Bracelet by Kathy Mortensen

I always love seeing what jewelry designers end up doing with my beads.  Kathy Mortensen purchased these 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!

Sunflower Seed Beads

These beads have had a black underglaze put on them and I wiped most of it off so the dark color would sink into the recesses.  I made five sizes, small, medium, and large.  These range from about 13 mm to 24 mm from hole to hole.

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.

New Beads

These came out of the kiln yesterday and I plan to list them later this week on Etsy.

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!

Fun Experiment with Sand and Beads

A good friend of mine brought back some sand from two of her trips. She used some of the sand in a bowl which she fired to cone 10 and it came out really neat. She gave me some of it and also some other sparkly sand and told me to have fun. So I did. I mixed each type of sand in some clear cone 06 glaze and coated each bead.

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.

Fun Necklace by Jean A. Wells

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!

Here is another photo of this necklace.  I love the background which this necklace lays upon. Notice also the bright red cardinal, it is such a beautiful bright focal piece, and the twig it sits upon has a leaf dangling from it. It’s a lovely combination!

Here is the bead of mine that Jean used.  It is made with Trinity stoneware clay, bisque fired, coated with iron oxide, wiped off, fired to cone 10 in a natural gas kiln.  I only made a few of these as I don’t have regular access to this particular gas kiln.

Click here to visit this necklace. Click here to visit Jean’s store.

Kiln Elements

I am busily making beads. So far I have 100 small harvest beads and 100 small smooth, and now I’m working on the next size up. So far I have 60 in total with 30 harvest style and 30 smooth style.   I’m trying to get enough to do 10 in 10 different glazes in each size. I haven’t decided if I’m going to do a bigger size. I might, but probably not as many.  Decisions decisions.

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.

Latest Firing

 These are what came out of the small kiln this morning.  These beads are all fired to cone 1 and have a black underglaze in the recesses.  Yesterday morning I had to rescue them from the big kiln.

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.