Saturday, October 10, 2015

Glazing Chowder Mugs

I had this fun project of making chowder mugs.  I was going to make 6 mugs about 24 ounces each and these are the photos of that progress.

First I had to figure out about how  big to throw them.  I had a couple of false starts but eventually got close.  I am definitely not a production potter, so these are not exactly exactly the same size, but they are close enough.

After they were thrown, I put them into the kiln for their first firing. Unfortunately one had a small crack around the top of the handle after it was finished, so I had to trash that and do another one.  Another week or so passed and it was fired.

Finally there were six again.  The next step was the glazing.  First I sanded for rough spots, especially around the handle.  If I get it too smooth the glaze runs like crazy so it is a definite balancing act.  Then I rinsed off the mug so that there will be no dust. 

I applied black underglaze ink into the initials of my 'belly button' potter mark and also to the bottom. 

The next step is to wax the bottom of the mug as well as the "belly button'.

I have a small baking pan that I very slowly melt wax over the stove.  I have the exhaust fan going because the fumes from the wax are toxic. 

The worst part about waxing is the ever present peril of dripping wax on the sides.  If that happens (and it does very frequently), I scrape off the wax with a sharp razor and sand the area. If the wax is not completely gone the glaze will not stick to that area.

I don't want the glaze to stick to the bottom of the mug. If there is glaze at the bottom of the mug, the mug will stick to the kiln shelf. The glaze is basically glass on top of the pottery which when it is fully matured, i.e., 'vitrified' also has the same chemical properties as glass.  I like to think of a vitrified piece of pottery as opaque glass. 

Here they are, completely waxed and ready to be dipped into the container of glaze.

I don't have a big enough container to dip the entire mug, so I decided to half dip one side and then half dip the other. 

You may notice that there are more than six mugs. That is because I did a few extra in case something awful happened during firing, that I would have enough for my custom order.

I am using a glaze that I mixed up via the book "Mastering Cone 6 Glazes" ...it is a High Calcium Semi-Matte glaze with the recommended amount of cobalt carbonate in an amount that will not leach into the food.

Poisoning your customers is never a good idea.  ;)

The next morning I placed them all in my digital kiln and set it to fire all day. I use the 5 phase firing ramping schedule found in the back of the book, "Mastering Cone Six Glazes". 

The first time to program a digital kiln is a bit nerve racking, it's true.  However, once the firing schedule is programmed, it stays there under 'user one' and is a piece of cake to refire. 

The kiln fired all day and shut off about 9 pm that night.  The next day about 5 pm I was able to crack the kiln open and about 9 pm that night unloaded it.  I think these turned out nicely. Do you?

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Custom Mug

 It's super fun when someone messages and says, "Hey, I want a mug.  I don't care what shape or color. I just want it to hold a certain amount of liquid....but I want it to have surface decoration like you do with your beads."  (not an exact quote of course, but a fair simulation)
 I had my doubts about the design, about the color scheme. I agonized over it more than a few times.

I toyed with the idea of bright red daisies against a yellow background.

I toyed with the idea of a simple clear glaze over the entire mug.

In the end, this is what I decided.
 The surprise inside reminded me of the "Party in a Cup" series I created when first starting making pottery.

I always meant to do more of those ...so it's nice that there is a bit of a party going on in the bottom of this mug.

The bottom developed a teeny surface crack in the bottom during the firing.  It poses no problems.

When I put this in the microwave on high for two minutes, the handle was cool to the touch (score)!


Near the bottom of the belly is my potter mark, my three initials stamped into the clay.

Had a great time with this custom order. I always say, "I don't do custom orders."  But if you want a mug and you trust me with the design and implementation, I'm game if you are.

How much does it hold? It holds 3 cups of liquid comfortably (24 ounces). 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Slip Goo

I had this idea to cover the surface of this very big mug with white porcelain slip ...then I could use underglazes and get all painterly artistic about the decorating aspect of it all.  Yeah, good idea!  Except the slip was quite gooey and the brush wasn't really working.  I did the best I could. I went back and reshaped it a bit. It's drying now.  I'll trim and attach a handle later.

I couldn't help but think this would be a lovely teapot, so that's what I did. I ended up forming it into a teapot.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Math and Custom Orders

I say all the time, "NO ... I don't do custom orders...."  .... that is because, well, I don't work well under stress.  That's just how I am.

