Simple Blend with Inclusions: The Saga Continues


Completed Blend at setting 1

Well, I left you hanging the other day with the first part of this tutorial. Writing these things is work! Here’s part two. Please keep in mind that I am the queen of imperfect canes. I really never did get the hang of being neat in my work, and honestly I kind of like an object that is less than perfect.

Here’s a recap of the first part of this tutorial: We started with a sheet of translucent clay, and spread a thin layer of inclusions (spices in my case) on it. We ran it through the pasta machine until the spices were evenly blended throughout. Then we laid thin sections of 2 opaque colors of clay halfway up the sheet of translucent, and ran this sheet through the pasta machine so that we ended up with the blend in the photo above.

Now, I wanted to make beads out of my cane, but I had a sheet of clay that was way too large and going in the wrong direction for a simple reduction. So here’s what I did:

Step Six: Run your sheet of clay through the machine again, starting with your stripes perpendicular to the rollers. In other words, the stripes should be up and down, not side to side. You will start at the thickest setting on your machine, and roll the sheet through each level for six levels. Here is the sheet I ended up with:


Rolled out to a six

Step Seven: Now cut your sheet into even sections across the stripes, with each section being approximately an inch and 1/2 deep. Stack these sections so they look like this:


Cut and stacked

Section 8: I like to call this technique “increasing” the cane, instead of “reducing” it. Some people call this plugging, which will make sense shortly. Take your stack of clay and start pushing in from the ends: yes, this is hard and probably won’t make sense until you’re done. It looks like this when I do it:


Ugly, ain’t it?

Here’s the direction you should be pushing, only do it on both ends (I had to use one hand to hold the camera).


Push it baby.

Remember to pick up the “plug” from time to time, since you want all the clay to move in towards the center, not just the sides. Eventually the plug will get thicker:


Getting there

Now you’re getting the idea. You want to end up with a nice square block like this:


I told you I was no good at precise.

Now you can reduce this just as you would a regular square/rectangular cane. Reduce it so the stripes run lengthwise and you have the width you would like for whatever project you have in mind. In my case, I wanted to make some log shaped beads. My cane ended up being about 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch wide:


I mean it, I’m really bad at perfect.

My beads ended up like this:


Look at all those little specks – nice way to do inclusions Ann!

And there you have it. I would love to hear from folks about this. If you try the tutorial, let me know if it makes sense. Leave comments or questions below, or you can email me at Hope you have fun!



2 thoughts on “Simple Blend with Inclusions: The Saga Continues

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