December 2001
Volume 2, Issue 12
Video Review:
Precision Caning with Judith Skinner
by Deirdre F Woodward

Editor's Letter | Letters to the Editor | Beginners' Corner | Artist Interview: James Lehman | The Tools We Use | Video Review: Judith Skinner | Holiday Wish List | Using Paper Punches | Easy Greeting Cards | Christmas Candy Canes | Elements of Polymer Clay | Polymer Covered Push-Pins | Issues in the Crafting World | Email Us! | Home The recently released video by abba dabba Productions , Precision Caning with Judith Skinner, teaches viewers how to make a basic log cabin quilt cane, assemble it into a more complex quilt cane, and use slices of the cane to create earrings and pendants. In the video, Skinner demonstrates her now-famous "Skinner blend" and precise caning techniques.

The good: Judith Skinner is a very precise caner and instructor! In this video, she leads the viewer through a fairly complex caning construction process, with clear instructions and examples. Additionally, Skinner tosses in some neat tips and tricks, such as using brown paper as a work surface, and demonstrates a fantastic method for getting an exact color blend.

Included with the video are charts for creating the quilt cane. The charts, which are handy for other projects, are also available at the abba dabba Productions website. After constructing the cane, Skinner demonstrates another neat technique for making the cane slices appear to be rippling in the breeze. She also shows how to use up the scraps from the cane. Finally, the video ends with a nice touch: a gallery of Skinner's work.

The not-so-good: I thought this 88-minute video would never end. The presentation of the material was just too slow. Skinner was speaking slowly to begin with, and certain techniques, such as blending colors and cutting the clay, are explained, demonstrated, and then repeated -- in full -- every time they are used.

For instance, the cane reduction section is 12 minutes long. First Skinner reduces a fairly large cane down to a small cane, then she repeats the process with other canes two more times. Twelve minutes is a long time to watch someone reduce a cane.

Also, five minutes of the video are devoted to the use of the JASI Slicer, a tool which, while wonderful, doesn't need more than a minute or two to explain and demonstrate. Even the JASI website acknowledges that just a photo tells the whole story.

Additionally, I wasn't crazy about the quality of the production. The tape is grainy, and at least once I could hear noises -- someone talking? -- in the background. At $29.95, the video should be better quality.

The bottom line: Slow but precise, with a couple of neat tips thrown in along the way.