Tuesday, December 20, 2011
I love this effect, though it is very time consuming.
I love how the beads look on the skewers, kinda like a bouquet of flowers.
Here are some beads that I added a sprig of clay on top of a texture, then textured the sprig.
The blue-green glaze had some blue crystals in it and they melted nicely in the firing.
It's been a fun year experimenting with beads: glazes, textures, iron oxide decals, etc ....
I didn't expect to be diagnosed with cancer earlier this year but it is nice to be past cancer treatments and getting my strength back. In case you are wondering, the cancer is in remission and my doctor's don't expect it to reoccur. I'm having regular tests and biopsies the next few years to make certain of all this, though.
Thank you to everyone who wished me well and prayed for me. That touched my heart greatly. It's been a wonderful year and this next year my daughter and her husband are making me a grandma. I'm so looking forward to meeting little Ruby Makayla who will be born near the end of April, perhaps May.
But most of all I'm thankful to God who got me through some very tough months, and my mother who sacrificed her time and energy and took care of me. My husband was incredible too, as he always is and has been. Thank you to my friends who stuck with me and by me ... May God bless you everyone! See you next year!
Friday, December 16, 2011
There are not many of these beads in my stash because I was experimenting. I do like how the glaze turned out. This particular celadon glaze below is one that was discontinued by the manufacturer last year. I had about 1/4 of a jar left and these are some that I did glaze.
I used this glaze on a few other beads made from different clay bodies and on each one, the glaze performs differently.
I have some of these beads in my shop for sale. Click Here and Here to check them out.
Wednesday, December 07, 2011
Jean took this bead and fashioned it into a most gorgeous necklace. She hung it from a hand formed bail made from square copper wire and added faceted yellow and purple Czech beads for emphasis.
The whole effect works wonderfully. The necklace is 20" long but if you prefer it shorter, she'll be happy to change the length just for you.
Definitely take a moment to check out Jean's blog, her store, and also a more detailed description of this necklace.
Friday, November 25, 2011
beads back in October and created this beautiful bracelet. The silver is a lovely way to complement the green delicate scroll ceramic beads. Thanks for sharing, Kathy!
Thursday, November 17, 2011
I am planning on firing these nine different colors.
I have been calling this style "Harvest" but when I look at the unfinished beads I can't help but think they look like a bunch of sunflower seeds.
These are the nine colors I will end up with when these are all fired. (see last photo).
What will I be doing with the rest of my day?
That's easy .... glazing glazing glazing. And tomorrow I'll be firing firing firing. It's going to take a couple of firings, though because I will have to use my smaller kiln.
In other news, my large kiln is still out of commission. I'm waiting on a part to come in the mail. I had thought it was the coils, but as I was removing them from the kiln, I saw the 'infinite switch' had a burnout.
Then I had a flash of memory. I did this same thing last year with another infinite switch issue. I had perfectly good coils then, too. My kiln has two infinite switches. One for the bottom and one for the top. Last year it was the bottom one that burnt out. This year the top burnt out. But I didn't look to make sure before pulling the coils out and by the time I realized it wasn't a coil problem it was too late.
I suppose I could have stuck those coils back in their slots but I probably would have ended up ruining the firebrick.
I am also in need of some slip on connectors in order to connect the switch to the wires, but the place I ordered the switch from was out .... and I think I may have some extra in my stash somewhere around here, but I'm not certain. I wonder if hardware stores carry those slip on connectors? If not and if I don't have any, then I'll check the ceramic stores around here and if they don't have any, I suppose I will have to wait the three weeks the online store said it would be before they would be back in stock.
Tuesday, November 15, 2011
These are nugget beads, each one unique with various textures combined with sprigs.
I am particularly drawn to the lavender bead at the bottom left. I did not think that texture would come out that lovely.
I also quite like the yellow texture, too. I'd like to try that texture in different colors (maybe a lavender?).
Thanks for stopping by!
Monday, November 14, 2011
I didn't want to get confused as to which bead I put what at, so last night I took this photo on the left. The bigger bead was coated with the sparkly sand and the smaller bead was coated with the other sand.
I probably should have used the same clay with each bead, but I didn't. The bigger bead was made from b-mix cone 6 clay and the smaller bead was made with frost cone 6 clay.
I fired these at cone 1 though. Why? Because I had other beads firing at that temperature and stuck these in at the last minute.
These came out rather rough, but I like the texture of the sand. I think I would like to add another coat of clear gloss to these and refire.
Thursday, November 10, 2011
It is always exciting for me to see how jewelry artists fashions necklaces, bracelets, earrings, etc ... out of beads that I and others have created.
This necklace has several bead artists. The handmade ceramic cardinal bird by is by Cindy Dolezal. The handmade stoneware fall seed pod is by me. The handmade porcelain stoney bead and leaf pendant is by Ingrid Mueller and the handmade polymer clay bead by Alison Crenshaw. Then there are some beads by Earth Tones, a Vintaj brass twig, some Antiqued brass chain, some Deerskin leather lace, as well as a handmade brass clasp. This measures 18-1/2" with a 2-3/4" leaf pendant. It's just stunning!
