In the course of daily interactions, I’m often asked the default conversational question, “What do you do?”. I’ll admit I get a cheap thrill out of replying, “I teach millefiori complex caning.” That phrase alone weeds out those who really don’t care what I do, (which is most people). When they do show interest, I show them a couple of kaleidoscope cane photos and the reaction is always the same. “That’s SO complicated. That’s SO intricate. I could NEVER do that.” The thing is, complex caning is not complicated.

A kaleidoscope is a mandala. A mandala is made of the same two basic elements that comprise a complex cane:

Line and Fill.

Once the basic lines have been established, you’ll need to decide what kind of fill you want to make. Again, it’s not complicated because there are only three types of fill:

Bull’s Eye, Stripe and Spiral

A bull’s eye is a color wrapped with a line. We impart beauty and character to the bull’s eye by using shading (Skinner blends) and by adding lines within the shapes (like flowers).

A striped cane is two or more colors cut and stacked.

A spiral is two or more colors rolled up like a jellyroll.

The lines and fill can be multiplied, cut and recombined as many times as we wish. Simple then becomes complex to the eye.

In next week’s blog, we’ll make the basic shapes to create a mandala like the one shown below. Until then, be thinking of the ways you’d like to customize your cane. 

I’ll be using Souffle because It’s easy to condition and even easier to reduce; but you’re free to use Sculpey Premo, if you prefer.

Teresa Pandora Salgado