Wednesday, January 27, 2010

First Results from Celtic Canework Tutorial

One of my Christmas presents to myself was Sarah Shriver's DVD tutorial on Celtic Canes and Beads. First let me say that my first results don't look anything like Sarah's because I focused the results of the canes in some very different directions. I absolutely love her tutorials because she has very clear instructions and even diagrams that you can follow in order to get your proportions and placement of the different elements right the first time. Well, actually, I didn't get it right the first time. That did not stop me from getting some interesting results, however, just as my first explorations with her kaleidoscope canes turned out. It does get better with practice and review of the steps I somehow missed on the first viewing, but with Sarah's methods, even the mistakes turn out pretty, so it makes it easier to take chances and just let go and learn.

As you can probably tell from the accompanying photos, I was most intrigued by Sarah's instructions on how to include heart imagery in this canework, especially with the advent of Valentine's Day just around the corner. That is why I focused on her altered cane featuring a heart shape. The first piece features the heart cane as well as her celtic knotwork woven cane in a dainty bib-type pendant/neckpiece combined with coral, swarovski crystals and pearls woven through a sterling plated chain in order to continue the woven love knot theme and the red and white color scheme. The second piece used the heart canes again in two different sizes along with a checkerboard cane (not part of the tutorial) and some additional canes altered from the original knotwork cane from the tutorial. I think that the tiny cane border gives this piece a lacy look and plan to add magenta offray ribbon to finish the design. The third piece is a statement design which is my entry in the Pagans of Etsy Street Team monthly challenge "Turning of the Wheel". I made the heart cane into the central focus of this piece, added watch cogwheels, hands and watch face/crystal, placed that entire assembly into a polymer clay pocket watch frame bordered by the symbols for the signs of the Zodiac, and carved the edges to continue the cogwheel/timepiece theme, and added two chains woven into each other--one has large circles to repeat the "wheels" theme of the pendant and the other has victorian scrollwork to repeat the Steampunk flavor of the pendant.

You can vote for the "Always Time for Love on the Wheel of the Year" necklace at starting on February 6 and see the other great entries for this challenge.

I still have a lot of the base cane left so there will be more creations and explorations of this cane. I want to pursue further the idea of repeating symbols along with the knotwork/weave and would like to incorporate some of the symbols of the Pennsylvania Dutch Hex signs used on barns and jewelry, because I believe they would lend themselves well to polymer clay. I have another tutorial from another artist, Jana Roberts Benzon, which incorporates folk symbols into kaleidoscope canes so further study of both of these experts and their techniques should yield enough knowledge to help me explore this area in greater detail.

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