Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Spiral Sprigs with Beadcaps

I had the hardest time deciding what to glaze these.  Now, if I had made 4 or 5 sets maybe it would not have been half as hard, but as it is, I only made this one set.

I glazed with a blue underglaze on top of the sprigs, and then put a Mayco Crystalites glaze (Monsoon Seas) on top of that.  I'm writing this down so I do not forget.  Because I will forget! 

Pink and Purple Sprig Wrapped Beads

These have wrapped textured sprigs and non-textured bead caps. They have been glazed with a purple underglaze, which was subsequently wiped off, and reglazed with pink.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Come Shop in Person

Click on this photo if you are having trouble reading the text.  I will be participating at a show hosted by Ron and Janel Hollister at 8304 Llano Ave., Benbrook, TX, 76116 on December 11 from 10 am to 6 pm.  Please stop by and say hi and admire at all the beautiful pottery!

There will be four artists total.  Ron Hollister, Stormie Parker, Barbara Throne, and myself.  There will be lots to eat and drink so bring lots of friends.  It's going to be a fun day!  Mark the date on your calenders!


These rounds all have round bead caps, and I impressed the circles via the help of the tip of a broken pen. I rubbed in a black underglaze and coated with pink.

One of the smaller beads has a small chip in the bead cap, so I won't be selling it.  I'll make it into a personal necklace for myself.  Eventually.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Wrapped Sprigs Rounds in Light Blue

I rolled clay into a strip, applied over a round, then textured it. The texture helps it not to fall off as the clay shrinks and dries during the bisque firing.

This was glazed with a light blue, the new light blue from Mayco, the foundation glaze that is named simply "Light Blue". 

I'm thinking that I am going to attempt to put other foundation colors on top of each other to see how they fire. Do they move around and melt together?  I think they will not.  At least that's the impression I get when reading the back of the jar.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Leaf Sprigs

These are four rounds, approx 16 mm (I'm guessing, I haven't measured them yet), with a simple leaf sprig design.  One of these beads has a 'bead cap', which has been textured for interest.

The clay is a iron speckled stoneware from Texas Pottery in Bluemound, Texas (www.texaspottery.com).

Alan and Debra Bray sold this company a few months ago and the new owners are also kind and helpful.  I have long been a fan of Texas Pottery's clay, so go in and say howdy if you are a potter and haven't been there lately.

Alan and Debra were extremely helpful to me when I first got into pottery. Debra practically held my hand as she urged me to apply for a business license so I wouldn't have to pay tax for supplies.  Alan fixed my little kiln on more than one occasion and refused to take the money I offered.  One time there was about 100 lbs of hard clay that he offered me for absolutely free (I took it and watered it down and it was perfect).  I have great memories of the two of them and am always thankful for their cheerfulness and willingness.  When I first decided to fire beads, it was Alan who showed me how I could balance the rods on the kiln stilts.  I, and all my bead customers, are especially grateful for that!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Newbie Beads

I remembered to snap a quick photo of these after they came out of the first initial bisque firing.   I tried to do sets this time, 4 smaller beads with one focal bead.  That's about how long my attention span lasted until I got bored and thought of something different to do.  Over the next week I'll be trotting out finished beads from this batch.   Click on this photo to see these up close.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


These whistles are whimsical, playful, and playable, too.  They sport a hole for stringing a leather or fabric cord through.  I don't recommend wire for stringing because it could chip the ceramic glaze.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

For Days and Days

...for days and days I've been rephotographing everything in the pottery store.  I'm still not finished but I have decided to put it away for a few weeks.  I'm trying to get a few more beads and mugs glazed before a show I'm doing on December 11th.  When I have a flyer, I will post it here.

Friday, November 19, 2010

White Ceramic Beadcaps on Black Melons

I have for a long time been fascinated with metal beads.  Which is why a few years ago I took a workshop on wheel-thrown, altered and assembled pottery with Leah Leitson who is fascinated with silver teapots and serving vessels.   

I don't know why it took me so long to make the connection that I should try to make ceramic beads in the style of what I like best about silver beads: the addition of metal to metal.  It is no simple thing to add clay to clay.  I often have the added clay fall off in an initial bisque firing, usually while taking them out of the kiln. Or sometimes, they are drying and a sprig falls off ... fail!

These additions are so little it is hard to slip and score the way one might do with larger pieces.  But when it works, it works nicely.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Black Textured Waffles with Red Ceramic Beadcaps

Here's more 'brass' that is black.  Should I call it 'brassy black'? 

These would be fun in a bracelet.  The red ceramic beadcaps give these somewhat of a whimsical attitude.