However, when I have conversations that go something like this:

Can you make (fill in the blank) and take as much time as you need ......


I want this to do that, and I don't care what it looks like afterward, you decide.

OK  ...yeah, that I can do ....

I got a request to make some 24 ounce chowder mugs and in the process of doing those, got another request for a 24 ounce mug .... and the above requests were met with a lot of smiles on my part.

I started immediately and have some decent size mugs drying on the shelf, right now! But I really don't know how much they are going to hold so I got to wondering and thought surely there are some online calculators that can determine volume for me and yay, there were. 

First I had to find a calculator to figure out how much something vertical would hold:


And because it was a large volume calculator, I had to convert the gallons to ounces. I typed Gallons to Ounces into google and a calculator popped up.

SO ...now I know in order for a mug to hold 24 ounces, it should have a finished height and width of 5 inches high and 3.5 inches wide, and that is being filled 1/2 inch to the top. 

Therefore, I need to throw to 6 inches high and 4 inches wide ...that should do it!

However, the mug in the photo above is not straight up and down.  When it is dry, when it is glazed, when it has shrunk as much as it will shrunk, it will be about 3.25" on the bottom, 5.5" at its widest and 4.5" across the top.  It will be about 3.5" tall.  

But the unfortunate thing about this volume calculator is that it does not take into account the curves involved!  Oh the curves!  The next best thing is to go to Etsy and search for 24 ounce mugs, then see which shapes most likely match mine and see what those measured.

And in less time than it takes me to sneeze (practically) I find that a finished height of 3.25" and 5" wide at the top will do the job nicely. 

I make things really hard on myself at times.  So the question: will this mug on top hold 24 ounces? I think it will.  

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Glaze Making

I am working on a stable/safe non-toxic cone 6 studio glaze.   I want to end up with three (Light, Medium, and Dark in values) .... I've been meaning to tackle this for a few years but it has take me this long to gather up the chemicals I feel safe working with.  I have a base glaze from Mastering Cone 6 glazes and the safe levels of the colorants. I'll be leaching them anyway, just in case, of course.   Here's a Vine of the supplies and tools I have gathered on my workbench.

Update: 1st Test glaze is made ... It is crazy how nervous I am about using it in my kiln. Crazy crazy. But excited. But nervous. Oooo...the beads will be beautiful, don't you think? What color will they be? I HAVE NO IDEA .... they might be blue or red or green or a bit of yellow or all of it in various hues. Or it could be brown, muddy muddy brown. I used a base glaze (clear) and added colorants in various amounts. I did write it down though so it can be duplicated (well, as much as I am able to duplicate things) ...

Monday, July 13, 2015

Peek At My Upcoming Auctions on Ceramic Art Bead Market

Here is a collage of some upcoming auctions I hope to make over at Ceramic Art Bead Market. I have the photos all done, I am just working on the descriptions at the moment.  Tonight after 9 pm I am going to tally up all the entries for the bead giveaway and announce over there who is the winner.  Because I used up the first comment with an additional photo of the beads, I am planning to use the number 2 and # of entries instead of 1 and the # of entries over at random.org.  Makes sense, right?

And at some point I will start adding these photos as auction listings on Facebook (ceramic art bead market)

Lets see ...what else is going on in the world of pottery? Oh yes, I cleaned my studio so I can again throw on the wheel. I have a custom order for chowder mugs and I am going to make them about 3.5 inches wide and about 7 inches deep, with nice thick handles for holding. That's the plan anyway.  Lets just see how that goes for me, okay, ha ha! 

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Cobalt Blue Delicate Scrolls

I have been attempting a glaze match for a couple of years for my Cobalt Blue Delicate Scroll beads that appeared in the book "Bohemian Inspired Jewelry". The bead that is the second from the left is the original.  The third and fourth from the left are previous attempts. The first bead from the left is the newest attempt.  Fail.  I thought yesterday I had finally nailed it .... but this side by side comparison shows differently.  These are all the same porcelain clay body, too.  Who knew there were so many shades of cobalt blue?

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

The Three Little Pigs

My granddaughter is somewhat obsessed with this story...so I am too. Here are the famous little ones along with the mama pig AND the Big Bad Wolf !  Mama Pig started the entire story by deciding it was time for her three piggy sons to move out ...while she gave them good advice, only one followed it.

