Today I wanted to show you something I learned from my friend Liane Jaehde, who was my teaching assistant in Germany this May. Her boyfriend is a glass-blower, and he showed her this method - it's nothing NEW, just a different way of making a complex twisted cane. I am still confident you will enjoy this, it's actually so much easier and cleaner than the "usual" method of building a complex cane, it might take your interest in cane-making to a different level. Every beadmaker I have met so far builds can more or less from a pancake, the way I have shown in Passing The Flame, which means that you build it the way it's twisted later on - with the punty more or less in case. This method requires a little shift in thinking, instead of building from the center out, you start with the glass that is on one SIDE of the cane. Just look at the pictures (which I took myself WHILE making this cane....holding the glass in my left hand and the camera in my right...they turned out pretty well, actually...)
1. Make a big blob in the color you want to be on one outside of the cane (I used transparent teal)
2. Flatten this blob with a graphite marver
3. Add a contrasting color (white)
4. Flatten this color, so there are no holes or dimples in the surface
5. Add more glass, flatten again (you can repeat these steps as often as you like, the more layers, the more complex the twist will be). The LAST layer will be the other outside of the cane (transparent grass green).
6. Melt this gather lightly, so the layers bond with each other.
If you want to, you can now add some stringer or filigrana around the CENTER of this gather (where the white and pea green meet, in this case).
7. Attach a punty to the SIDE of this gather!!! THis is the COOL moment!
8. Now melt OFF the initial rod of glass and attach it as a second punty opposite to the first punty. Get the idea where this is going? The most difficult part here is to move the entire thing in a way that the flame heats the part where the teal rod is still attached to the gather. It's a little like moving a wrench, you'll get the hang of this quickly.
9. Now all you have to do is melt the gather, pull it out slightly, twist and pull, just like a regular twisted cane. But I promise it will be a lot prettier than what you're used to!!!