Variations and Versatility of Polymer Clay Canes – Tribal Patterns

Tribal Cane Variations “Excellent cane, the possibilities with this tribal design are endless.” ~Jocelyn-C

Many of you have just gone through the video tutorial on How To Make A Tribal Cane. If you haven’t already, you may want to go check it out. Today, I want to discuss how versatile this geometric cane really is.

Pictured above are some examples of different canes, made from the components of the tribal cane. As you can see, there are a variety of possibilities.

Instead of forming an X in the center of the cane, the lines come together to form V’s or K’s. Reduced and combined in multiples, the canes can take on numerous personalities. Some even have, almost a basket weave pattern to them. And for quilters, you may develop a special appreciation for these geometric cane designs.

I love this tribal cane. Yesterday I looked for a quilt pattern that I could cane and never found one I liked. This is it! I didn’t see it as a quilt pattern until I watched you put it together. My head is spinning with ideas. ~Rose-M

This versatility is one of the things that makes polymer clay cane making so exciting. You are not restricted to only one design or style of bead. You can make absolutely tons of different beads that will compliment each other because their roots all stem from the same cane. Similar, yet different. Like a Mother and her children that follow.

In future posts, I will show you some examples of the many different beads that have been made with the Tribal Cane. I think you will be pleasantly surprised at just how much you can get out of a single polymer clay cane!

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  1. Susan B, 11 January, 2010

    I love geometric designs and this tribal cane looks like it has endless possibilities. I am still playing with the extruder flower (which is SO much fun) but will definitely have a go at this technique next.

  2. Jocelyn, 11 January, 2010

    Would sure use the x centerpiece to show off some cabs or stones in a piece. To me it screams for turquoise.

  3. Elizabeth S., 11 January, 2010

    Oh no! I turned on the computer this morning, my assembled four inch tribal cane in hand so that I could follow the final cutting and assembling instructions. Now mind you, it took me the better part of several hours to get it right. Imagine my pride when I finally ended up with something that looks like the cane in the tut. Then what do I see this morning? All these exquisite complex variations taunting me, teasing me, saying, “OK, you think you know how to do it now? Just watch this!” (Did you get the part where I said it took me a really long time to get the first one right? ) Anyway, back to the tut. “You’re going to cut the cane in half, the reassemble it so it looks like half an X…………” Have a great day, everyone.

  4. JoyceM, 11 January, 2010

    Good Morning,
    Versatility certainly applies to this tribal cane. It took me nearly all afternoon yesterday to accomplish this cane but it is done and I am happy with the results. Now to reduce it.

    Jocelyn, it shouted turquoise to me also. I am thinking a yellow and brown to separate the colors but I am still debating what the other colors should be. That will come probably when I least expect it. Something to look forward to.

    I love geometrics and have done some quilting so now I will have to check in that area of my crafts and see what designs pop out. Thanks, Cindy, for an awesome tut and as usual an infinite number of possibilities.

  5. Jocelyn, 11 January, 2010

    Turquoise is greenish blue, and the opposite of that on the color wheel is orangy-yellow. Think that cane can be inlaid with strips of any color.

    The base sawtooth also reminds me of the fabric work done by the Seminole Indian tribe in Florida. Colorful piecework, assembled into garments like lacework.

  6. Linda K., 11 January, 2010

    I don’t have a Makins extruder–yet–so I won’t be doing this cane for a while. It’s so hard to decide which to buy: extruder, more videos? extruder, more videos? LOL

    @ Jocelyn: I think this would be nice in SouthWest colors–aqua and peach. That’s just a lighter version of your turquoise and orangy-yellow.

    I also would like to make a simplified cane for an inlaid thick diagonal stripe in an oval pendant.

  7. Maureen, 11 January, 2010

    Haven’t tried this cane yet (so much for my New Years resolution!) but all these ideas are great.

    FYI for anyone who uses FIMO it is on sale this week at AC Moore for $1.00.

  8. Jayne Shankle, 19 January, 2010

    Cindy, Could you show us how to make beads or pendants with a torn blue jean look?

  9. Cindy Lietz, 31 January, 2010

    Thanks everyone for your comments! I like hearing all of your creative ideas.

    Are you speaking of something specific you have seen Jayne or are you hoping I would come up with something that looked like torn denim? Because it sounds like an interesting idea that I haven’t seen before.

  10. Jayne Shankle, 01 February, 2010

    Cindy, It isn’t anything I have seen but I think it could be popular with teens. I’d love to make some pendants with a torn, faded denim look. You are the polymer clay guru so, of course, I am hoping you will come up with something and teach the rest of us how.

    Every week I look forward to what new thing you are going to teach us. If you doubled your prices I would still be a member. Thank you so much for all of your time and effort. If you don’t come up with what I am hoping for in denim you are still the guru!!!!! :o) Jayne

  11. Joyce M, 01 February, 2010

    @Jayne Shankle: Jayne, I love your idea of making something with a torn, faded denim look. It would probably sell like hotcakes! I just know my teenage granddaughters would love such an item if it can be made and would love to learn to make this for their friends. A variety of shapes for the pendants that could be reduced for earrings might work wonders. Well, Cindy, I’ll be looking and hoping that you come up with something to satisfy Jayne. You always send us all scurrying back to our clay areas with new ideas to try.There’s just no end to possibilities here, such fun! Good fortune…

  12. Cindy Lietz, 01 February, 2010

    Now you girls have the gears in my brain turning! Have a couple ideas right now that I want to try to see if they work. There are a few ways something like this can be tackled. I will play around with a few different techniques and let you know what I can come up with. I agree, there is nothing cooler than an old pair of jeans. Re-creating that look could be a big hit!

  13. Phaedrakat, 01 February, 2010

    Oh, yes! I can kind of picture how to do something like that. You could use a sewing tool to make faux stitching (do a Google search for a tracing wheel, you’ll see what I mean.) That would be a super cute project! I think it’s a great idea–everyone likes denim!

  14. Phaedrakat, 01 February, 2010

    I still haven’t been able to make this tribal cane–I’m stuck with a cheap little metal extruder that is impossible to use (don’t have the strength.) I am going to have to order a Makin’s Ultimate (can’t find one on the shelves locally.) I really would love to try this technique. It could be done in lots of designs and color schemes, too. It doesn’t have to only be tribal (although that’s so very cool…) I love the beads Cindy made with the edge of her tribal cane in the video. If you don’t own it, the preview is at the link at the top of this page, or here:

    Another “great” by Cindy!

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