The Big Bad Wolf is deliciously scary to my granddaughter.  She will suddenly announce, "OH NO, the BIG BAD WOLF" then she will scream and begin to run away.  

This is the second set of these beads I have made.

Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Come Celebrate With Me

I had a bit of a tease yesterday on my facebook page regarding these beads.

They are especially chosen from the batch that came out of the kiln yesterday.

Today, July 7th, marks 4 years since my very last radiation treatment.

My cancer was removed by surgery and as a precaution, I had 25 radiation treatments and 2 rounds of chemotherapy.  That was in 2011.  And today I am still cancer free.  I have one more year before I am declared by my doctors to be in complete remission, but for right now, I am cancer free.  And that is enough.

Please come celebrate with me!  To win these 27 beads, join the Facebook page Ceramic Art Bead Market .  Leave a comment on the giveaway picture that matches the one above, and in a week I'll use Random.org to pick a winner.


Monday, July 06, 2015

Bead Load in Big Kiln

These are all the beads which came out of my big kiln this morning. It took about an hour to remove them from the rods and sort them onto this tray.    Beside the tray are the rods ...lots and lots of rods!

Tuesday, June 09, 2015


I started my big kiln yesterday morning ... or at least I thought I had started it.  So there it was, 3 pm in the afternoon before I decided to go into the kiln room Hubby built to see how far along the burn had progressed.  And the digital display was blinking its error message and internal temperature (about 200 degrees F).

I turned it off and stared at it for a bit.  I thought, "What did I do wrong?"  It took me a few minutes (some days I am slower than others and obviously at that moment my brain was on sluggish mode).  I realized I had not turned on the timer.  So I turned on the timer for about 12 hours so that if the kiln over fired it would turn off. I reset the digital and stood there and watched it.  I heard the relay click for about 4 minutes without the temperature rising. 

I have this bad habit of going to the worst possible place in my mind.  At that moment all kilns were doomed to misfire. No kiln would ever worked right if I owned it, and on and on and blah blah blah.  Then it dawned on me that I forgot to push the button on the kiln setter.

I know I know ....why do I have a timer, a digital AND a kiln setter?  Yeah, well, I ordered both functions, wanting them to work separately but the company who took my order didn't understand what I wanted so basically I ended up with this very very safe kiln (that won't fire if I don't turn everything on to work in unison). 

I turned off the digital again, pushed in the plunger, reset the digital and voila!  Finally, the temperature began to rise.

BUT it was 3 pm in the afternoon and I had it on a slow bisque firing because of the heavy handbuilt items.  I wasn't thinking.  I often forget to think.

It finally finished about 2:30 am in the morning. I suppose I could have gone to sleep but I couldn't sleep until the kids got home, either, when they were teenagers.  That's just how I am.

I won't be able to unload until this evening probably.  That's okay. I loaded up the smaller bead kiln about an hour ago. It's not digital. It's just a kiln setter. So I have to go turn it up every so often, and looking at the clock just now, it is time to turn it up again.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 07, 2015

Yay for Family and Friends

Arches National Park
Hubby and I spent time with family and friends all last week.  It was a bit weird not being on the computer but I did sneak time with my phone from time to time.

We ended up going on a loop from Southern New Mexico to Northern Arizona (spent a few hours at the Grand Canyon) to Southern Utah (saw a couple of national parks) back to Taos, NM and then home to Texas.

I have a method of making clay while hubby drives the car. I hold on my lap a gallon size Ziploc bag that has about 3 lbs of clay.   I also keep a couple of dampened paper towels nearby.  I form beads one by one and place them in a small paper bag for drying. The clay can't be too wet or too dry.  Too wet and I can't make a bead and too dry and the clay dust will go everywhere. 

This week I have a huge load of beads to bisque fire and going in with those will be some cups and bowls and hand-built objects that I worked on over the last few months.  I also am planning a kiln load for glazed beads for the other kiln.  Because they run on different electrical outlets they can run at the same time.  Yay.

The photo above is one I took on my phone.  I am a bit surprised at how nice these cell phone cameras can be.  I will have lots of inspiration in the months to come.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Birdie Mold

The last time I took my bisque beads out of the kiln, I discovered that I had forgotten to insert a stringing hole into a tiny bird I had formed.  Today I took that bird and two pieces of clay and made a small mold from it.

I also took 5 pattern greenware stamps that I created and tested them out.  I liked three and didn't like two of them. So back into the recycled clay bag those two went.

