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Floral Polymer Clay Pendant

Donna Kato uses her own "component caning" technique to craft a beautiful flower pendant.

Rather than caning a complete flower, try what Donna calls "component caning." All you need to know is how to make a single element — the petal. The leaf and the reed are also made the same way; the difference is color and the way the elements are shaped.

Materials and Tools:

Kato Polyclay: white, magenta, green, gold, black
clay-dedicated pasta machine
Kato Nublade
ceramic tile
acrylic rod or brayer
bamboo skewer

Steps:

1. For the skinner blend bullseye: Make a skinner blend using half a package of white and half a package of magenta.

2. Fold the sheet in half as if you were continuing the blend. Instead of placing the blended fold on the rollers, place the magenta edge on the rollers and roll through. Reset the machine to a medium thin setting and roll through again.

3. From the magenta edge, roll up tightly to the white. You now have a skinner blend bullseye with magenta in the center and white at the perimeter of the cylinder.

4. To make the petal: Stand the cylinder up on end. Using the Nublade, cut through, dividing it in half. Rotate the cylinder 90 degrees and cut through again. You have now cut four wedges.

5. Reshape each wedge, drawing the white clay from the perimeter toward the magenta center.

6. Place the wedges side by side. Squeeze and compress the pieces to form a square log. As you do this, the piece will elongate. You should now have a square cane with four magenta spikes.

7. Cut the square cane in half and press the halves together to form a cane with eight magenta spikes. Repeat once more to make a cane with 16 magenta spikes.

8. Round the cane by pinching the magenta corners together, turn the cane over and pinch the white corners together. The magenta pinch mark will be a reference point in the next step. Roll to smooth.

9. Roll a thin sheet of gold. Trim so that it is the same length as the cane. Line one edge of the gold sheet next to the magenta pinch mark. Wrap gold around and cut on the other side of the magenta pinch mark. The uncovered magenta is a reference stripe.

10. Reduce this petal cane to several diameters. Ideally, you want to reduce to a slightly smaller diameter than as appears in the finished piece.

11. Make the leaf and reed using two greens. For the first green, mix a quarter package of green and gold together. For the second green, mix a quarter package green, gold and black together. Make a skinner blend with these two green shades and finish as the petal, wrapping with gold.

12. To shape the petal cane, pinch along the registration mark to reshape to a teardrop.

13. To make the leaf cane: Pinch along the registration mark and then at the place directly opposite to reshape to an almond shape.

14. To make the reed cane: Shape a leaf cane and continue to thin and elongate one point of the leaf.

15. To create the floral scene: Remember, you will be working from the bottom to the top. The first thing you'll do is cut very thin slices from the reed and leaf canes. Place them on a sheet of gold rolled through the second thickest setting of the pasta machine. Do not overlay the slices. Roll over to imbed and smooth these canes into the base clay.

16. Cut thin slices from the largest of the flower petal canes. Arrange them and then roll them smooth with rod or brayer.

17. Cut thin slices from smaller flower petal cane. Arrange on the first ring of flower petals; then smooth them with rod or brayer.

18. When the scene is complete, trim with Nublade. Bake for 15 minutes at 275 F degrees.

19. To set the pendant: Roll a sheet of black through the second thickest setting of the pasta machine. Place the sheet on a ceramic tile. Place the cured piece on the black clay.

20. Roll a snake of black the same thickness as the cured piece. Wrap around the piece. Cut the ends to form a butt joint and smooth with fingers.

21. Using the Kato Nublade, trim the bottom and the sides of the black clay, cutting through both the base and the snake, leaving a small border of black.

22. Measure approximately 1/4 inch from each corner at the top of the pendant. Measure and mark 1/4 inch from the center of the top of the pendant. Using these marks, draw the hanging tab. With Kato Nublade, cut tab out, removing excess clay.

23. Roll the bamboo skewer in the tab. Bake skewer and all at 275 F degrees for an additional 45 minutes. When cool, remove the skewer. If you forget, just heat the pendant for a few minutes, then remove skewer. String on a ribbon or cord.

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