I have been asked quite a few times in the last few days exactly what caning is. In terms of polymer clay, it is putting together a block of uncured clay in some kind of a design or pattern that runs throughout the block, and can be cut into slices, then cured.
In most cases, the slices are quite thin, and put on something to decorate it. Such as the little vase I made over the weekend.
A number of polymer clay artists forms their slices into pendants. One can add jump rings to them, pin-backs, bails and other things to make it easier to attach them to jewellry such as necklaces, earrings, keychains and lots more.
Now here are 3 excellent artists on Etsy.com that truly show how beautiful canes can be. This first one is by yonatdascalu who offers an excellent tutorial in how to make a gorgeous Rose Cane. Just look how lifelike and realistic that rose is! A definate must have for those who want to see how to create a gorgeous cane! Just click on the picture and it will take you to the listing and while you are there, be sure to check out her other listings!
This next one is by PolymerClayCreations. I do so love purple! PolymerClayCreations offers many different canes that you can choose from. These are all raw canes, and you can slice them, cure them, and make your own jewelry! Again, just click on the picture to go to this listing, and browse her shop to see all the other amazing canes and awesome creations made by using them!
Now, this third one is truly a work of art. There are numerous little tiny slices of different canes creating this piece. Created by divadea, you simply must go to the actual listing to be able to see it clearly. Simply gorgeous! Can you just imagine how much time it took to apply each individual slice so carefully? Wow!!
If you were to look up try to look up polymer clay cane in Wikipedia you would find it quite difficult to find a definition of the process. So I did a quick search for polymer clay. About half way down the page they put in this information:
"Forming "canes," which are logs of clay with patterns running through their entire length, from which identical slices can be cut and used in various ways. The patterns created in canes can be simple, complex, or anything in between; they may be pictorial or simply geometric. Canes (and therefore their images) can be "reduced" so that they become quite small, and then combined to make multiple images (millefiori)."
To see the entire page, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polymer_clay I am sure you will find lots of useful and interesting information.
For myself, I recently purchased the book "The Art of Polymer Clay MIllefiori Techniques" written by Donna Kato. It is an excellent book, and very helpful for those who wish to learn more about this particular style of working with clay.
Other books by Donna Kato are "The art of Polymer Clay" and " The Art of Polymer Clay Creative Surface Effects" (another book I have and dying to read). In Fact, Donna Kato has partnered with Van Aken International to produce Kato Polyclay, her own line of products. I do believe I am going to try out Kato Clay very soon!