I was going to glaze fire today but I actually forgot. I was sitting on my couch sipping coffee. Then I was printing out postage and double checking packages and sealing them up.  By the time I looked up, morning was gone.  It's a 12 hour firing and I don't want to be up at midnight.  Tomorrow!


Monday, May 25, 2015

Glazing and Photo Taking

I spent much of the weekend glazing beads.  I was going to fire the kiln today but other things are going to take up my time and I might not be able to remember to turn up the kiln at regular intervals.

Earlier this morning I took 97 photos and three were worthy.  For some reason every so often my camera goes on strike and will not focus properly.  Nothing much to do about that other than go back and do it all over again, which is what I plan to do before it starts raining again.

Lately I have abandoned my indoor photography studio, i.e., the closet, in favor of sunnier areas on the back porch.

This time of year is favorable for taking outdoor photos. When summer gets underway it will not matter what time of day I go outside. The light will be too harsh or too dim.

I am not a perfectionist, or at least I do not think I am.  I do like natural lighting and most times my beads look great in my photography 'closet' ...but I never quite seem to get the lush look of the shiny that beads are loaded with, and the natural lighting outside seems to do that.

It's Memorial Day, a day to remember those who died in service to this country ... so if you live in America and enjoy the freedoms this country offers, rejoice and remember those who helped to make it possible.

Thanks for stopping by -- Natalie

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Bisque Bead Buildup

This is how I relax.  I take a ball of clay on my lap and form beads.  I am glad that though my fingers are sprained, I can still make beads.  They are better today than yesterday and tomorrow they will be better than today.

When this 'shoebox' is full, I will put them into my smaller bead kiln for their first firing. There are lots of styles of beads in here. 

I typically create about 20-30 beads per sitting, and every 10 or so beads I change my texture tool, or the shape I am making.  I am left with a lot of different styles of beads.  Glazing takes a lot more effort.  I have to choose the glazes, set up the table, do a lot of cleaning up afterward.  The end result is always happy and fun.  Lately I've been working with porcelain and I don't know why I don't make more pendants. They sell really well, but I do like the simple round, taking it and attempting to decorate it in such a manner that it is not so simple any longer. 

Hey, thanks for stopping by!  --Natalie

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


I don't make many of these, beads without holes, also known as cabochons.  This one has been signed with my potter mark on the back.  It is also being offered over at the Ceramic Art Bead Marketplace on Facebook.

In other news, it was supposed to rain all day long but it did not rain.  That meant I was able to go into the front yard and pull a weed or two and so I did. Literally, a weed or two.  Turned out that my sprained fingers are not strong enough to pull those massive weeds.

Why are my fingers sprained? I had a bike accident (as in roadbike, not motorcycle) a few weeks ago.  I hit a slippery spot going downhill, not fast, but enough to when I had to turn, the bike went one way and I went the other. I was wearing bike gloves, but my fingers took quite a beating when I hit the ground.  I'm fine.  But my fingers are still healing.  Apparently it will take about 6 weeks, of which 2 have passed, that is according to Dr. Google.  But, whew, I'm fine.  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Yay for Sunlight

Finally we are having a day without rain in North Central Texas.

I have tried to take photos of this glaze inside and it does not do it justice whatsoever.

However, most glazes I am able to photograph in my homemade 'light box' without any difficulty.

I am including a photo of my set up...basically I have two hardware lamps shoved up against each other with 100 watt natural sunlight bulbs covered with photocopy (white) paper to mask the glare.  I have it set up in a closet for easy access.  On the bottom is a tray with another white sheet of paper. It doesn't get any easier than this, of course, unless the glaze only looks good outside under the REAL sun. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Giveaway at the CABM to Celebrate our 1000 Members!

Yep, it's a giveaway, one an hour. I'm slotted in for 11 pm EDT.

It's not too late to join and get in on all the fabulous giveaways.

I'm giving away this set of three Harvest Blossom Beads, one off white (creamy), one Apple Green, and one Caramel Brown.

They are all about 20 mm from hole to hole.


Friday, May 15, 2015


Who doesn't love Fridays?  Today I went and had lunch with one friend and ice cream with another friend and I'm so stuffed, I'm not even thinking about dinner and it's 6 pm, but hubby is grilling green chile out on the grill and it looks like we're going to have some leftover steak in a taco with green chile on top ....I'll make room! :)

I didn't do anything with my beads today, or my pottery. I did, however, pick a few out for some upcoming auctions, and a couple to put on my website, and a couple to put on Etsy.  So I do have a project.

