How Are Silly Millies Made?
Layl's Process of Making Millefiori Canes from Polymer Clay
My first step is usually to draw a picture the same size the cane will be built. I then spend a day or two mixing colors and getting all the colors soft. Then I start to build the character. Usually I start with the eyes and work my way out. I use my drawing to build each shape. It's like thinking two dimensionally and three dimensionally at the same time. Lines are created with flat slabs and wrapped around the other shapes.
When the character is complete I work in the background until the whole piece is round, square or oval. At this point the cane looks like a big can with the same picture all the way through.
Now it's time to reduce!
I begin by squeezing the center until it becomes hourglass shaped. Sometimes this goes really quick (10 minutes) but other times it can be up to an hour to soften the clay enough to get it to start moving. I try to stretch the center out as evenly and as long as possible before I slice the cane.
At last I get to make the first slice! It's like opening a present - you never know exactly what you will get.