Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Scrap Cane Mosaic or What to do with lots of little pieces of canes leftover from previous projects

Cane slices are just too pretty to waste.  Even ones cut unevenly or otherwise badly cut. One of my favorite activities is saving all these little pieces of discarded cane slices for use for another project.

To start what I like to call my scrap cane mosaic, I like to choose a neutral color clay, such as black, white, or gray as my backing.  I sheet this usually at the thickest or next to thickest setting on my pasta machine and create a nice square or rectangle.

Then the fun begins!!  Choosing this piece and that piece of cane, I begin lining them up on the backing sheet according to what makes me happy.   I try to cover as much of the backing sheet as possible so that it is almost entirely made of the cane slices.  If the scrap slices I am working with are really uneven, I might put several of them together first and roll them to get a more even surface before applying them to the backing sheet of clay.  Sometimes I just pinch/spread them with my fingers to get them all about the same evenness.  

But, I don't worry about them being perfect!!!  This is fun, remember??!!!!!   It just might mean there is more dimension in some spots on my beads than others and that can be cool.  Sometimes if I am also using scraps from a previous mosaic cane that has already been cut in beads, I will take the cut out scraps and trim them with a blade or X-acto knife to have neater edges or fit the spot I want to put them in.  I realize pictures would be helpful here and will add them if I remember to take ones next time.  I get so intense once I get started - oooo, it's hard to stop and take a picture.

Once everything is in place, I cut away any excess backing so as to save it for future use and then use my acrylic roller to lightly hand roll everything into place.  Then, I take a Yo Clay texture sheet and put one on each side of the clay and roll it through the thickest setting on my pasta machine.  This adds texture to both sides.  

Sometimes, at this point, if I want a thicker bead,  I sheet more backing clay, texture it the same way and add it to the backing clay that has been covered with the cane scraps before cutting bead shapes.  Sometimes I just wait until I cut and cure the beads to make them thicker.  The reason is that sometimes I want to layer beads on top of one another and I would rather use thinner beads to do that.

The final step before curing is to cut your shapes.  I have lots of different templates I use to create shield beads, circles, squares, and other shapes.  I like cutters that are open in the middle so you can see the pattern the bead will have.  

For example, Cool Tools has lots of these such templates.  Or you can get individual cutters which I actually like best.  

And here are some of the canes from which I have used the scraps.  

Note that cane just right above my name is a scrap cane I made by combining left over scraps of colored clay.

Here are some results of mixing these various cane slices together.

Try it,  You'll like it!

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