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Klew Video Review

Tips and Techniques of Caning with Karen "Klew" Lewis
©2001 abba dabba Productions LLC.
Running Time: 1 hour 24 minutes

Appliquéd Millefiore Beads (Drum Beads) with Karen "Klew" Lewis
©2001 abba dabba Productions LLC.
Running Time: 47 minutes

Since these two videos arrived in my mailbox, I have become obsessed with drum beads and appliquéd beads, a la Klew. I have learned an awful lot about caning, sanding, polishing and bead making from watching these videos and I have a big bowl of beads on my dining room table to show for it. Did I mention that I am having fun?

Tips and Techniques of Caning is just that: tips and techniques. The canes that Klew demonstrates are simple spirals, bullseye, striped loaf , and a more complex leaf cane made from a Skinner Blend which she also demonstrates.

If you are new to caning, this is a good video for you. Experienced caners, however, should not discount it in the mistaken belief that it has nothing to teach them. If you employ the techniques Klew teaches in this video, you will become a better caner.

I have always had waste clay at the end of my canes and have tried numerous suggestions to minimize this problem - plugging the ends with scrap clay, placing plastic "end caps" on the cane, or pulling instead of rolling. None of them worked very well for me.

Klew demonstrates a way of reducing the cane so that the ends bulge out instead of suck in, resulting in little or no waste clay. You can use this method of reduction with round, square and triangular canes. Her demonstration is so clear that I achieved good results the first time I tried it. Klew also explains how to reduce canes that might be old and a little dry. I had canes that were over a year old which I had tried to reduce and I ended up losing a lot of them to crumbling and waste clay. After watching this video, I was able to reduce the remaining canes with very little waste.

Klew also demonstrates how to reduce a cane so the internal design remains consistent throughout. She also identifies the factors which cause distortions in canes when you reduce them and how you can recognize and avoid them.

The video has a lot of other practical suggestions. Klew gives tips on how to preserve your tools to make them last longer. She also peppers her discussion with tips on ergonomics and how to work with the clay so as to avoid physical problems like carpal tunnel and rotator cuff injuries that you can sustain from repetitive motions and bad posture. You might not pay much attention to this kind of information, but you should. These types of injuries creep up on you without warning and can be very painful.

At the end of the video, Klew gives out her phone number and E-mail address and invites you to contact her if you have questions.

In Appliquéd Millefioui Beads (Drum Beads), Klew demonstrates how to make her gorgeous drum beads. She starts by showing how to shape a base bead and then how to cut and place cane slices on the base. The sanding process is covered in depth, much more so than in other videos I've seen. The final part of the process is antiquing with acrylic paint and buffing.

Klew suggests that the base bead be made up of a faux formulation like jade or ivory, and also shows how you can wrap snakes of scrap clay with a solid color to use as your base.

There are many things I liked about this video. I am always hungry for so-called "tricks of the trade." Klew has a lot of clever ideas she shares on the video. For example, she suggests that you put drop of dish soap into the sanding water which, she says, helps suspend the molecules so the water does not leave as much sanding residue on the bead.

I also like the way she explains sanding. I don't know about you, but for me, the correct way to sand polymer clay is a topic analogous to what sex was when I was in grade school. I knew that it was matter of importance but no one was willing to come out and tell me what it was all about. "You'll understand when you're older," my mother would say. That comment did nothing but feed my frustration. Being told that I should sand my baked clay until I am ready for the next finer grade of sandpaper, while not as traumatic, is also frustrating. To her credit, Klew demonstrates sanding in detail and explains the purpose of each step in the sanding process.

I was mildly disappointed that Klew only demonstrates making one bead on the video. In all fairness, however, she does display numerous beads she has made with the technique to illustrate the variations that are possible. I wish this section had been a little longer, because it was truly inspiring. The photography is clear and you get a good view of the beads.

It is important to note that this video does not contain any information on color mixing or cane making. Beginners will need to consult other books or videos before attempting the drum bead. Appliquéd Millefiore Beads appears to be more of a supplement to the other videos rather than a video that stands on its own.

Fortunately, this is not a problem. abba dabba Productions has produced two other videos by Karen Lewis which I have not seen yet: Bead Shapes and Design Volumes I and II. The Bead Shapes videos each contain directions for making several types of beads. abba dabba Productions web page, http: //, advertises a price break if you buy more than one video at the same time.

If these videos are as well done as the ones I have reviewed here, they should all be in your library.

Internet Pricing

  • Any 1 video - $29.95 plus $4.95 S&H = $34.90
  • Any 2 videos purchased at the same time - $55.90 ($27.95 per video) plus $5.95 S&H = $61.85
  • Any 3 videos purchased at the same time - $77.85 ($25.95 per video) plus $6.95 S&H = $84.80
  • Any 4 videos purchased at the same time - $95.80 ($23.95 per video) plus $7.95 S&H = $103.75
Martha Aleo

We'd like to thank Martha for this excellent review of Klew's videos.

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