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Starry Night Cats (b.19 December 2009)

I've been wanting to experiment more with canework of late, and I recently bought a copy of Donna Kato's The Art of Polymer Clay: Millefiori Techniques. I can't say I'm a great fan of her designs, and her self-promotion throughout the book can be a little OTT at times (she is the Donna Kato of Kato Polyclay) but there's no denying that her techniques are superb and I'm bursting with ideas!

I first played around with the Starry Night Cane, so called because it reminds Kato of Van Gough's famous painting of the same name. I chopped up some scrap clay containing colours of brown, black and white. Kato suggests using a food processor for this, but I used a tissue blade and spent several minutes chopping the scrap clay into tiny pieces. I then pushed the pieces back together, rolled it out a few times, then fed it through the pasta machine at the thickest setting. I then cut the sheet in half, laid one half on top of the other and fed it through the machine again. I repeated this a few times, then cut the sheet in half, and then in half again, stacking each half on top of the other, forming a tall stack I then shaped into a square.

I then cut and reshaped the cane a few times to give a more random pattern, and then applied thin slices to a clay core and blended them to create a seamless veneer. I love the resultant effect! It looks almost like fur, and I can see many uses for it in the designs I have planned. This cane technique is quite similar to how I achieved the Jungle Army Cat effect, but it is good to take it to the next level. Watch this space for more exciting experiments with canework!

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