The texture is from a large antique button.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

White Rounds with Ceramic Black Beadcaps

This is another example of the brass glaze coming out more of a black.  It is a stark (and lovely) contrast to the whiteness.

Note to self...make more of these.  Next time, though fire them to cone 1 instead of cone 04.  It doesn't seem to make a difference on the color and will make the beads a bit more durable.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Iron Oxide Decals Bowl

This bowl is a terracotta stoneware with white slip applied to the inside and the outside. It was fired to maturity at cone 6 in an electric kiln. 

Iron oxide handmade decals were added at another firing at cone 05.  The spirals were made via a spirograph toy, the paisleys were hand drawn by myself, and the double bandaid type decals at the top are copyright free patterns that I altered.

Monday, November 15, 2010

It's Not Brass

This was supposed to be a specialty brass glaze, cone 04, put out by Duncan. I do like it, but it's not brass. I have a couple of bead sets done in this same glaze that I'll blog about tomorrow and later this week.

This is a sprig bead which I also pierced holes into and added sprig bead caps. 

Friday, November 12, 2010

Simple Vase

This is a very simple vase. I'll be adding it to my pottery store sometime today.  This is a vase that I pulled to 10".  After bisque and glaze firing it ended up at a cool  8.5". It's perfect for a bouquet of cut flowers, and its neutral golden tan color means it goes with most any color scheme.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Porcelain Cup

This is one of those things that I put on a shelf at home and simply stared at for a number of months. It's small, and dainty, but the handle is comfortable to hold.

I had made quite a few beads with this pattern and had decided to try on a cup, too.  This is porcelain, gas fired to cone 10.  The black underglaze survived the firing just fine.

The clear turned a bit a blue celadon  color and there is a flush of red around the rim where it began to reduce or maybe it picked up the red of another vessel nearby.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Red Vase

This is a porcelain vase that I've had sitting on a shelf in my studio waiting until I had the time and patience to add all these transfer iron oxide drawings of my doodlings.

It didn't take as long as I thought it would and because I waited so long I had a plan in which to figure out how to get the drawings on evenly. I started at the middle and worked my way toward the handle.

The inside of this pitcher is red, too, but white at the rim.   

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

More Sprig Beads

Here are some sprig beads that are in their greenware form. They have not yet been bisque fired.

I plan to glaze two of these with Venetian Red and two of them with Sapphire Green.

Simple Bead

This is a simple stoneware bead I rolled on a stamp and applied underglaze on.  It looks almost black but it's actually a dark green. It is covered with a clear gloss glaze and has been fired to cone 1.

It is a simple bead which has been simply made.  Look how the underglaze shows up the small crevices and patterns of the intricate stamp.

Monday, November 08, 2010

Color Variations in Separate Firings

In my descriptions of my beads I have this line that is in all of my listings: "I have discovered over time that each batch of beads fires in the kiln differently depending on the season, temperature, and humidity, and barometric pressure."

While these beads were fired about a week apart and the temperature was about the same, the shades of their glazes, which before appying the iron oxide laser decals, once exactly the same, now are different. Even the shade of the decals are a bit different.

SO on one hand, if you are looking for very unique beads, ceramic bead artists really are the way to go, because even under similar conditions, re-duplications rarely happen.  But if I were looking for two beads to put into the same necklace, these two certainly would be hard to work into the same color scheme.  Individually they are each lovely, though.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Venetian Red Sprig Bead

Here is a porcelain bead which I applied stoneware sprigs and covered with the now (sadly) discontinued Venetian Red by Mayco.

I know I know, I have to get a grip on myself! Or just start making my own glazes, of which I am more than capable.  With beads, it is so easy just to open the jar.

When I was painting in watercolors I would never just use a pigment the way I will a glaze.  I would always alter it a bit so it was my pigment.   I suppose I do this by varying the clay bodies of the beads. Each clay makes for a dramatically different background upon which the glazes drapes itself around.

I have fallen in love with this glaze and this look of a bead and I am not sure how long I will continue exploring this concept.  But it sure has been fun to explore!  And there are lots of different colors of glazes. I do not have to be so stuck on this particular color, no matter how much I happen to be drawn to it.  I bet it would look great in green or blue or purple.  But probably not yellow.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Teal Dingbats

I am such a fan of these little star shaped patterns. I never can remember if they are called dingbats or wingdings.  When I googled it, I saw they are called 'dingbats'.  Weirdly enough, Microsoft Word calls them wingdings. So I dunno .... either way, I love them! 

