Glazed but Unfired

Here are some beads which I have glazed but not fired. They are in the process of drying. Tomorrow they will go in the kiln and fire to cone 1. These rounds have a simple underglaze (blue, teal, pink, green, tomato red, etc …) with a gloss overglaze that will turn clear.  Simple simple.  After they have been fired, I will be applying some of my hand-drawn Iron Oxide Laser decals. They will go back into the kiln and fire at cone 05.  I’ll post a pic here when they are finished.

Brass Beads

There are a couple of antique stores in Gruene, Texas and I couldn’t help but poke around them to see what I could find. These are some beads that I found in a bag labeled “as is” … which was fine with me because I am the type who takes apart things anyway so the fact that this was a broken necklace didn’t bother me in the least.

I recently found a glaze that fired at cone 04 will give an appearance of brass. It’s a new specialty glaze from Duncan: sy1026 “Modern Brass” is the name. 

That is why I could not help but fall in love with these bass beads on the left. I am hoping to glaze some porcelain beads this week and combine them with these.  A few gemstones would be nice… maybe jasper?  Any suggestions?

Lest One Think…

Lest one think I have given up pottery in favor of beads, let me dispel that idea.  I have been working steadily on pottery and at the moment have several bowls slowly drying waiting to be trimmed and decorated with sprigs or perhaps sgraffito. To decide, I found a youtube artist interview video on this subject. If you have an extra 9 or so minutes, this is worth your time if you are interested in this technique.

Bisque Spig Bead with Piercings

This is a combination of adding small bits of clay to a bead (sprigging) and a bit of piercing, too.

I have been working steadily on this (on the left) and these (pictured below) in my spare time for about the last two weeks.   I start off with a ball of clay, apply the sprigs, texture some of the sprigs, then begin poking.  I add the threading hole and last I add the small ‘bead cap’ sprigs to each opening of the threading hole, and poke through again.  It seems to tear if I try to do it all in one step.

I have no idea how I am going to glaze this. I am tempted to glaze the sprigs and leave the other part unglazed.  The next minute I’m like, “I’M GONNA GLAZE THE WHOLE THING… RED!!! NO BLUE! Wait … purple?”

There is a certain satisfaction looking at a bisque bead and thinking, “I like it just the way it is.”  That is probably why I have so many bisque beads in my studio laying around in various sized bags.  I have beads from 3-4 years ago, perfectly good beads but I look at them and can’t decide how to glaze them so back into the bag they go.  I don’t know what that says about me.  Sometimes I delude myself into thinking I must stop making beads until I get them all glazed.  A few days later I’m itching to make a small round thing and put a hole in it and before I know it, there I am with a lump of clay. Oh my!

Texas Clay Festival

I went to the Texas Clay Festival this year and, of course, got the tee-shirt, which is quite yummy and comfortable.  It was so warm it felt like spring. Back in Fort Worth it was acting like spring in that a tornado touched down a few miles away. It was an F zero, so it wasn’t a big tornado. But in Gruene, Texas, the weather was fine, so fine.

On the way there and on the way back, I made small beads, sprigging and texturing them. It was something to do in the car, a bit hard a times because the road was jostling, but it was do-able.  Obviously I wasn’t driving. ha ha

Today I am getting a bisque load of pottery ready to fire and the beads I formed will be dry enough to go in there as well. The photo of the bead I am sharing is one I made a while ago. On one side it is a bee, the other a flower. It reminds me of spring, which is what it feels like again this week.

Straw Bead

I was tempted to call this a “straw berry” bead, because it is round like a berry and I used the end of a small straw to indent this bead with circles.  I utilized an underglaze to further emphasize the circles and coated with a clear gloss glaze to fully bring out the texture.

This was one of those “I’m Bored I Wonder What This Will Do?” moments.  I only have this one bead of this type, but I think it would be fun to make more.

Red Glaze over Stoneware makes a Luscious Coral!

I fashioned a stamp out of clay to make these textures.  After rubbing in and wiping off a black underglaze, I coated these stoneware rounds with a red glaze.  It is a most interesting combination, one I’m not quite finished exploring as of yet.

Dark Green Sculpture Bird Bead

This is a dark green glaze on a dark brown clay, which makes it doubly dark.  The bird is hand formed, wings added with the sprig technique.  It is a small sculpture, one of a kind of course.

The hole is situated to be from the top of the back to through the belly.  This birdie needs to fly away to a good home! You might be able to find it in my etsy store in the Bead Sculpture section.

Sprigging Technique

The ‘sprigging’ technique is when a small bit of clay is added to another piece of clay. In this case I formed a round bead and added small dots of clay, then textured it with a special tool to get this effect.

