How to make a bargello cane out of Polymer clay Or…having fun with Clay cloth
I am sure there are many ways to create a bargello pattern with your clay. These are two of the ways I do it. One is making a cane and the other is making a sheet to use as a veneer.
Create two to three different skinner blends that compliment each other.
If you do not know how to make a skinner blend click here.
Once your skinner blend is done, fold it in half, like color to like color.
Then run it through your pasta machine on the thickest setting
You should then have a long stretched out thin skinner blend. If you want your blend to be less defined you can run it through the pasta machine on
Fan fold your skinner blend in 1″ or 2″ folds. Make sure you brayer out any air bubble between layers.
You will then have a blended rectangle
Another way you can make your stack is to cut it in 1 or 2″ pieces and then stack them one on top of the other in order. Such as I show here in the
The cut stack is shown below.
Slice your stack in slices approximately 3mm thick. Or the thickness of each “color” step in the blend.
Take the slices you just cut and line them back up…off setting the gradient as shown in the image below. You can offset them in any pattern you wish. This one is an arrowhead type pattern.
I chose to make this a two blend bargello cane. As you can see I did the same to a purple blend then inserted it into the bottom of the green blend. Then I made the bottom smooth.
I took the part I removed from the purple blend and moved it to the top of the green blend allowing for the whole cane to be squared when reducing .
beginning the reduction process
A reduced slice of the cane sitting on a tissue blade.
Second way of creating a Bargello cane
I pretty much started out the same way. Deciding which colors I wanted to use to make my blend. Only this time I did not use the skinner blend to create the stack. This time I did it the old fashioned way. What is that you ask? Well lets see if I can explain it without making your eyes cross
I took two strips of the colors I wanted to use..in this case a beige and a periwinkle. I made the pieces the same size and then divided it as shown in the picture. I also made one piece of the beige and periwinkle of the same size of the blend pieces so I would have a solid color on each end. As you can see piece one has a little bit of the light and a lot of the darker color. This is how they made blended blocks before Judith Skinner came up with her method.
Once the mixtures are blended into each shade I then stacked them from dark to light as shown below.
Once I have my stack made I then make a base layer of the dominant color. I will use this sheet (on a thinner setting , 5or 6 on an atlas) to make the bargello veneer.
I then take the slices off the block, making them the thickness of the layers…using a marxit it is aprox 3mm (the thickness of the thickest setting on the PM). I then cut the slice into sticks such as you see laying on the sheet in the picture below.
I then lay out the sticks on the sheet just like I had laid out the slices for the bargello cane in step ten and eleven. Once I have done that I then use the brayer to secure them to the sheet and then run it through the PM on the thickest setting in both direction. It should not distort it too much. One way to eliminate the distortion is the make your sticks and slices thinner then the thickest setting on your machine.
Below are a few things I have made using both the techniques I have described. Happy Bargello-ing
I hope this tutorial has been helpful for you. If you have any questions please feel free to email me.
© Kathi Briefer-Gose June 2006