These beads on the left are going to make it onto one of the sites (not sure which yet, though).  Have a great weekend!  Stay dry! Stay safe if you live in Tornado Alley!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Blogging Blogging Blogging!

I have this on Auction today on the Ceramic Art Bead Marketplace. 

Just thought I'd mention that before I begin blogging about blogging.

I very much enjoy blogging ...I like being able to look back through my months and years and remember things that were going on, things that I didn't blog about but I remember anyway.

In 2011 I went through Cancer Therapy (chemo and radiation), which was really a difficult time for me.  My mother came and stayed with me while I was undergoing treatment and that was a comfort.  I've been cancer free for four years now and after next year I will be declared to be in remission.  I have finally recovered from the cancer treatment ... and looking back I am glad I did, but at the time I think I would have gladly died.  Yes. the treatment really is that bad.

I can actually see where the blank spots are in my blog history where I did not blog at all and even then I remember what was going on IRL (in real life) ... it's all good.

This year I made the decision to keep at it, like a diary and for the most part I've done really well until April, and that is when I started participating in the Facebook Group auction "Ceramic Art Bead Marketplace" and that took a lot of time, but I think I've got the rhythm of the auctions now and realize that even if I make a mistake (or two or three) that everyone is gracious. Thank you to everyone who have been gracious with my dumb mistakes.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Yay for Delicate Scrolls!

Delicate Scrolls
I have this set for auction right now over at the Ceramic Art Bead Marketplace on Facebook.

I've paired them up for earring sets.  Of course they would make a lovely bracelet or necklace, too.

I have been told that I should do these in every color of the rainbow. Well, I'm trying. I'm trying. lol ... have a great day!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015


Ah, I love these beads but the photos I have taken of them are doing them no justice at all.

It is raining outside and the light is poor ... these are shiny so they are picking up that shiny aspect but it leaves that ugly white streak in the middle of each bead, too.

If I bring them indoors under the sunlamps, they are a bit washed out and a different sort of blue ... If I work long and hard at it, I might be able to get their true blue color but it's a rainy day and I'm thinking the couch is a lovely place to ride out this storm. :)  Have a great day!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Summer Fun

Sprig Celadon with Bursts of Browns Bead Set
I have these beads on the left in auction over on the Ceramic Art Bead Market on Facebook.

What a great little group that is!  I am certain that at some point Facebook will put a stop to these types of things, but until they do ... we are having fun in that group!

I mentioned in my last blog post that we were having 'weather' here in North Central Texas.  We made it through last evening with no tornadoes but north and east of us didn't fare as well. :(

Because the ground is saturated with rainwater, I went into the front flowerbed today and began pulling up grass and weeds.  If I went out there an hour a day, in no time at all my flowerbeds would be gorgeous.  I'm going to try.

 I'm making a list of everything I would like to accomplish this summer.  First of all, I want to be able to ride my bicycle, even if it is hot. Last summer I could not handle the heat, but this summer I hope it is different.  I also want to find time to go kayaking with my husband to some of the lakes in the area.  I hope to find a workshop this summer, even if I have to travel.  I have the feeling that it is going to be a very busy summer.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ice Blue Nuggets

I love love love heart love this new transparent glaze from Amaco "Fog" from the Celadon line.

AND this porcelain clay, a bright white
Miller WC-631 #550 from Laguna is my favorite.  It took me a long time to decide on a favorite porcelain clay. I've tried many brands, but this one is plastic and bright white ... it does fire a bit gray in reduction, but in oxidation (which is what I fire), it remains pristine white.

In other news, we are having 'weather' in North Central Texas with the normal spring tornado watches ... for those that don't know, a 'watch' is simply a weather condition which may or may not produce a tornado ...the warnings are a bit more worrisome because that means that there has been rotation detected in the upper atmosphere ... or maybe it is on the ground already, but usually it is still in the clouds. We have heard what sounded like a tornado pass overhead one or two times and even here in east of Fort Worth, experienced a tornado nearby, but so far, so good -- no tornado has taken out my house or anyone I love.  I am still surprised that every house in this area does not have a tornado shelter.  We don't have an 'interior' room to hunker down in, but we do have a hall, and so that is where we go when the sirens sound.

