Tips and Techniques: How to Make a Rose Cane
One of the most basic and useful detail elements used in lampworking beads is the rose cane. I notice them being used in the old beads I saw in the catalogs of antique beads that I looked at to teach myself bead designs. Through experimenting I discovered that the cane needed to be both transparent and opaque to make an effective embellishment.
Though a rose cane is a very effective way to depict a rose on a glass bead, it is also a great detail cane for other decorative applications like feathered lines or bright pink squiggles.
Start heating both the white and the pink rods at the same time, but heat the pink more by holding it below the white in the flame because the white will slump much faster than the pink and you need it a little stiff to apply the pink.
As you get a gather of pink on the end of your rod, start applying strips of the pink to about 1 to 1 ½ inches of the white rod. Continue applying the pink around the white rod until you have coated all the way around. You can vary the depth of the pink you apply to the white rod depending on how dark you want your rose cane to be.
Once you have the desired thickness of gold pink applied to your white rod, you need to marver the rose cane into a smooth cylinder to insure that the cane pulls evenly.
At this point you need to keep your rose cane warm and apply the second punty to give you a handle to hold onto during the pulling process. Once the punty is applied and cool enough to not stretch, start moving the pink coated section back and forth in the flame, being sure to rotate it frequently to heat it all the way through. I like to pull the cane into a football shape when I am heating it to get more of the mass of the cane in the middle and not so much on the punty.
When your cane is thoroughly heated, start pulling slowly at first because white tends to get very liquid and thin out the cane if you pull too fast at the beginning. When you start feeling a little resistance in the glass, start pulling faster until you achieve the desired size of rose cane that you want. I like to use a punty that is at least 13 inches long so that I can move my hand down to the far end to extend my reach which helps to get the maximum length out of your cane pull.
Once you have stopped pulling the cane, hold the cane still and straight until the glass firms up. White glass stays flexible for an amazing length of time and holding the cane until it is firm saves you from having crooked cane.
Next lay the cane flat on a table placing the right punty down to cut it into usable lengths and let cool until you can pick it up. If the rose cane appears too light, don’t worry because gold pink tends to strike and un-strike as you heat it and it will develop the desired color when you use the cane.