Posted by: doras_explorations | June 23, 2009

Cane Colors Chosen, Now I Need a Pattern!

  Recently, I asked my readers to help me choose a color palette for my next “Cane of the Week” feature.  Last Wednesday the votes were tallied, and the winning palette is-drum roll, please !- Dark denim blue, pale butter yellow, and lime green.  I was a bit surprised that it was chosen by a wide margin (50% of the total votes).  I had predicted that the turquoise, brown and ecru combination would take first place, since blue paired with brown has been a popular trend lately, especially in interior design.    But what do I know, I don’t work for Pantone !

     Anyway, now that the colors have been chosen, the next step is to recreate these three colors in polymer clay.  My approach to color mixing is normally quite haphazard.  I mix colors from leftover clay scraps to make various shades of  ‘cool tones’ (purples, blues, and greens), and ‘warm tones’ (yellows, oranges, red, and browns).  Some pinks are cool (like magenta and rose pink), some pinks are warm (such as coral and ‘bubblegum’).  I store my color mixes in clay sheets rolled up like a burrito in plastic deli film.  The problem with this system is that I can’t duplicate the colors since I have no idea what colors I mixed together !  This time, I  mixed the colors using a set formula so I can recreate them if I run out of clay and also to provide my readers with better directions than ‘you mix a little of this with a bit little of that’, LOL!!!!   Here is a photo of the color palette, with proportions shown:

I used Fimo Soft clay in the following shades:  for the dark denim blue, I used 12 parts Brilliant Blue, 1 part black, and 1 part white;  for the lime green, I used 3 parts Lime Green (of course!) and 1 part Tropical Green;  for the pale butter yellow, I used 10 parts white and 1 part Sunflower Yellow.  These colors can obviously be made with other brands of clay (eg, Premo, Kato Clay) using similar colors and proportions.  For example Fimo Soft ‘Sunflower Yellow’ looks very much like Premo ‘Cadmium Yellow’. Premo’s ‘Ultamarine Blue’ can be substituted for Fimo Soft ‘Brilliant Blue’. although the Ultamarine Blue is more saturated so additional white might be needed to make the denim color.  What matters more is the proportion of colors used.   Another important consideration is the value (lightness and darkness) of the colors.   There should be sufficient contrast between the 3 colors, with the blue being dark, the lime green being medium in value, and the pale yellow being very light.  Experiment with small amounts of clay first to get the colors you want.  I use a small square Kemper cutter to cut equal sized pieces of clay so I know the precise amount of each clay I need to make the targeted color.

    So the colors have been chosen, the colors have been mixed, and now it’s time to make the cane !   For the next day or two I will look though my many art, design, and jewelry making books for inspiration, and visualize patterns while I’m on the treadmill or elliptical machine.  For some reason, I get my best design ideas when I’m at the gym !  You would think that this would make me want to go to the gym more often, but it doesn’t, LOL !

    Hopefully I can get  my ‘cane brain’ in gear and I will post a tute in the next week….so stay tuned !



  1. Yea! I voted for this color scheme. Thank you for showing the color components. I understood the process much better from seeing than reading.

    Can’t wait to see what kind of pattern you come up with. I was thinking maybe a flower-inspiration (summer theme) but what flowers are denim blue?

    Will stay tuned for the tutorial.

    PS Thanks for your recent comments on my Flickr stream. I have high regard for your creative work so it’s a treat to see your name at my pictures.

    • Hi Kathleen ! Glad you checked out my blog. I still haven’t decided on a pattern for the cane…I went on-line and looked at pictures of mandalas, logarithmic spirals, even molecules and viruses (the disease kind, not the computer kind !) to get some design inspiration.
      So now I have to let the images float around in my head…..until somthing ‘sticks’ !

  2. Hi Dora,
    I complete forget which color scheme I voted for! lol Middle aged cottonhead…. Anyway, I do love this color scheme and think it’s very summery looking.
    I’m still in beginner’s mind at the gym where I have to pay attention to the reps but I know what you mean about ideas coming to you when you’re engaged in some sort of rhythmic activity. It must be that meditative state that we enter into when we do it. For me, it’s walking or vacuuming or showering or driving a well known route.
    Can’t wait to see what you create with these beautiful colors!
    Oh, you know what else is really cool for pattern ideas? Looking at fractal images. I could get lost in some of those.

    • Hi Karen ! Oh, that’s so funny that you get great ideas in the shower too ! That’s one of my favorite places to ‘visualize’ ! Fractal images are indeed inspiring, I have looked at quite a few the past two days, as well as radial and spiral tilings. One of the best places to look at geometric designs is on math websites, can you believe it? Of course, the mathematical formulas are totally incomprehensible to me, LOL ! I think I have my cane design chosen, but I want to do a trial run before I post the steps.

  3. Very nice explanation of color mixing Dora! Great palette. Can’t wait to see the cane design you come up with at the gym. Do a lot of good thinking at the YMCA myself. An excellent place to shut out distractions and really think!

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