You can see the patterns that you create in the block of clay by doing the distorting and stacking in the blue and purple blocks.  The red block has not been sliced yet but I am sure that I will find really nice patterns in it as well.

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Once I figure out what background color to use, I condition that clay and roll it medium thin.  (I use setting 3 on my Atlas, with 1 being the thickest.)  I then carefully slice thin layers of clay off of the block.  I do the slicing across the top of the block to get the most interesting patterns.  If you want to slice the block of the sides you will get patterns that look like layers of sand.  If there is  a slice that I am not happy with, I can change the look by placing another slice over top of it.

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One thing to remember when picking the background color is if you have used translucent clay, that color will be seen through the slices.