not lost.

The next step is to reduce the cane.
This is the cane after being reduced. It's about 6" long and
approx 1" around.



Here is the cane cut in half and some feather shapes made
from the end pieces.


Other bits and pieces from this caning project.

So ...what to do with this?
  I decided to cover a tin. I laid out a sheet of scrap clay that
has been run through the #1 setting of the pasta machine. In
the background there are thin slices of the feather cane that
are going to be put on the scrap sheet and then rolled
smooth to get rid of any lumps and bumps. The final step
before putting the sheet on the tin is to run it through the
pasta machine on #3 setting to give it a really smooth surface.

Here's the tin top done and ready for the oven.

Not exactly what I had pictured when I first started out but I'm
not disappointed with it. I love the colors and that's a plus!
   
  I hope you give it a try. Use any colors you like. Do it your
way.
Hopefully other tutorials I do will get better as I learn and
remember, if you have any questions or if I've gotten you
totally confused, please contact me and we'll get it fixed!

hugs, luny
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Michele Holley
2006. 2007