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.

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.

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

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.

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!

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 

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 ..

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.

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

Time To Start Paying Off That Rolling Mill

About a year ago, maybe longer, I purchased a rolling mill.  I played around with it for a few days but other things needed to be done and this got put away.

I try to pay for my equipment by making stuff on it and selling it until it is payed off but I have not done a thing with this so far.

Until today.

A few weeks ago I went through all my pennies and set aside the ones that were 1981 and under.  I had in mind to use them in this rolling mill.

Today I have been rolling pennies into round shapes and oval shapes.  Once I have a few more, the real fun will begin because I will etch some and stamp others.

Revisiting A Design

Brownish Red Ceramic Beads with White Rivets

I came across a few of these in bisque form the other day but alas, I had forgotten to put in stringing holes.  That is the reason, I guessed, I must not have glazed them in the first place.

This clay, Toas Red, is wonderful  It’s stoneware, and fires to a such a smooth finish, even unglazed, that if porcelain were stained brown, it would be like that (if that makes any sense).

That’s how I got the idea to combine a very white porcelain ‘sprig’ into this bead as a “rivet”.

I have got to make more of these.

New Additions to Both Stores

Peachy Teardrop Sprig Ceramic Pendant

Blue Green Asian Style Ceramic Pendant

I have been busy adding pendants to both stores.  This one on the left is a happy sort of spring and summertime pendant. I used copper strips, such as is used in stained glass making, and soldered a open backed bezel on it. Of course the solder is lead free.

And I also found this beauty hiding in my bead stash.  I don’t remember when exactly I made it. I had an stamp with Asian characters on it and was messing around with different glaze combinations by the time I got around to glazing it.

I remember thinking, Now how did I glaze this and how can I make more?  But I never did. I just made this one.


I recently set up a ‘Vine’ account … and while I have in mind to only use it for nkpdesigns sort of stuff, it has quickly evolved into a mishmash. Because I’m currently babysitting my grandkitty, I have a few grandkitty ‘vines’ up, no longer than 6 seconds.  Soon I’ll be doing all sort of neat-o pottery/bead stuff with this account ….I’m just figuring it out right now. Thanks for your patience. 

Here’s the link:

Ceramic Art Bead Market

Ceramic Art Bead Market

Select ceramic bead artists have started a new Facebook group to auction off unusual and unique ceramic beads.

It is a place for you to shop for hand crafted art beads of the highest quality. For extra fun, we plan to host regular giveaways.

All sellers go through an approval process so that the buyer is assured of a beautiful product as well as stellar service. Click on the picture on the left OR take this: Ceramic Art Bead Market to join.

Snow Day

Today we had the most snow we’ve had in the past four years, that according to the local news, of course.

In celebration, I built my first snowman that I’ve built in many many years.  Say hello to Snowy. He’ll only be around a short time.

Heat Gun and Lids

 With all the pottery making I’ve been doing lately, I had forgotten all about the heat gun I have stored in my studio closet. I pulled it out today because I’m practicing making lids.  I can quickly dry the lip and lid to fit them together using that heat gun.

The idea is to make lids until I can make them easily. Every so often I practice but I never actually get better at it … but someday if I keep practicing, maybe whatever switch that needs to switch on in my head will switch on … I like to watch pottery videos of how to make lids …some people throw them on the wheel. Others swear by handbuilding. Some use a mixture of both.

Me? I’ve failed more times than I can count, and even when I get a lid to fit, it doesn’t fit the style of the pot, usually.

I threw this cup and then threw the lid. I used the calipers.  I used the heat gun.  I fitted one on the other.  I put the lid on top of another container and swelled out the top with my fingertip. I used the heat gun again.  I put it on top of the cup.

I intensely disliked the result.

I messed with it some more (added a handle) and thought, “PRONGS” … gonna try prongs.

I still intensely dislike the result.   I got to looking at it, and decided that maybe I could put little round balls on the ends like is on some jewelry prongs, so I came up with ……

 ……. this ….

I strengthened the joints with coils of clay and while this is somewhat strange, I don’t dislike it as strongly as the previous.

This is my jumping off point … I will continue to think about this particular idea and see what it evolves into.

Thanks for stopping by.


Jewelry Making Tips

I ran across this video today in my internet adventures and wanted to share it. Many average size beads can be turned into a stunning focal bead by making loops and adding beads to dangle from it. Here are 4 different techniques to making loops in jewelry making. Have fun!

Burnishing a Pot

I am doing this today, burnishing my teapot that I worked so hard on last week. It’s kinda boring, so I thought I’d share this video instead.

Swirly Bowl

This is one of the handbuilt projects I’ve been focused lately.  I arranged the stoneware clay in coils into this wooden bowl.  I actually laid plastic in it before coiling the clay inside, this is because I wanted to be able to dump it out after a few days and smooth down the rim from the underside with a sponge.
After doing that I took a homemade stamp and stamped around the edges after I placed the it back into the bowl in which it was formed.  Not only is the stamp pretty, not only does it echo what is going on outside the bowl, but it will also give the rim added strength because the stamping compresses the clay.
Back under wraps this goes to finish slowly drying.  
Thanks for stopping by! — Natalie