Click here to visit this necklace. Click here to visit Jean's store.
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
The photo on the left is what they look like right now. Some are dryer than others, hence the color variation.
About a week ago my big kiln had a bad firing because the top set of kiln element coils burnt out. I had to unload everything. I refired the beads in the smaller kiln but the pottery still sits on my table waiting to be refired.
Yesterday the box was delivered with four coils (my big kiln takes four elements). I plan to put the new ones in on Saturday when it is going to be about 70 degrees outside.
I have had this kiln about 10 years and this is the third time I've changed the elements. I must be hard on elements. Maybe I ought to stop peeking inside my kiln before it has cooled down enough. Yep, that's probably it. Or maybe it is because it sits outside. I dunno. I just replace 'em when they burn out.
Thursday, November 03, 2011
The night before I discovered the element coils in the big kiln had burnt out and were not glowing at all. It still had about two more hours to fire. The bottom set of element coils were glowing brightly, but not the top. I know from previous experience that the kiln was not going to go to temperature. So I shut it off.
In the morning I loaded these beads into the small bead kiln and this is how they turned out.
Monday, October 31, 2011
I was digging around in my necklaces looking for something to wear yesterday and came across this necklace which I created a couple of years ago. It was in the beginnings of what I call my 'rock' phase, whereas I was intrigued into making beads look as though they came out of the earth and had been polished. In other words, the nugget bead. I used simple shiny seed beads and simple silver tone spacers along with some dark green melon ceramic beads which I had also made about the same time period. The toggle and clasp are also quite simple. I like simple. This makes me want to make some more nugget beads and see where the glazing takes me. Maybe I will do that sometime this week. Thanks for visiting my blog!
Friday, October 21, 2011
The creamy vanilla beads look a bit buttery yellow in this picture but that is because they are next to the pinks and blues I think. By themselves they are not that color at all.
On all these beads, except the creamy vanilla ones, I put a purple underglaze on (Pueblo Purple by Duncan). The underglaze turned this lovely blue color.
On the creamy vanilla rounds I put on Fern Green underglaze by Mayco. The color apparently burnt completely out. I wonder if the beads would still be that same vanilla creamy look without the underglaze, or if it would be a completely different whitish color? I'll have to try that next time I am firing to this temperature. It would be a good experiment.
I was in the ceramic store last week looking at the underglazes and all the new bottles from Mayco have notes on each bottle saying what the colors do at cone 6. My old bottles do not. I suppose I will be writing on each bottle of my own what each underglaze does at what temperature from now on.
Thursday, October 20, 2011
This Red Yucca frond is lovely to use because it is firm and easy to hold. I typically cut the pencil length but you can make them longer or shorter. The most important thing is to easily hold it in your hand. So make it a comfortable length.
How long does a yucca brush last? I don't know. I use them for a day or so and then I stick them on a shelf meaning to reuse them. But six months or more may go by before I feel the urge to use one and by that time it is very dry and shriveled up, completely unusable.
Just go cut another one. Yuccas can be 'harvested' any time of the year.
If you don't have fingernails (like many potters and bead artists), do the best you can. If your nails are extremely short, you can try using the edge of a spoon or fork or knife. Experiment.
This is the stroke that the paintbrush above left on my bead. A nice straight line. I just dabbed on the underglaze.
The yucca paintbrush holds lots of paint. You would load it the same way you would a watercolor or oil brush. You will be surprised at how long one stroke can last.
You would pay a lot of money for such a nice paintbrush but the best thing about yucca paintbrushes is that they are free.
Free is good.
To finish this bead, I added some of my original hand drawn iron oxide decals and refired to cone 05.
Thanks for following along and if you make your own yucca brush, post the results so we can see your own unique bead creations. :)
Originally this article was posted on the Beads of Clay blog where I contribute articles once a month. I am reposting it here for my blog readers who may not be subscribed to the Beads of Clay blog.
Friday, October 14, 2011
This bracelet was created by Jean A. Wells and has some wonderful elements by many talented ceramic bead artists. Read the descriptions by clicking here .
The focal piece, the owl, in this bracelet is made by Marti Conrad.
My beads are the brown beads with turquoise blue rivets.
This is a lovely piece. Check out the rest of Jean's shop here. Have an awesome day!
Saturday, October 01, 2011
Friday, September 30, 2011
Thursday, September 29, 2011
The September Art Spark Challenge took place on the Love My Art Jewelry website. The winner was announced September 27th here and so these beads, my Iced Pink Ceramic Bead Set are well on their way to their new owner! Congrats to Sandra for her winning entry! If you like these beads, you may like these that are already in my etsy store.
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
I wanted to show off this listing by Jean A. Wells which sports one of my beads. It is the long tube bead in the top right hand corner. That was a fun bead to make and I only made that one. There are no more. So this one of a kind necklace is sure to please whoever purchases it. Also on this necklace is a ceramic focal piece of an owl by Ceramic Bead Artist Marti Conrad -- beautiful!
