I know that folks say that my chop and toss is just natasha bead tricks. But I beg to differ.
There were some very disappointing cane designs I made when starting out. I hated them for they represented wasted clay and effort. It was out of frustration and anger that I started chopping up the cane that offended me. I was fixing to run it all through the press to blend to a uniform color and when I scooped up all that chop that offensive cane looked suddenly interesting. Chop up a couple more good canes and toss it all together and it started to look even more interesting. Sort of like French Impressionism in three dimensions... layered chop for impressionistic landscapes, another little used trick.
This little Goddess appeared in the design of the chopped mirror image. She is made with the chopped cane ends of the leaves that surround her. By doing a bit of bas relief she came forward. Stick a skewer through the whole thing and you can hang a mini scene from your neck.
I know that folks say that my chop and toss is just natasha bead tricks. But I beg to differ. The natasha bead tutorials I've seen say to twist the clay, use scraps. I say use your best cane efforts for the chop. Then compress the air out but don't pull the chop loaf, don't twist them, for that will make two sides of a natasha cut to go streaky. Just press the chop so there's no spaces left between the cane bits, but that's it.
Then don't just make natasha beads with chop. Any two slices when opened like a book will yield you a mirror image. That mirror image can be blouse on a figure,
the face of a bear.
If you built layers of chop in a half round, cut two slices and you have a round design. Pin and pendant time with round designs.
There's a favorite trick of mine, theme chop: Take a dozen canes grouped around a theme,
like the African Mix: Zebra, Leopard, Tiger, Leaf, Flower, faux Turquoise, Kente cloth plaids, bamboo, etc. When you do chop with canes made with a focus the mirror images will astound you. Scenes build themselves in the chop, faces emerge, vistas show themselves.
What sort of themes could you think of? What canes would you use for Under the Sea? What colors and designs would you use for a Southwest theme? Here's what I chopped for Mexico
What you see in the flat design you can raise up with clay from behind and do some instant bas relief sort of deals. Another nifty trick that goes a begging to be used.
I don't know how it works but it does work. There's emotional and mental associations we give to certain colors, certain designs. Often these associations are culturally bound and therefore not universally relevant. I found the popularity of the African mix is that it's mostly natural associations: Sky, ground, flora and fauna, precious ore and then a wee touch of human. Folk can relate to the colors that are found in nature. If their association to Africa is triggered with zebra, leopard and tiger, everything else thrown in the mix will still have that jungle flavor. Add natural elements like leaf and flower petal, faux gem, butterfly wing and you have layers and layers of associations. The mirror images in the chop hits folks in an emotional way, for they see what they bring to it, like an ink blot test. Everyone sees something in the mirror image and if they are pushed towards a theme with known triggers: zebra, leopard and tiger for Africa for instance, the images folks will see will be jungle scenes, vistas and animal faces coming through foliage.
Trigger something else with different colors, different design elements, build a chop theme. Then look to see what speaks out to you in the mirror image, build it up from the back with filler clay, see what happens. Sometimes it says "I'm a great T Shirt!" or "I'm a landscape, long shot, seen through a bough of a tree."
I know I go on and on about this chop stuff given the opportunity to natter about it. But for beginners, chop is our friend. How else are we going to put our disappointing canes through some paces to redeem them?
For intermediate caners: take all those cane ends you're afraid to use up for it'll be the last of a batch you made and all that stuff. Chop it up. Make more cane. Build a memorial to your early canes with a chop and cover an egg with it. That'll free you up to make more cane.
Advanced caners: Take your best canes, group your theme. You know you've got favorite color families, design elements like leaves or flower petals. Stacked sheets give different emotional hits than curved blends. Use that when you chop. Chop stacked sheets with sharp corners. Dice blended curves and roll them gently before tossing in the mix. Small busy designs can be chopped big. Large color areas should be chopped small. Vary design and chop style, don't just toss, but layer designs. Cut two slices and get some mirror images and show us what you found there.
Make pendants, cover tins, cloth figures, do bas relief, the possibilities are endless...oh don't get me started on how natasha beads can make round tube beads with 4 mirror images on it, then be made into a pot
that's a whole other ramble,