The 8 Laws of Caning by : Teresa Pandora Salgado

1.The Path to Zen:  Caning should be relaxing; so I bite the bullet and get the “worky” part out of the way in advance. Prepare your blends and logs before you start making components. It’s much easier to get your groove on if you don’t have to stop and make material.

2. Make it big: Start your complex cane with large simple canes. For example: You’re starting with a skinner blend jellyroll. Use two packs of each color for the blend. Roll half of the blended sheet with the light part on the inside and the other half with he dark part on the inside. Now you’ve got two different 4 oz canes, ready to go.

3. Not Never but Hardly Ever: You rarely need to wrap the components. Once an element is wrapped, your design possibilities are reduced. The canes create new motifs when combined side by side. You can always add lines in afterward where they are needed.

4. Wagon Wheels and Grids are Not Your Friend: Never wrap a triangular or square complex cane once it is complete. That’s an error I made many times and I see it with other caners every day. A triangular cane that has been wrapped resembles a wagon wheel rather than a kaleidoscope or mandala. A wrapped square or rectangular cane has images inside a grid. The magic of kaleidoscopic images happens when the sides of the triangles (or squares) meet to form a new motif. A line disrupts the flow.

5. Complex Simplicity: Even the most complex canes are made of only two things: Line and Fill. Look at your favorite canes to see how line and fill create the final result. Your cane design will improve immediately.

6. Dare to Deconstruct: The best way to understand cane elements and their relationship to one another is to take a screen shot, blow it up and print it. Then draw lines on it to section the image (like a pie). You’ll be able to see where the line and fill stops and starts, and how the cane went together.

7. Test for Contrast: Contrast is a key part of caning. No matter how carefully you’ve prepared your elements and how accurately you’ve constructed your cane, the details will be lost after reduction if there is insufficient contrast. Once you’ve selected the colors for your cane, make a small stack out of all the colors (about the size of a stick of gum). Roll it up into a spiral. Can you still see all the colors? Great. Now reduce it and keep checking it. You’ll soon know if the colors will work the way you want them to.

8. Take Your Time. Slow Down. Where’s the Fire? Etc: Cane making is not a speedy pursuit. Once your hot little hands have been in the clay for a while, the clay will soften. In fact, even if your hands are cold, the friction of conditioning and manipulating will soften the cane and make accuracy more difficult. Rest the components often; and, once the cane is assembled, avoid cutting it or reducing it for at least 4 hours. Overnight is ideal. It’s hard. I know.