Needlepoint as Color Inspiration

Lately, I’ve had a lot of comments on these two kaleidoscope designs on my Facebook page. People particularly like the colors I used. Both of these designs came from the same master cane, a cane I call “Farewell to Spring” because I made it when the spring flowers were giving way to summer ones. Today, in mid-March I might have called it “Dreaming of Spring.”

"Fruit Drops" by Elian McCready

As with the Chinese embroidery, the color inspiration for the master cane was a textile; in this case this needlepoint pillow designed by Elian McCready. The design, called “Fruit Drops,” appears in “The Ehrman Needlepoint Book,” by Hugh Ehrman. I love looking at needlepoint books for both design ideas and color inspiration. An added benefit is that the shading of objects in needlepoint designs is simplified, which makes them readily translated into polymer clay canework.

This is the master cane I created (actually, these are slices of the cane components arranged on a piece of glass to represent the cane design, which is why there are discontinuities in the design). When I translate my color inspiration into canework I often increase the range of light/dark contrast as I did here so that the design components continue to be “readable” after the cane has been reduced.

I appropriated a couple of the images in the pillow (the blue-green leaves and the cherries) for in my cane design but I switched some of the colors around. I made the cherries in my cane the color of the darkest part of the central peach on the pillow, and used the colors of the cherries on the pillow for flowers in my cane.

These are some of the kaleidoscope pendants I created from the master cane. The color balance in the kaleidoscope designs differs from pendant to pendant depending upon which area of the master cane was used in the pendants.

Nevertheless, they are color coordinated because they share the same overall pallet.

This entry was posted in Caning, Color, Kaleidoscopes, Sources of Inspiration and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Needlepoint as Color Inspiration

  1. Sue Castle says:

    I love your canework. Thanks for sharing your color inspiration. Smiles

  2. Lyn says:

    The cane is marvelous. How long does it take to make one master cane?

  3. Sherri says:

    Carol, Your canework is stunning & I love your needlework inspiration idea!

  4. Jill says:

    They make me feel energized!

  5. Jodie says:

    When you assemble a master cane, what are the dimensions you recommend initially??? I find I typically assemble less cane than I really want to have…. 🙂

  6. clsdesigns says:

    Hi Jody,
    Sorry for the delayed reply. I purposely keep my canes fairly small so that I will run out of cane before I get tired of it. You can see the largest one I ever made at

  7. Lisa Heller says:

    this is the most awesome cane I have ever seen, I stopped caning several years ago because my hands told me to but even if I had never stopped, and had continued 100 years, I could never have achieved what you do, Your work is both jaw-dropping and inspiring. Thanks for sharing your collection of favorite photos-

  8. lynn dunn says:

    stunning color work.

  9. Dean McRaine says:

    Aloha from Kauai Carol: I’m a ceramic artist infatuated with colored clay. I’ve never worked with polymer clay but I’m learning polymer techniques that I can use in ceramic pieces. I think I’m one of only a handful of ceramic artists that see the potential in doing this. I love your work! What’s the best way for me to learn from you? Unfortunately I can’t come to a workshop on the mainland. Do you have any tutorials on the internet? Or DVD’s?

    • Carol Simmons says:

      I don’t have any tutorials or DVDs available; only my blog. You are the second ceramicist that contacted me. I’m trying to recall who the other one was so I can put you in touch with one another. I think I’ve also seen some extruded clay designs in the Penland Book of Ceramics.

      I suggest you try some basic caning with polymer clay. There are lots of online tutorials on making various cane designs. Search under the topic of “caning” or “millefiori”. If you are like me, actually doing it will give you lots of ideas.

      Thanks for the compliment!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *