Beautiful Necklace by Jean A. Wells

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!

Beautiful Necklace

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!

Another Set of Pink Ceramic Beads with Purple Underglaze

Here is another set. I only made these three. That’s it. Just these.  I just noticed these kinda look like a zebra stripe.  I’m trying to remember what I used to texture these. Was it the same rod I pierced them with or did I roll them over a texture?  And if I did roll them over a texture, which texture did I use?

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.

Here is a bead that I used my piercing rod to add lines onto before adding spiral sprigs onto. I also used this same spiral sprig for the end caps. It is a very pretty bead and there is only just one in this batch, just this one.

It reminds me of a pink decorated pumpkin, rather an odd color for fall, but I like it anyway.

Pink ‘N’ Purple Textured Nuggets

I textured these just to see how they would come out.  I think nuggets are a fun sort of bead to play with in jewelry designs. They’re funky, they’re random, they’re playful.  The can be used individually for emphasis or strung together for that cool Flintstone’s sort of look.

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.

 I also have the same texture in these egg shape beads.

Pink ‘N’ Purple Nuggets

 It didn’t take long before I thought of a better way to apply the Pueblo Purple underglaze.  I added water until it was the consistency of Kool Aid.  Then I placed each nugget onto a bamboo skewer and dipped them into the small cup.  After they dried, I lightly wiped them off with a sponge. This method was less wasteful because less underglaze had to be wiped off.

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.

Pink ‘N’ Purple

These are handformed rounds that I pressed a stamp of daisies and flowers onto.  The purple underglaze was applied and rubbed off with a sponge. That left the dark purple glaze in the recesses.  This is a Pueblo Purple underglaze from Duncan.  Next I coated the bead with Pretty ‘N Pink gloss glaze from Mayco. Like many of Mayco glazes, the Pretty ‘N Pink glaze has been discontinued. 

Mayco has another pink glaze which I’m sure will be just as pretty and I will eventually have to try it.

Glazing Glazing Glazing

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!

Studio Stuff

I have been attempting to straighten and clean my studio since before April.  I would have taken a before picture but frankly, it is way too embarrassing.  The last several months I stuck anything and everything into that small converted bedroom I lovingly call ‘my studio’.

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”! 

Nuggets and Rounds with Turquoise Rivets

SO I was making some rounds with these wonderful turquoise rivets and had to make some small nuggets with rivets too.  These are both in greenware form and will have their first firing tomorrow. I made about 20 of each!  The rounds are small, right now about 11 mm, but after their bisque and glaze firing should end up between 9-10 mm, the same with the nuggets.

My Good Buys

I bought yet another book on silver metal clay last week. I love those books.  I pore over the pages just awestruck by the imagination of these clay metal artists.  They are so talented and come up with the most wonderful designs ideas.

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 …. 

It came yesterday and after fiddling with it for five minutes I realized I had a problem.  The extruder discs were all too small to work properly with the extruder adaptors.  SO today I bought these extruder adapters on the right and they will be here in a few days.  Then the experimenting will being in earnest.

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.

Small Rounds

And the last from this batch of bisque beads, are these plain rounds, which are approx. 12-13 mm.  I am going to glaze them with the same coral glaze that I’ve been glazing the coral sprig beads I have been designing.  I think I made about 40 of these small ones.

More Seed Pods

This style was a lot of fun to make last time so I made three more, these are about 22 mm.  The one on the bottom has no textured areas, so it is different from the two on top.

These are time consuming to make but they make for a quiet relaxing afternoon.  I am also trying to decide how to glaze these as well: Blues or greens?  Suggestions?

Another New Bead Style

This is an bead shape that I made from a mold off a vintage metal bead off a necklace that a friend’s mom gave to me.  It is a little nut of some sort and I added end caps to each bead.  I’m thinking I will glaze these a neutral color of some sort, a greenish moss or a mossy brown.

New Bowls

I designed the glaze on this bowl badly. I should have tested it on some beads first. Actually, I think this would be a great glaze combination on some beads, but on the bowl it simply does not work. The bowl is still functional, even with the crawling of the glaze, but most people do not want a crawling glaze inside their bowls.

So what is the glaze combination? Well, the Mayco cone 6 Oatmeal glaze was dried out when I opened it. I added water but perhaps I added too much? When it had dried over a cone 6 turquoise Mayco glaze, it immediately began to flake away. I knew I would have problems even before I put this bowl (and two others like it) in my kiln. I should have washed off the glaze and used something else, but I thought, “Hey, maybe it will look cool.

These aren’t big enough to give to Empty Bowls. Nor are they good for selling or giving away as presents. But if I keep them around and use them I’ll remember not to apply that particular bottle of oatmeal glaze on anything else besides beads.

The other problem is the oatmeal glaze covered up the turquoise glaze in the letters, so the words are hard to read.

Below are photos of the other bowls with this same problem.

Kind of a New Bead Style

I’ve made these before, but not with the endcaps.  This texture is from a strange little button I found that I made a mold from.

I haven’t decided whether or not to glaze the endcaps the same color, a different color, or not at all.

New Bead Style

I’ve made some similar to this before, but these are more barrel/oval shaped than round.  The base is a stoneware clay from Texas Pottery and the textured sprigs are a cone 5 stoneware/porcelain called “B- Mix” from Laguna Clay.

I only made six of these beads.  I haven’t decided how I’m going to glaze them yet.