neriage is the ancient japanese technique of layering, cutting and recombining different colors of clay, creating an intricately patterned loaf that is sliced and applied to the clay body. sound familiar? polymer clay artists often make reference to borrowing the millefiore technique from glass artists and neriage is the millefiore of earthen clay. though there are slight differences, the term nerikomi is considered to be interchangeable with neriage.
“We create our porcelain pieces using an ancient technique known variously as millefiori, neriage, and nerikome. The extreme detail and intense color in our ceramic work results from the use of over 500 different colors of clay to create our carefully designed clay loaves. Next, cross-sections are sliced from the loaves, and these sections are shaped and finished into individual pieces.”
if you’d like to see how it’s done by ceramic artists, take a look at this tutorial – it is in japanese, but the pictures say it well enough – make sure you look at both pages.
here is a quick tutorial by american ceramist faith rahill. as you can see, the process for building a cane is similar enough and how interesting to see the end results in stoneware!
and they share some of the process here
just a wee bit more inspiration for polymer clay cane enthusiasts. enjoy.