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
I wanted to share this beautiful necklace made by one of my customers. She combined a couple of my beads with other beads to make this art jewelry. The porcelain focal bead with violets is one of my beads, and there is another one of mine that I have spotted ... that bead is in the top right side, the sort of white and with bluish violet at one end. I think I see another one of mine but I can't be sure its mine so I won't identify it as mine. This is a lovely necklace!
Sunday, September 18, 2011
I don't remember. I made these and bisque fired them. Then they sat waiting for me to glaze them. I have bowls and bowls of beads like this sitting around my studio.
Because there may only be one or two or three beads per style, I'm going to glaze some in the same series of glazes and put them in the same firings. I've never utilized the search function provided by Etsy, so I have written into the item description to search " pink and purple " to find beads with the same kind of glazes. I think this is so useful, that I plan to go through some of my listings on items that are already in my store and streamline that a bit more.
It reminds me of a pink decorated pumpkin, rather an odd color for fall, but I like it anyway.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
They are also very organic looking. I like making nuggets. I measure the clay out in my homemade bead measures, which are little more than a block of bisque clay with a small hole I pressed into it. Then I roll the clay into a ball, take it in my thumb and index fingertips of both hands, and squeeze and slightly twist the clay.
When I texture the clay I wait until after it is completely textured before making the stringing hole.
Friday, September 16, 2011
It doesn't matter if the underglaze gets into the stringing holes. It doesn't melt so the beads will not stick to the rods.
Last I coated them with the Pretty N Pink mayco gloss glaze. These ended up a rustic sort of delicate pretty.
Thursday, September 15, 2011
Mayco has another pink glaze which I'm sure will be just as pretty and I will eventually have to try it.
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Monday I set up for a day of glazing and this is what the table in my newly organized studio looked like before I started. I took some beads that I only had a few of, less than a dozen, and glazed them with the same combination of glazes, a purple underglaze and a pink overglaze. After I was finished I set the beads aside to dry overnight. Tuesday morning I put them in the kiln and waited. First I waited until they were fired, then I had to wait overnight to let the kiln cool down enough to take them out of the kiln. Today, Wednesday morning, even before I had a cup of coffee, I took them out of the kiln to ooooohhh and aaaaahhh over. The rest of this week I'll take photos and highlight each style of bead. Tune in tomorrow and the next few days to see the results. Thanks for stopping by!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
Since August I have been going in there every day and putting one or two things away and then closing the door. Finally this weekend I had the strength and stamina to stick with it. I put all the glazes in one place and gathered up all my bisque beads and dedicated shelf space just to them with the promise of glazing soon! DO YOU SEE ALL THOSE BOWLS OF BISQUE BEADS? Oh my! One way I relax is with a clay ball in my hands, picking off bits of clay to turn into beads. That is why I have so many one of a kind beads. Plus, I get bored awfully easy and maybe make six or so before trying something new or getting some new idea.
The other problem in my studio, besides trying to walk through it, was the vast amounts of clay I had stored in old plastic coffee cans. I think I had more than 20 of them and right now they are all washed and cleaned and in the recycling bin outside for the trash men to take away this week. I am going to try to stick to three coffee cans from now on. The more I allow myself, the more I will allow myself to store before using it all up and then I will be back in this same place in no time.
In order to put the clay into bags and not breathe all that clay dust, I went outside. It was pleasant because the temperature was in the low 90's this weekend. I used a hammer to pound on those plastic cans to get the clay to dump out into a big bowl. Then I scooped up the remains and put them in large Ziplock bags. Later I can put water in them and hydrate them as needed. However, do you see all the bags of clay behind these Ziplock bags? Do you see all the bins of clay I still have to go through. I don't know how I acquired all this clay but somehow I have to make enough pottery to use it all up. I'm thinking "EMPTY BOWLS"!
Monday, September 12, 2011
Friday, September 09, 2011
I have realized that most anything that can be done with silver metal clay (PMC) can be done with ceramic clay. And I adore metal beads. They inspire me in the same way nature inspires me. In one of these books I saw a square tube bead, okay, it was more of a rectangle than a square. It was so precise, so lovely that it thrilled my soul. And I thought to myself, 'self, you have to try to do something that precise with regular clay'. As much as I love the precise, I am rarely precise, which I probably why I am so drawn to precisely done objects. However, knowing this about myself did not stop me from getting onto the internet and buying the tool to the left along with the ClayCore Extruder Adaptor, so that if I ever wanted to work with silver clay, I could. Because it is always in the back of my mind that someday, SOMEday I will work with metal. And a torch. And a hammer. And a saw. Ahem, anyway ....
LOL! I have this problem. I really love tools. I suppose that is not the problem. The problem is that after I purchase the tools, I rarely end up using them more than once or twice. I end up back using my fingers and one aluminum knitting needle for all my decorating needs. However, I hope I will use these and maybe, just maybe, actually do some PMC (precious metal clay) work like I've been tempted to do for so very long.