But hey, it's Spring! :)

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Kiln Goodies

Lots of kiln goodies going on here.  This was a cone six firing with some of the new Celadon glazes from Amaco but there are a couple of Laguna glazes as well.  And can you figure out which ones have only been glazed with a light coat of black underglaze?

Except for the yellows, these are all porcelain beads, but the yellows have sprigs of porcelain.

It is always fun to open up the kiln after a long firing.

Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Yet Another Batch

The last couple of weeks I've taken time out for family and friends and of course the spring weather has been lovely, except for a few storms here and there.

I'm back in the studio, playing with some new bead designs. The nugget beads to the left are a variation of a bead which will appear in the Fall issue BEADS 2015: The Ultimate Beader’s Resource.  I'm excited about that upcoming event.  I'd like to have a bunch finished and ready in my shop. Also appearing in this year's Fall Stringing is one of my copper beads that I've talked about earlier in this blog, so I'll also be getting out the soldering equipment in the near future to have some more available for purchase.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 09, 2015

Playing With Gimp

Aren't these beads fabulous?  I was trying to get the exact real color these are in real life.  After deciding I was going to have to retake the pictures, I gave up and started playing with some of the levels and curves, and then I messed with the directional lights .... so an hour later my beads are still not re-photographed but I sure do have a beautiful (at least to me) picture of some fantasy beads.

So what do these really look like? Well, they are a dark terracotta brown with chartreuse green in the recessed daisy texture.

Okay ... thanks for stopping by.  Gotta go finish photographing these for real. -- Natalie

Monday, April 06, 2015

It's Springtime, TIME for Happy Beads!

Porcelain Pastel Yellows, Blues, and Grays Nugget Mix
 I've been doing some fun cone six firings the last week and wanted to showcase some of what I've done. 

I have these 6 porcelain beads showcased over at the Ceramic Art Bead Market right now. If you are not yet a member of that group, you are missing out on some fantastic bead deals.

The bids typically start out at half price and not all of them are bid up to retail. It's worth your pocketbook to check them out. 

Hearts and Crosses Porcelain Bead
 Oh ...and I did mention that we have give-aways, as well?

On the right here is a bead I have put in my NKPdesigns webstore. 

It's made from porcelain clay, has the sprig technique that I adore, and I have decorated the sprigs with hearts and crosses.

I  dipped it into a black wash of undercolor so that the texture would be certain to stand out and be noticed and I used a rutile glaze.

Ocean Octopus Porcelain Bead

 On this next porcelain bead, I have textured with circles with the same glazing technique. 

I decided afterward that the circles look like the suction cups on octopus tentacles.  It's a fun texture and I am going to do more like this I think.
Turquoise Green Stoneware Ceramic Beads

Now the turquoise green beads in the next two pictures are some of my favorite firings from this kiln load.

I had taken a variety of objects to make textures with and these ended up being smash and squished until they were no longer round, but this funky potato shape and aren't I lucky that Etsy has a category just for potato shape beads?  Yay!

Turquoise Green Stoneware Ceramic Beads

 I put these four in my etsy store, but also, currently I have an auction going on for some more of these in the Facebook group:  CERAMIC ART BEAD MARKET

I also added some to my webstore and if you click on the caption (last picture), the link will take you there.  I love how the stoneware clay combined with the turquoise glaze gives a greenish hue. 

Today I have another load of bead firing to cone six. 

In the past I have written down glaze combinations and after the beads are finished firing I tend to sit on my couch and roll them around in the couch and wonder which glaze combination went with which style of bead?

But this time I took a bisque bead and a slip of paper, wrote down the glaze combination and placed both in small little bags. Now I will have all the information I will need in the event I ever want to attempt to duplicate a result.

I admit that I should do this with every firing, but sometimes I enjoy glazing in the moment, impulsively opening jars of glaze and slapping a bit of this, and a bit of that, until I have some bead that will never be duplicated (and sometimes I kinda like it that way).

Thursday, April 02, 2015

Glazing and Mailing and Good News

I am glazing beads today. I am focusing on a base of black under-glaze, used as a wash, a top coat of Chartreuse Green, and on top of that, I am going to brush various glazes for different effects.  I am planning a cone 6 firing for these.  I will post pics when finished.