Everybody has them in their word processing programs.  I think they come in the loveliest shapes and as far as size goes, they can be as little or big as I want them to be.  Best of all, they are all copyright free. Yay!

This is just another bead to showcase how versatile iron oxide laser decals can be.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Multi-Colored Beads

These are some beads I blogged about earlier before they were fired.  The decals are some that I drew and created on a spirograph.  Others are simple free copyright dingbats from the computer keyboard.

It seems as though ceramic artists all over the world are now utilizing iron oxide laser decals.  When I was at Gruene, Texas this year for the clay festival, I noticed several artists who had incorporated them onto their forms.  It was exciting to recognize it in potters whose work I very much admire.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

Sapphire Sprig Bead

This is an ironstone clay wrapped with three porcelain sprigs. I covered it with Sapphire Green, a newly discontinued glaze from Mayco and fired to cone 1. 

Mayco has is pretty much discontinued all of its gloss series, in favor of the Foundation series.

According to the Mayco website, the Foundation series has some exciting colors to choose from.  They sport normal, yet bland, names like "blue" "red", "green" and the ever popular "purple".

Perhaps that is why I strolled over to the Duncan side of the aisle and ended up buying 6 new colors to play with?

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Bead Experiment

  I have fallen in love with putting sprigs on beads and on the stringing holes ( bead caps).  I think it is because I have had a longing to work with metal beads and not had the opportunity.

That is why I decided to begin treating beads as though I were working with silver beads, or silver clay.  I have some silver clay that I have experimented with here and there, but it is expensive. Even though a small amount goes a long way, I have not utilized it in all the ways I've thought about doing. 

One day I just decided to pretend my regular clay was silver. What would I do with this clay if it were silver clay?  

 I thought, "I would put bead caps on my ceramic beads of course!" 

Here is but one result of my experimenting. 

Last week I was buying glazes and ran across a 'brass' glaze.  I have not yet fired it to cone 04, which is what the directions say.

  However, I did apply that brass glaze to the sprig and beadcaps of this particular bead and fired it to cone 1. 

The piercings were made with the same tool I use to make the stringing hole: my aluminum sock size knitting needle.

The 'brass' glaze did not come out like brass because I did not fire it to the cone 04 temperature. But I do like the way it turned out at a higher temperature, a black brown that is a bit shiny.  The 'shiny' doesn't come through well in these photos, however.

The Venetian Red is supposed to be fired to cone 06, but like many of the glazes I use, I have pushed it to a higher temperature.  Most of the low fire glazes can be pushed to a higher temperature. Some may lose a bit of color, but sometimes they will surprise you in a marvelous way.
When the inevitable day comes when you discover your 'new' favorite glaze has been discontinued, hopefully you'll have moved on to a different technique or glaze experiment and it will be no big deal.

That's what I thought to myself as I gazed at the half filled (or is it half empty?) jar I have left of the newly discontinued Venetian Red.

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

Textured Pink Rounds

I do not know why these beads came out with this funky texture, but it happened and I like it.

I have some small golden decals that will fit in in the small areas and I think they would provide a lovely contrast to the ruggedness of this bead.  Pretty in Pink, glamorous, and rugged ... what a combination!

These beads were being fired to cone 1. The kiln malfunctioned and shut itself off.  I restarted it minutes after it shut off.  It went up another 50 degrees and shut off again.  Again I restarted it. It went up another 25 degrees and shut off a third time. I gave up and a day later fired the entire batch in a different kiln, this time successfully.  These are the only three that ended up with this interesting texture.  Any glaze chemistry experts out there who know why this happened and only to this color?  Did the change in temperature begin to grow crystals?  And why didn't the others grow crystals as well? Is it because they were all different colors of glazes?  I'm left wondering why once again.

I probably should be wondering why the kiln malfunctioned but I'm more concerned about the beads at this point.  Actually I think I need a new thermocouple.   I have one on a different kiln that I have in a box in my studio.  The digital controller is shot and needs to be replaced (several hundred dollars), but the thermocouple is just fine.  I will have to take care of that this week (or next week).

Monday, November 01, 2010

Heart Mugs

I was asked to make these and I am happy they are now finished.  I came up with the design of simple red hearts on a mug after one of my instructors at TCC, Karmien (Sweetie) Bowman, gave me a wonderful critique after seeing some of my beads. She said that I should start thinking of my pottery forms in the same way I think about beads.

Not long after that critique I made a mug similar to the ones on the left.  It's fantastic how a few simple words of encouragement can change the way a person creates.  Since then I have not been able to throw or hand build a pottery form without her words coming to mind.

I haven't as of yet put sprig hearts on a bead, but someday ...