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.

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.

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?

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.

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).

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 …