These cobalt blue textured beads are great for the casual yet whimsical design.  These are approx 14 mm and 15 mm at their widest.

I am planning on making more of this design, but in other colors and sizes. Right now these two are all I have in this particular design.   Here’s the link if you are interested in purchasing these: Cobalt Blue Sprig Rounds

Frost clay vs other White Clay

I have not yet settled down into one body of clay. I like all of them, porcelain, stoneware, earthenware.  This particular bead is made from a mid-fire clay called “Frost” from Leguna Clay company.  It is very different than the other white clay I use called “B-Mix” which also from Leguna Clay company.  Both of the Pendants I featured in two earlier blog posts this week were each made with the “B-Mix” Leguna Clay.

The Frost clay is has a very different sheen than the B-Mix clay.

If you are trying to match a certain bead with a certain color, it can work, but the clay bodies all have such different qualities it is like mixing two different styles. Sometimes it works, other times it does not.  And of course, please do ask if you have any questions about the clay body of a certain bead.

Paintbrush Texture

I used a grape purple underglaze to bring out this texture. It’s kind of a strange shape so I thought I would explain where it came from.  I had a couple of very old paintbrushes and the bristles finally fell out. I was left with these oval empty shapes on a stick. I got to thinking they might be fun to play with.

This is what I ended up doing, pressing them into this round bead. If you really really like it, ask me and I’ll make more.  Of course, it won’t be exactly the same, but I can make it in a bunch of different colors. Just let me know what you’d like and I’ll do my best to accommodate. 

This bead is approx. 15 mm from hole to hole and is made from a very white Leguna clay named ‘frost’.

Another Lavender Pendant

I had this lavender glaze out and liked it so much that I made quite a few things with this color.  I was thinking Jewelry Designers would appreciate having some similar, but unique, items to choose from.

This was made a portion of a commercial stamp. The stamp is quite big and only part of it covered this pendant, but I like how the design turned out.  I can see a daisy and a scroll, part of a paisley, and a lovely wavy line.

Never Noticed!

I didn’t notice until I photographed this pendant that there is a small splash of grape purple glaze near the bottom right hand side.  It is just a small little spot. I am hardly able to spot it with my naked eye. Nonetheless it is there, glaringly obvious thanks to my camera’s macro lens.

When I do add this one to my Etsy store, it will be discounted appropriately.  It goes nicely with those Lavender Textured Tablets in the previous post.

I added small round beads to this hand shaped rectangle and used a drill tool bit to imprint a screwdriver like pattern.  This was one of those impulse things I do every now and then.  It’s not large, only 24 mm from top to bottom and 16 mm wide.  It’s dainty for a pendant.

Underglazes are Fun!

I have lately been enjoying applying underglazes into various textures.  I like how it brings out aspects of the bead which might not be noticed otherwise.

I didn’t make many of these. This is it.  But if you find yourself in love with this texture and would like to see them in a different color, just send me an email ( with Textured Tablets in the subject header.

I also have a couple of pendants in this same clay body and glaze color that will show up on Etsy the next few days as well.

Other Popular Bead Designs

This is a dot and line pattern that I acquired from the back of one of my favorite earrings.  Typically I make these at 20 mm because the design looks best on this size. I have tried to make them smaller, but they just don’t look the same.  The smallest size of bead that this pattern looks nice is approx. 15 mm.

These beads were coated with a black underglaze and the excess wiped off. Then I covered each bead with a light blue gloss glaze.  In the sunlight these just have lots of depth and value.  Indoors, they are muted and wonderful as well.

Delicate Scroll pattern

Here’s a design  I have enjoyed playing with.  It’s a button texture that I press into each round.  I add an underglaze and wipe off the excess before coating with a clear gloss glaze.

I usually sit down and create the ‘blank canvas’ of these 300 at a time.  After they are bisque fired they are put in a Ziplock bag so they do not get dusty. Then, I’ll take out 5-10 at a time and glaze them. I try to make a lot of different colors so they are individual, and of course, each firing of the same color comes out a bit differently as well.

Usually these are around 12-13 mm, but I have been known to make them as large as 21 mm.  If you ever want any of these, in whatever size or color, just let me know.  I’ll do my best to match or find you the color you want.

Green Lined Squares

These beads are are the result of one of those times I just sit around with clay in my lap and fool around.  I only made these two. 

At the time, I had in my mind to roll 50, 20 mm rounds.  After every 5 or so I had to break free and do something different. I enjoyed making the rounds, but I also enjoyed taking a break and doing something different.

When it came time to glaze these, I just grabbed a color I thought would look neat.  I don’t remember which glaze I used.  I was just fooling around.  Eventually I add them to my Etsy store. Maybe today. Maybe tomorrow.