In other news, woke up this morning to an international sale.  The post office (and Etsy) and has made mailing packages to other countries entirely manageable. Gone are the days of having to fill out a custom's label by hand, printing out 8 labels for addresses (four for me, four for the mailing and the post office demanded I do an entire copy for myself) ....and also gone are the days of standing in the post office line while they stood there counting their change into a drawer, or talking with each other (ignoring the customers).  I can print out the label at home, drop it off at the post office without standing in line, or (here's the best part) hand it to the postal worker at my front door. 

SO my point in that last paragraph was just to say, "I no longer dread the international order".  :)

 The other great news I'm celebrating is that 3 out of the 5 beads I submitted to BEADS 2015: The Ultimate Beader’s Resource were accepted, and one of them was one of my copper beads. They will appear in the Fall 2015 issue of Jewelry Stringing magazine. Oh yeah, I'm doing the Happy Dance.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

String of Beads - A Dangerous Doodle by Miraculous Mosquito

I thought this was fun, and so I thought I would share it with you today. I don't have my hands in the clay today; I'm outside in the garden.

Have fun and enjoy! - Natalie

Saturday, March 28, 2015

New Bead Design

I have been having fun with the clay in between working with the copper pennies.

I decided to do a combination of sprig and piercing technique and the lentil shape is such a fun bead shape.

These are intensive to create and my hand gets a bit tired of all that poking, but the end result is so pretty.

Can't wait to glaze and fire these.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Transformed Pennies

SO here we are .... sanded and sealed.

This has been quite the experiment for me and I've enjoyed the process. Hope you've enjoyed following it as well.

If you are interested in purchasing these, I will begin adding them to my website as soon as possible.

Thanks for stopping by. --Natalie

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Liver of Sulfer Patina on Copper

I'm nearing the end of this project. Today I braved the LOS part of this project. 

It was not as smelly as I thought it was going to be.

And it did not take as long as I thought it might.

All that is left to do with these is to sand lightly to bring out the texture and seal with Renaissance Wax.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Ceramic Art Bead Market series of GIVEWAYS

Dusky Seafoam Ceramic Sprig Beads
Hello Everyone. It is my turn to contribute to the Facebook Group "Ceramic Art Bead Market series of GIVEWAYS"

For a chance to win these DUSKY SEAFOAM CERAMIC SPRIG BEADS, please comment on THIS post IN the Facebook group of the same name.  CLICK HERE TO GO TO GROUP

This giveaway ends on March 26 at midnight CDT and a new one will begin.  

"I formed these beads out of a combination of stoneware and porcelain clays. The sprigs of porcelain were glazed a seafoam green, and where it is glazed over the stoneware, it appears somewhat 'dusky'. One of these is 25 mm hole to hole and the other is 21 mm hole to hole. The stringing holes measures about 1 mm."

Have fun and good luck!

Friday, March 20, 2015

The Saga Continues ...

So here I am, days later, with beautifully (I think at least) etched metal componants.

I've rolled the pennies.  Sanded the pennies.  Drawn on them. And now I have etched them.

I did not show the pictures of my gloved hands after setting them in ammonia (to neutralize the ferric chloride bath).  I used baking soda to scrub with, it provided a further neutralizing action as well as a very smooth abrasive.

I believe the next step will be to patina these.  Should I use some of the colored patinas I have purchased or the LOS that is in the mail to me as I type this.  Well, that's what I'm going to be thinking about for the rest of the day.

Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie 

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Designs on Copper Ovals

Here is a sampling of the Sharpie decorated ovals that I've been working on. I actually have two of each of these (I plan on selling them in pairs).

Today they get dipped in the etching solution (ferric chloride). 

These ovals are a thick gauge (I haven't measured other than by touch) so I plan to leave them in for 45 minutes to an hour.  I really want some definition on each one.

Thanks for stopping by ..

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Ready For A Design

I drilled holes in them last night and shined them up this morning.

Now I'm ready to put designs on them and etch them in that acid solution.  That's the fun part, putting the design on them.Hopefully tomorrow I will have something fun to show off.

My inside elbow, is actually sore this morning from all that rolling action.  I must remember not to tighten the rollers too quickly to avoid this next time.

I'm learning. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Rolled Pennies

Ooooo .... so pretty! These are all pennies minted 1981 or before.  Why that date?  Because they had a higher copper content.

Looking closely there is still the hint of the imprint of the white house on the back and Lincoln on the front.

A bit of sandpaper will take care of that. 

Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie