Someone asked me recently about how to create the "floating" or translucent canes that are often done in polymer clay.
Some of the more common canes made this way are flower canes. Slices of those canes are then placed over plain clay or patterned clay (sometimes overlapping) to create a complex "flower garden" look, but these canes don't have to be flowers and they don't have to applied in multiples.
So here are some examples
of the results, an explanation of basically what's going on with these canes, as well as links to lessons on how to make them, and answers to some of her questions about specific canes she'd seen:http://home.centurytel.net/tkaylen/flowerstuff.jpghttp://www.polymerclaycentral.com/swap_flower2004.htmlhttp://home.centurytel.net/tkaylen/flower.htmlhttp://www.polyclay.com/flowercanes.jpghttp://gallery.gundo.com/gallery/Translucent-Caneshttp://kathleendustin.com/gallery/archive/heart.php
(the white stripes and spirals too)
So these kinds of canes are known by various names-- "floating canes," "translucent canes," or
which is the name I gave them at my site because that best describes what they actually are.
(They've been around for about 5 years or so? --time slips by quickly so not sure how exact that is).
The basic method
is just to combine areas of translucent clay with areas of opaque clay (or at least with "regular" colors of clay) in the same cane.
Slices are then cut from the cane verrrrry thinly, and applied to a surface --usually a clay surface-- overlapping the slices if desired.
After baking, the translucent parts of the cane image should disappear (become transparent) which allows the colors of the original surface underneath to show through, but the opaque parts of the cane image will not
(There are a few other ways to tweak the process to get the very clearest results from the translucent clay as well--see below.)
The translucent clay may be used only to surround
a cane image that's been created as entirely opaque, or translucent may be used inside the image
as well as surrounding it, or parts of the cane might be created as "tinted translucents" (but still basically translucent).
These translucent-opaque canes may be geometric shapes (spiral canes or stripe canes, etc) or they may be picture canes (flowers, leaves, or anything).
...just a few that I really would like to figure out how to do!
Here are some details about the examples you linked to:
This leaf cane doesn't have an added background of any kind, so it could have translucent added around it to become a "translucent-opaque" cane (probably round or square cane then).
Or it could be used as is (and sliced without distortion because its shape is simple, especially if cooled first).
Or it could be combined as is with other canes to make a more complex cane.
Looks like this leaf was made with an "ikat" method, but could have been other ways too:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/canes--instructions.htm
> Layers > Striped > Ikat
This opaque flower cane has had translucent added all around the image (and not inside it).
The petal cane for making the flower cane was probably made with a splice or flame cane technique, using wedges
> Other Symmetrical Geometric Canes > Wedges
This opaque butterfly cane has had translucent added all around the image.
The technique for this type of wing cane is primarily using "bullseye" or "wrapped" canes pressed together in various ways and sizes --in this case, the canes use Skinner blends rather than solid colors:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/canes--instructions.htm
> Wrapped > Bullseye
There are a few butterfly canes in the Bullseye Canes section of that Canes-Instructions page too, but there are probably many more of them on this page:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/sculpting_body_and_tools.htm
> Wings (>Caned Wings
> Continuous blends (Skinner blends
> Bullseye Logs
This pic shows a bead which has had many translucent-opaque slices added on top of a raw pink clay heart shape, and some of the slices are overlapping. In this case, none of the canes had used translucent clay inside the images, only surrounding the images. http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/canes--instructions.htm
> Translucent-Opaque Canes
canes will be covered probably both in the Flowers
and the Translucent-Opaque
categories on that page, if you're interested in making those)
And there's lots of info on these two pages as well on cutting translucent canes and using translucents in general to get the clearest results from them:http://www.glassattic.com/polymer/Canes--general.htm
> all the subcategories under Cutting Caneshttp://www.glassattic.com/polymer/translucents-glow.htm
> Clearest Results
Any more questions, just ask!