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Rainbow Millefiori Cats (b.31 December 2009)


On Hogmanay, I decided to have another go at some millefiori techniques. Here, I took a simple checkerboard pattern and turned it into a rainbow patchwork quilt pattern.

I selected six bright rainbow colours (I decided to leave indigo out to keep more of a distinction between blue and violet), and then after conditioning, I rolled out each on the thickest setting of the pasta machine. After trimming each sheet to the same dimensions, I cut the first sheet in half and stacked it on top of the other half, to made a double thickness (5mm) of the same colour. I repeated this for the remaining colours.

Then I marked off 5mm blocks for each sheet, so that when cut, I would be left with six small square logs of each colour. Then I followed an idea I saw in Kato's book - I started by putting a log of each colour in a row. Then for the next row, I started with the next colour along (ie orange), and finished the row with red. I repeated this until I had used up all the logs, and it created a diagonal chequerboard rainbow pattern. I forgot to take a picture of the finished cane, but here's a picture of a similar cane pictured in Kato's book.

The finished cane was 3cm square, and I then reduced this down to about 2cm by lightly rolling each side with a brayer. It was a little difficult to keep the outside blocks completely square. Once reduced, I cut thin slices from it and applied them to a core of scrap clay. I made the smaller cat first and you can see on the that I placed the slices in such a way as to create a larger rainbow diamond effect, rather than keep the straight diagonal pattern. I placed the cane slices more randomly on the larger cat.

Because the slicese square and quite large, placing them so that they covered a cylindrical clay core neatly and completely was a little challenging. So I decided to introduce an element of randomness to the procedure by lighting rolling each covered core of clay in my hands, which both distorted the cane slices and blended them together. I love the effect this achieved, as it moved away from the precise geometric pattern into some much more fluid and funky.

The tall cat stands 5.5cm tall and the smaller cat is just under 4.5cm. One of my tasks before going back to work is to sort out my Folksy shop, so these may well make an appearance there!

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