To those of you who read my previous post, welcome back! As promised, here are the steps I used to construct my Behold! cane.
1. To make my Skinner blend, I roll out sheets on the thickest setting of my Atlas pasta machine (#1). These sheets are approximately 4”x6”/ 10.6x15.24cm in size. I will use a smaller amount of the blue clay in my blend, as you can see in the next photo.
2. I cut, stack, and arrange my 3 colors to look like this. My Skinner blend will be made from this slab, which is approximately ¼”/6.35mm in thickness.
3. I fold the clay slab in half, and flatten it out so it will fit through my pasta machine more easily. I then proceed to make the blend.
4. Here is my Skinner blend after approximately 20 passes through the pasta machine.
5. After trimming the ends, I roll up the Skinner blend across the colors to form a log shape. The log is compressed and reshaped to make a square block or ‘plug’.
6. Here the block has been flattened and stretched so I can fit it through the pasta machine on the #1 setting.
7. This is what the sheet looks like after it has gone through the pasta machine. I divide this strip into 1”/2.5cm segments, then stack the segments to make a block shape.
8. The segments are stacked, and I compress this rectangle to make it more of a square. I also trim the sides to make them neat and even.
9. This square will be cut in half from corner to corner to make 2 triangles.
10. The 2 triangles are cut in half to make 4 triangles.
11.The pieces are arranged as shown in the above photo. Notice that the color bands are now diagonal. This square is reduced to a length of approximately 2”/5cm. Then it is reshaped to form a 3/4"/19mm x 1"/2.5cm rectangle.
12. Once my rectangle is made, I slice it from corner to corner, following the line where the light and dark colors meet. I scrape off any dark clay that remains on the light side (and vice versa) using my clay blade.
13. My 2 triangular pieces are cut in half as shown in the photo to make 4 triangles.
14. I stand up my triangles with the longest side on the bottom. Then I wrap each triangle (but not the bottom!) with a very thin (Atlas #6) sheet of blue clay.
15. Now the triangles are arranged as shown above to form a square, but are not pressed together. In the center is a small “tilted” square hole. Note that the unlined sides of the triangles face outward to form the sides of the square.
16. The square is now pulled apart, and a square log (I used the green clay) is inserted to fill in the center square hole, checking both ends of the cane to make sure it fills it completely.
17. I press the pieces of the cane together and make sure there are no gaps between the pieces. Then the cane is wrapped with a #6 sheet of blue clay. This cane will now be reduced to a ¾”/19mm square approximately 3”/7.6cm in length.
18. Behold ! , the finished cane !
19. Here I have taken a piece off the base cane, reduced it, and reassembled it to make a 9-patch square. Note that the little green center squares are all tilting in the same direction.
I realize the steps are a bit complicated. Most of the difficulty was in making a Skinner block with diagonal striping. If anyone out there has an easier technique to accomplish this, I would love to hear it. I did a search on the ‘net, but the only instructions I found for diagonal Skinner blends were those that resulted in a cane that shifts colors as you slice it. One example is Beth Kazze Curran’s “Rainbow in a Cane” lesson featured in the October 2008 issue of Polymer Cafe. And I wanted my diagonal blend to go all the way through the cane and not shift color.
Anyway, that’s it, folks ! Next time I will more careful in choosing a cane design based on mathematical principles, LOL !