(Note: This post was updated by adding radial veneers on April 25, 2011. See end of post.)
I’ve experimented with the scale and intricacy of the cane, the amount of light/dark contrast, the shapes of the components and various color combinations. I’ve buffed some to a high gloss and left others with a soft matte finish.
I’ve focused on eggs because I enjoy the challenge of covering an ovoid form with square cane slices, but veneers can be used to create patterned designs on objects of all kinds.
Patterned wood veneers have been used for decorative purposes throughout history. The earliest examples were found in Egyptian tombs more than 4,000 years old.
Not long ago, I watched a short video on Japanese puzzle box construction. The artist fit blocks of different kinds of wood together to form simple geometric patterns when viewed from the top. He glued them together then took very thin slices off the tops of several different blocks and combined them in various ways to make to make new, more complex designs such as the designs on this puzzle box. In essence, this is a “shortcut” method of doing parquetry, the fitting together of geometric pieces of wood veneer to create a surface design. I was struck by its similarity to caning.
Of course veneers are used all the time by polymer clayers. Whenever we apply a slice or sheet of decorative clay over scrap clay, we are creating a veneer. My kaleidoscope pendants, for example, are caned veneers on top of scrap clay.
I began to think about using the same canes I had been using on eggs to create geometric veneers along the lines of parquetry. I began cutting and recombining the cane slices to create linear patterned veneers.
On the right is my first set of veneers; it is from the cane I used on the egg on the upper left of this page.
I’ve become a bit obsessed with creating the patterns and have not progressed to applying the veneers to any objects other than eggs; however, the possibilities are endless. See, for example, Cynthia Tinapple’s work on Polymer Clay Daily.
My cane slicer has simplified the process of producing patterned veneers, whether for eggs or anything else, because it allows blocks of of clay to be combined into patterns then recombined with other patterned blocks of clay to produce more complex patterns which can then be slice into very thin sheets of uniform thickness.
This discovery has been incorporated into my Tessellated Kaleidoscope Cane Veneers workshop. Now participants can choose to veneer boxes, pendants, bowls, and a variety of other objects as well as eggs with their leftover veneers.