Just thought I'd share three quilting tricks that also work well for
canes. The first is a quilting tool called a Ruby Beholder. It's similar
to a piece of red plexiglass. You look through it at the clay colors
that you have selected for a cane. It helps you to see only the values
(the lightness and darkness of the colors) rather than the hues. After
being reduced, canes with a wide range of values usually show their
patterns better than canes made with a limited range of values. I also
keep a couple of layers of green transparency film on hand for color
combinations that display better under a green filter rather than red.
The second quilting trick is to use a pair of small mirrors. Mine happen
to be 3" x 6". They are taped together along one of the short sides so
that the tape acts as a hinge. The mirrors can then be opened to any
angle. You place a cane slice on a table and hold the mirrors
perpendicular to it, adjusting the angle so that you get multiple
reflections like a kaleidoscope. Depending on the angle, you can preview
your cane slices as 4-patches, octagons, hexagons, and so on.
The third tip comes from designing quilt tops by computer. After
scanning your cane slices into the computer, you can use your image
editing software to adjust the hue and saturation. You can change the
color combination to just about anything else in the color spectrum.
Then you can stretch, mirror, rotate, clone, and skew the images to
preview all sorts of designs. It's a great way to generate ideas, and so
much faster than constructing all the variations in clay.