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Klimt Millefiori Cat (b.29 December 2009)

As you know, I've been keen to try out more millefiori techniques, and on this occasion, I wanted to try out what Kato calls the Klimt cane technique, after the artist, Gustav Klimt, because of his trademark circles within squares. Although this looks like quite a complicated pattern, it is really quite straightforward. The cane works on the basis of what happens when you extrude clay using a clay gun with a square die.

I selected eight random colours, ranging from pinks and reds through to beige and brown, and then rolled them into logs, making them as close to the diameter of the barrel as possible. I then cut slices from each cane, approximately 3mm thick, and stacked those slices together in a new log. I kept the colours random, but tried to make sure I kept constrasting colours next to each other.

Once the composite log was complete, I rolled it lightly again to make sure it would fit snugly inside the clay gun. It took a bit of trial and error to get the right diameter, and I had to resize the log a couple of times. (As I found out, it's important to make sure the slices have adhered to each other before putting the log into the barrel, as it's sometimes necessary to pull it out again to get it to the right diameter.)
Once the log was in place, I used a square die and extruded all the clay. Because of the force used to extrude the clay through a small aperture, this resulted in concentric circles of different colour clay being framed in a square log. The outside of the log pretty much kept the same colour of the first disc of coloured clay (purple in this case), which I found to be quite amazing. I'm looking forward to experimenting with different shades of clay and different shapes of die to see what other effects I can come up with.

I cut the resultant very long, thin, square cane into 16 equal lengths, and stacked each length on top of each other in four rows of four, flipping some of them over so the pattern was different from adjacent lengths. Then I lightly rolled this square cane with a roller to adhere the blocks together, and cut thin slices to cover the core of scrap clay. Because the cane is quite large, it was easy to do large areas of the cat, but filling in the small gaps using single squares reshaped to fit was a bit more fiddly.

A light sanding down and a couple of coats of satin varnish finished him off, and now Klimt Millefiori Cat stands at 5.5cm tall, proudly showing off his fine multi-coloured coat!

Update: On New Year's Day, I made a Roly Poly Klimt Millefiori Cat to join his big brother using what was left of the cane. He measures 2.5cm all round and he wants to grow up to be 5.5cm tall too!


  1. Well it sounds very complicated to me!!

    He looks stunning!

  2. Love the tall Klimt catty-you can really see the colours-well done Kirsten :)

  3. Thanks very much for all your lovely comments! I'm having lots of fun experimenting with extruded clay!