Making the Butterfly Cameo Vase

To start this 3 3/4" vase I will make a translucent and gold butterfly cane. Two brands of translucent clay - kato and sculpey, are mixed together. Kato is a very durable clay, but a little too firm for this cane. By mixing in a smaller portion of sculpey I achieve the consistency I need. Gold and tan clays along with my new translucent clay, are rolled to thicknesses of 3, 5 and 1 on my pasta machine. With a small round cutter, I cut several circles.

The circles are stacked and packed into the extruder, translucent first. The extrusion forms rings of gold and tan around a translucent center.

Two more extrusions and it's time to start assembling the cane. The three extrusions are rolled to a thickness of 3 and stacked. I trim the ends and make a cut in the middle and stack again, forming a stack of six "stripes".

Using the handle of my x-acto knife, I form a large groove in the stripes, press in a bull's eye cane and roll to form a slight oval.

Next I pack the extruder a few times with gold and tan circles. Twice in a pattern of one tan, two golds, one tan and then twice in a pattern of one gold, one tan.

The new extrusions are placed around the stripes and I form a wing by rolling and then pinching and stretching the top sides.

Now it's time to start the lower wing. The extruder is packed again. This extrusion is for the eye spot . Two strips of translucent added to one side form a cane with an off-center "eye".

The strips of translucent are pressed into place and a sheet of gold and tan is wrapped around it. (Sorry, no photo of the final eye cane). The extruder is packed again to make the edge spots.

I missed a bunch more photos again - sorry about that. The butterfly got to this stage by arranging another row of stripes with the eye cane and then wrapping them in a layer of translucent and finally more extrusions.

Here I prepare the background for the cane by mixing chopped translucent (both kato and sculpey) with gratings of white pearl and tan. Twisting the mixture gives it a marbled look.

Part of the background mixture is packed into the extruder and forced through a triangle die plate. The triangle fits perfectly between the wings. More background is added to hold the wings in shape. A cut through the middle of the cane, and you have two identical sets of butterfly wings!

One last extrusion - it's rolled thinner to form the butterfly's antennae and body. More background is added to make the cane round.

Now, to shape the cameos. A stack of five circles of plain white clay form the base. Forming each base with stacks of cut clay ensures they will all be the same. A cane slice is pressed into place and more background is added.

All four cameos after baking and sanding.

And now, for the molds. Each butterfly will have an arrangement of two chamomile flowers beneath it. Using sculpey Elasticlay MoldMaker, I arrange the chamomile, press it in with a roller and then carefully remove it.

The four molds baked and ready to go. The vase clay is a marbled mixture of sweet potato colored clay and copper.

The molds are bushed liberally with water to keep the clay from sticking. Using my fingers, I press the clay into the molds. More clay has to be packed into the flowers to make them level and then the entire piece is smoothed with a roller.

The four chamomile castings are applied to the vase and baked.

After baking the background is filled in and the cameos are put into place. A few last details and the vase is ready for the final baking...

...And here it is baked and with a wash added.

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  1. Just had to say you are SO talented and giving thank you very much for taking the time to give such wonderful gifts to us - Sherry

    1. You're very welcome Sherry! Thanks for stopping by today! :-)