Friday, May 1, 2009

Raising Cane

I'm just not a cane kinda gal. I'm talking about polymer clay canes, a term from glassmaking that refers to a collection of colored rods that are assembled and stretched and when cut, reveal a miniature version of the original, despite how narrow the cane becomes. I admire the work that others do with them but it's just not me. I hated geometry in high school (heck I hated math, period!) I finally figured out it's the regularity of them that's the problem for me. I like randomness in my designs-- chaos, mixin' it up, unpredictability. I like to deconstruct things. “Disintegration” is a concept I see turning up all over the world of art and design. One of my favorite sources for the Color Inspiration of the Day on my blog is the Rot Squad site on Flickr.

Speaking of disintegration, I am the Rust Queen, just ask my husband. He collects old, rusty barbed wire for me wherever he finds it on our property and on this old 1830s Vermont farm, there's a lot around. He also brings me old rusted wagon wheel rims, bedsprings, rusted pots, and odd pieces of aged metal. A favorite piece is a clinker donut, a completely random piece formed from the melding of molten scraps left in the charcoal of his forge. Accidental. One of a kind. I know, a beadmaker should be resigned to production, to duplication of their efforts but I find it very hard to knuckle down to that. Too many new designs out there to discover!

So I've been experimenting with canes lately, trying to duplicate some beads that were a happen-upon design gift from the Muse and this has led me to re-read some parts of Donna Kato's latest book on canes.The virtue of having to re-create something you discovered by chance and didn't fully document is that you now have unlimited opportunity for creativity and to discover an even better way to do it. The first cane I think I ever did, which I liked because it didn't look like a cane, I learned from Kathleen Dustin at a workshop and found that DK's version is called the “Starry Night” cane, named for Van Gogh's picture. It's made from scrap and has a very random, disintegrated appearance. But the cane I was looking to duplicate had a bit more structure.

Well, not to leave you with a cliffhanger, but I haven't found The Missing Cane yet. Here are some examples of recent work and what can happen if you leave yourself open to the possibilities. These will be up on my Etsy site this weekend.

Have a happy and creative weekend, even if you're spending it in the garden!

1 comment:

  1. these are lovely, christine! i have that book, too, and want to give it a try. nice job. i love the colors. =)