Putting together a pleasing color palette and effective patterns is just half of what will make a good cane true art. The cane itself is just part of your art supply stash until it is sliced and applied to a form or shaped. Now don’t get me wrong; I believe caning is an art unto itself! So is gem carving, fabric design, leather tooling, and film special effects. But like these specialized trades, cane work is a component of something else that will make the detailed designs involved really shine. It is part of a bigger piece.
That is why the application and finish of the cane is so important. You wouldn’t want to see an expertly faceted ruby in an uneven base metal setting or a gorgeously woven damask made into a dumpy house dress. A cane is actually very much like a gem or printed fabric. The design of the cane should determine the application and finish it receives. A delicately detailed kaleidoscope cane should be perfectly set and finished smooth while a goofy face cane can be sliced in a large chunk and strung with big funky beads.
Let’s look at how Carol Simmons applies her very detailed and near flawless cane veneers on these simple cuff bracelets. Simple the type of bracelet may be, but each cane is perfectly aligned, there is not one discernible seam, the edges are trimmed and smooth, and the surface has been buffed to a high gloss making for stunning pieces … far from simple or ordinary.
Whether you are a novice or have had many years of experience caning, you can learn so much about caning from following Carol’s blog. It’s really a must for all caning fans. (Check out her February posts! Fabulous insight on building canes from concept on through. Start at this link then scroll down to move to each successive post.)
Of course, Carol teaches fantastic classes on caning and her mokume gane work. I believe there are still some spaces left for some of the workshops at the Master Class Camp where she’ll be teaching along with an overwhelmingly impressive list of other artists in Maryland in a few weeks. She also has her 2014 European tour schedule up, so if you are on that side of the globe, do check out where she will be when, and get in on her wonderful, information-packed classes.