My chosen Skinner blend colors. As usual, they are mixed colors I happened to have on hand.
The sheets are cut and arranged prior to blending. I like to experiment with different configurations, but usually separate the complimentary colors (yellow and purple here)
The resulting blend is rolled across all the colors like this.
The rolled log is about 6.5″ long and about 3/4″ in diameter. This will now be compressed to form a ‘plug’
I roll towards the center to shorten and thicken the log.
At this point the ‘plug’ is about 2.5″ long and 1.5″ in diameter.
I stand the ‘plug’ up on my work surface and shape it into a rectangle.
Then I lay the rectangular plug down on my work surface and use my hands to stretch it vertically. I try to maintain a width of about 1.5″ from the yellow end to the purple.
Once my Skinner strip is long and thin, I roll it through the pasta machine on the thickest setting.
The strip looks like this after it has gone through the pasta machine I trim and smooth the ragged edges
I then roll a strip of black clay (very thin setting, #6 on my Atlas machine) the same length as the Skinner strip, and place the strip on top. Watch out for air bubbles !
I trim the excess black clay, then place another thin sheet of black clay on top, and trim again. The result is a colored strip between two thin sheets of black clay.
The strip is cut into equal pieces about 1.5″ in length. I wound up with 8 pieces.
I now proceed to build my clay ‘staircase’ by staggering each piece about 1/4″ from the previous one.
I then begin to shape the ‘staircase’ into an elongated semicircle. Note that the color on the bottom will be on the inside of the feather, so plan accordingly !
I stood up the semicircle here so you can better see the ‘half-feather’ shape.
The semicircle is cut in half (but don’t put the halves together yet !)
Place a very thin sheet of white (#6-#7 thickness on the Atlas) on one of the cane halves, about 2/3 the length of the cane.
The two halves are mirrored. Note the white ‘vein’ in the center.
I reduce the cane by standing it up on my work surface, and pinching and squeezing towards the center and upwards.
When the cane starts to ‘move’, I start pulling on it to make it taller. I try to maintain the feather shape as I do this.
The cane is now reduced. I took slices of it at various stages of the reduction process.
Here’s a closeup of the cane. I’m pleased with the colors, although I would’ve liked more yellow in the center.
Here’s another cane made using the same method, but a ‘fall leaves’ color palette.
Closeup of the ‘fall leaves’ feather cane.
Here I have reshaped the cane to make a leaf by elongating the base so it looks like a stem.
Here are the two canes side by side; they are 4-5″ in length, and about 1″ from base to tip.