October 2002
Volume 3, Issue 10
Gertsch Feather Cane
by Jean Sheppard
Jean's Photo Gallery
Adobe Acrobat version

Editor's Letter | Letters to the Editor | Questions and Answers | Tere Perry | Gertsch Feather Cane | Bead Box | Delft Effects in Polymer Clay | Face Cane: Cheeks and Nose | Insight and Inspiration | October Holiday Art | Email Us! | Home

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I learned how to make this cane in a class taught by Susan Bradshaw and sponsored by the South Bay Polymer Clay Guild. This history of this cane is communal: Tom Jeffrey was initially inspired to create this cane after viewing art created by Linda Gertsch (December 1998 issue of Jewelry Crafts magazine). Tom later demonstrated how he creates this cane at a South Bay Polymer Clay Guild Meeting.

Susan Bradshaw was also inspired, and she taught a class that included the Basic Feather cane, a Peacock Feather cane, and a Feather Cane made with old canes. The version of the Peacock Feather cane in this tutorial has been modified by 'yours truly'... :).

I would like to give credit and thanks to all of these wonderful artists (Linda Gertsch, Tom Jeffrey, and Susan Bradshaw) for their inspiration. I would also like to extend great thanks to Sunni Bergeron, who converted my crude directions and pictures into a work of art and the polymer clay artists who tested the tutorial and provided valuable input: Kellie Robinson, Tania McCulloch, Tonja Lenderman and Sunni Bergeron. If you would like to view some truly exquisite art created using the forerunner of the Feather cane, please consider visiting the web site of Grove and Grove.

Supplies

  • 3 ounces Color A (I used Premo Purple)
  • 3 ounces Color B (I used Premo Turquoise mixed with equal amount of Premo white)
  • 1 ounce Color C (sheet - I used 3 parts purple and 1 part black)
  • 1 ounce Color D -- optional (I used Premo Fuchsia mixed with 2 parts of Premo White)
  • Pasta machine or something to roll with
  • Tissue blade or something to slice with
  • Brayer (optional) to flatten with
  • Clean work surface
Click on image to enlarge
Step One:
Set up your colors for a Skinner blend and blend them together. To learn how to do a Skinner blend, go to the Polymer Clay Central's Skinner Blend tutorial.

I wanted equal size bands of the two edge colors and the central blend color, so I set up the color overlap to be narrow, and not extend to the corners of the clay sheet.

Click on image to enlarge
Step Two:
Starting at the "foot" of your finished blend, roll it up into a log, with the dark color on one end (left side in this picture) and the light color on the other end (right side of picture).

Click on image to enlarge
Step Three:
Take care when rolling it up to avoid trapping air bubbles in it.

Click on image to enlarge
Step Four:
Place your hands at each end of the log and roll it back and forth, pressing your hands so they move in toward the middle. This will end up shortening your log and making it into a short, fat plug.

It takes some time to do this without having the cane fold over on itself, so be patient and work at it slowly.

Click on image to enlarge
Step Five:
Press down on the shortened cane (now affectionately called a ' plug') with either your hands or your brayer to flatten it into a thick cube shape, and then square up the sides.

Part Two

Editor's Letter | Letters to the Editor | Questions and Answers | Tere Perry | Gertsch Feather Cane | Bead Box | Delft Effects in Polymer Clay | Face Cane: Cheeks and Nose | Insight and Inspiration | October Holiday Art | Email Us! | Home

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