Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Cane Designs - The Owl Cane!

Owl Cane   Everyone loves Owls!  In designing this, I was going back to the basics I teach in my student art classes - to break down what you're drawing into simple components. Squares, circles, cones, rectangles - they all make up the building blocks of the complex images we view every day. So I thought, "hmm, how about looking at caning that way. Using your simple basic canes to make up larger components to give it detail." There many very simple canes used to make this very complex cane and it's helping me to think of other images that I can translate to clay in this manner. I feel like I've just started something. =)  I was extremely tickled at the response on Facebook and Elaine Robitaille even shared my cane Craft Gossip yesterday!  Thank you, everyone!
  I started out with a sketch in a 8x10" gridded notebook which I keep for all my polymer designs.  You can see my chicken scratches on my sketch below.  lol  I had an idea for colors and what the individual canes would look like.
Owl Cane design layout  Next I made some simple calculations using my drawing to determine how much clay I'd need for each cane.  I'm currently writing up a detailed article on this process because it's extremely helpful in planning your cane and - with a few more calculations - determining how much you need to reduce your image size to get a small cane that's easier to reduce.
  Building the individual canes that went into the larger cane came next.  Here is a photo of all the canes.  I used a feather cane, a shape-changing cane, a ikat swirl cane, and a couple of canes that were skinner blends with simple details cut into them.  The eye was a bullseye cane with a sliver removed and replaced with white, surrounded by other details.Building Block Canes  And finally the beak and claws were just a simple skinner blend with either nostrils cut in or wrapped in black and stacked.  You can see how each was then reduced and laid into the design in my cane before reduction below.  Now, the hard part - what to create with it?  Any suggestions?
  On a personal note - it's been a LONG month.  I was hoping to get back to my blog within a week a moving, but plans change.  I got sick with that nasty flu bug that's been hitting the Dallas area a few days before the move.  I was getting better when Mountain Cedar rolled in and - though I've never had allergies of note - I was run down and it hit me hard.  I'm still recovering from a sinus infection, a bit of bronchitis, and conjunctivitis in my eyes.  Being sick has always a craft vacation for me, but I couldn't see clear enough to work, which makes Deb a very unhappy camper.  I'm so glad to be on the mend!

Owl Cane


  1. He's wonderful Deb, as is this post detailing your process! Thanks for sharing! Glad you're feeling better! :)

  2. Thank you so very much, Beth! <3

  3. This fella is gorgeous! I made an owl cane in 2012 for a gift exchange, but had lots of issues as it was one of my first complex canes. Thanks for these pointers, Deb :)

    Would you mind if I shared your post at the PC Collective FB group? They go gaga over canes, and I believe recently one member asked specifically about owls. My email is in my Blogger profile. Thanks :)

  4. Thank you so very much, Monique! Sure, feel free to share with anyone - that's what I wrote it for. =)

  5. LOVE this beautiful creature and getting a glimpse of your design/thought process as well - thanks! I'm pretty new to caning and I find my biggest challenges are proportion & quantity - how big to make the individual components to get the effect I want in the reduced cane, and how much cane to *make* in the first place so I have enough in the end. so I'm greatly looking forward to your discussion on that kind of planning. Will you post it here? Or will it be published somewhere else?

    We have a nesting pair of great horned owls where I work - with three rapidly growing balls of fluff in the nest as we speak! - and there's an idea for an owl cane percolating in the back of my mind these days...now I'm really inspired to start making it a reality!

  6. Thank you, Caroline! I'm working on a pretty detailed article for a publication this fall. I'll be sharing more details about it once I have finished editing, submitting and everything is finalized. =) I'll probably be following up with some workshop plans as well - there had been a lot of interest in the whole planning process. Thanks again! *hugs*



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