Friday, July 31, 2009

Texture Ceramic Beads

Yesterday I decided to play with some texture tools. These are my favorite. They have many different shaped ends and combining them satisfies that occasional whim to go geometric.

This is pretty self explanatory. First I measured out a small ball of clay, rolled it, and pierced it. The next photo shows a small cap that I used to make circles. The third photo shows the two tool bits I decided to utilize. I love triangles! The fourth and fifth photo shows the end result after playing around a bit.

If you click on the photo it will take you through to a bigger photo. I am planning to rub these with an underglaze after they are bisque fired. Then I will rub off the excess underglaze so that it is deposited into each geometric shape. Last I will coat with a glossy clear or very transparent glaze and refire them. I haven't decided yet between the clear or transparent glaze.

In other news, I will try to post some of the homemade decal beads tomorrow. I got distracted with creating new beads. I also meant to list in my bead store a couple of the 50's "Kitchen of Tomorrow" beads in my previous post, but I never got around it to with all the creating.

Beads are SO much fun!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

50's Style Kitchen Beads

When I originally started these beads, I had in mind a black and white cow pattern, but then thought better of it ... what woman wants to wear a 'cow bead'? So I filled in the white with a soft pink glossy glaze and this is how they came out ... and they remind me those 1950's Kitchen of Tomorrow" color schemes. This is a fun look. I will be making more of these. Definitely.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

In Today's Kiln

The other day I was watching television and a commercial about mayonnaise came on. It featured olive oil instead of regular oil as one of the ingredients and it showed an olive shape with black and white cow pattern markings. It captured my attention and I thought ... oh I have to make a bead with cow markings.

As I was applying on the black underglaze I thought to myself, "Now what woman would want a cow bead? Probably not many ...." But I really liked the pattern and I thought I would fill in the white with a pink gloss glaze. So that's what I have here cooking in the kiln today. This is what it looks like glazed but unfired. The black underglaze will not be shiny or glossy, but the pink will be both. I am eager to look in the kiln tomorrow.

Also in the kiln are some of these homemade decal ceramic beads. I drew the daisies, altered the fractals and some other patterns that I had scanned into my comptuter, and I hope these turn out well. Yesterday some of my earlier decal bead efforts were featured in the Beads of Clay blog along with two other bead artists whose work I admire greatly. It was an honor to be included.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Barbells -- dynamic duo Ceramic Beads

I placed these rods too close to each other in the kiln and the beads fused together. It makes for an interesting design opportunity though. I'm thinking these would make a fun addition to a double stranded bracelet or perhaps a dangling focal piece on a necklace. I'm intrigued by the possibilities.

Monday, July 27, 2009


I love teapots and for a short while I collected them, then I started making them, too. They are satisfying and the spout is always a challenge. There is a way to help them not to dribble, the idea is to give a nice sharp edge. And no matter how many times I make a teapot the real test is to see how it pours after it is bisque fired. However, these sculptural teapot beads are not functional. They are just lot of fun to sculpt.

Check it out here.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Alphabet Ceramic Beads

A few months back I acquired some letterpress ... perfect for making alphabet beads. The first step is deciding which clay body to use. I'll start out with a nice white. This particular porcelain clay body is quite translucent. If I use a transparent glaze, then it should break in interesting patterns over each textured letter.

I think I want a bead that fits nicely between the thumb and forefinger, so I'm going to use this home made bead 'measurer' which will give me a bead that is between 13 and 15 mm.

In trying to decide which letters to start off with, Wheel of Fortune pops in my head: RSTLNE ... so I'll make about 5 of each of those, plus five of each the vowels, and three of the rest of the consonants. Happy Clay Day!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Egg or Teardrop Shape Porcelain Beads

Dangling opportunities abound with this shape of a bead. These are pierced from top to bottom, but I have some that are pierced through on the side, too.

I first started making this bead for a fellow crafter's Etsy store. I've been making them ever since in different sizes, shapes, and glaze combinations. This particular glaze may or may not be a fluke. It's the first time I've used this glaze combination and I really do like it so I'm going to try for more. I wrote down all the specifics in the glaze notebook I started keeping a while back. We'll see if it is a fluke or not.

Click Here to see more egg and/or teardrop shape beads.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Ceramic Bead Bone

I rolled a slab of stoneware clay and then used a small bone shaped 'cookie cutter' to get this shape. I smoothed around the corners, then pierced with a hole fired and glazed it and refired it to maturity. It is 30 mm long and 18 mm wide and 7 mm thick. The hole is 1 mm.

I think this would be fun addition to a doggie collar or a focal point on a necklace for a doggie lover. Click here to view it in my Etsy store.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Ceramic Pendant Heart for Wirewrapping

I have made more round beads than pendants and for some reason this particular day I was in the mood to make pendants. I used a pair of plastic scissors that is normally used in scrapbook making to cut these strips of clay. I lightly dusted the clay with baby powder so that the clay did not stick to the scissors. I used a small amount of water on a Q-tip to moisten the clay shaped heart in order that the zigzag strips of clay with adhere properly. Then I dried and fired this with several more heart shaped pendants

Click here to see this particular pendant

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Ceramic Bead Sculpture - Elephant

I have been trying my hand with small sculptures ever since the Etsy Mud Team Challenge a year or so ago. The sculpture challenge was a blast and I never would have tried any kind of sculpture without that challenge.

I started with dogs, then birds, then fish, now I'm getting braver with elephants. This particular elephant was made with soldate 60 clay from Laguna Clay Company and glazed with a cone 6 shino glaze. It is 31 mm from nose to tail and 24 mm wide from ear to ear and 25 mm from top of the ear to bottom of the foot. The hole (2 mm) goes through its back to its stomach.

The ears were very fun to make. I pressed them flat with my thumb on the palm of my hand. The small ball was perfectly shaped in that fashion into an elephant's ear!

I have this one in my etsy store. Click here if you're interested.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bead Naming Contest

Apologies for not having written anything in a while, a long while. I've been on vacation. I've started firing beads again only the last few days. I've come up with a few bead combinations. I am planning on making this one a permanent part of my glaze collection that I'm slowly putting together.

However, I am at a loss for what to call this glaze and thought I would hold a small contest and ask for help in naming this particular glaze.

So this contest is going to continue until I see something that I really like, and if I like YOUR suggestion, I will contact you and send you some thank you beads (at no cost to you of course) ... so leave an email addy in your comment.

This glaze is brushed over a terracotta clay, and goes transparent in spots, though the bead is completely covered with glaze. Have fun! And hey, thanks!

These were all great suggestions. I've had a hard time deciding, but in the end, I think I liked the rhyme factor in the first one: Cantaloupe Smoke.

At some point I may end up using the others and if/when I do, I'll get in touch and send off some free beads.

Eileen B -- please email me with your address and I will send you your beads. Thanks so much!