While I usually stick to very simple canes, occasionally I'll get the urge to make something insanely intricate, with details so small they can't be seen with the naked eye once the cane's reduced.
The snowflake shown here isn't as intricate as that, but was the start of the craziness a number of years ago, my first complex cane.
I became fascinated with some micro-photographs of snowcrystals and that was the reference for this cane.
We think of snowflakes as being perfectly symmetrical but when you study photos of real ones you notice a lot of variation. All snow crystals have six sides, but not all six sides are exactly the same. Often there will be three of one design & three of another, alternating. I guess all the distortion in my cane just makes them more authentic - a little wonky, the way nature makes them too.
Being such a cane-building novice it took me a couple of weeks to build all the components and put them together. Then another week or two before I got up the nerve to start reducing it. It was about 6" in diameter and about 2" high and produced a snowstorm, which then covered everything I could get my hands on: from ornaments to barrettes; serving spoons to eggs. The only things I have left from that flurry are a few pins like those shown, cane slices on a pinback. (I wasn't making beads back then, aside from a few small ones to dangle from the ornaments.) My plan was to make a different snowcrystal cane each year but that only lasted 3 years.
This year I rediscovered my trio of snowcrystals and have been reducing and using (reduce, reuse, recycle) the last remaining chunks of snowcanes #2 & #3 to make beads for the upcoming bead show. This bright blue one is "snowcrystal cane #3". You can see how my cane-building skills had improved between #1 & #3 but this one has always struck me as almost too pretty, almost cold. I think I prefer the looser, more organic feel of the navy one.
#2 has a complete set of problems (including being very difficult to photograph) and I've always referred to it as navy one's evil snowflake twin. as soon as I locate my camera I'll show some of my new snowcrystal beads.
By the way, one of those navy pins spent about 2 years pinned to my son's jacket and went through the washer & dryer once a week. If it wasn't for wear on the metal pin itself, I wouldn't be able to tell which one. If anyone asks....YUP, polymer's washable.