Monday, January 21, 2019

Making Beads Doing the Twist

Not too long ago I came across a package of beads deeply hidden in my stash.  I had purchased them at least 10 years ago in Freeport, Maine at The Beadin' Path, a wonderful bead store that is no longer in business.
There was a strand of beads that I really love nestled in among that long ago purchase.
Strand of Vintage Czech Glass Mottled Twist Brown Beads

 I thought I would try to make a set out of ceramic clay.  The tag gives a small  clue on how they might be made. ( see text under photo above)

I tried rolling out some round beads and twisting them but that didn't work.  Then I got the idea that if they were first made into a 3-d disk bead that maybe that might  work. That seemed to be the answer but the twist was more complicated that I had thought.  I put my fingers on the glass Czech bead to get an idea of how to I would have to twist them.  It was quite awkward as the fingers on each hand would have to go in the opposite direction.  I persevered and the first set of beads I made is in the picture below.

Since I did not take into account that my clay shrinks 12% during the drying and firing process, mine are rather smaller than the original strand but I am  happy to use them in some of my freeform peyote stitch work.  I have a bracelet I am working on that they would go well with.


I also made some in blue and white to see how they would look. 

If I make more of the blue and white beads I think I will skip the white part and just have them in blue.    

But the first set of beads--  I am just crazy about the color and have been trying  it on other pieces as well.

Small stoneware pendant  by Mary Harding
I was quite happy with  how the above pendant came out and surprised how the colors had morphed during the glaze firing.

So I tried it again on a larger piece and was more than happy with the result

              Statement size pendant by Mary Harding  trying out what i learned from the smaller one.
Statement size pendant by Mary Harding  a variation on the one above

For me what works when I am creating is to follow my passion on however circuitous a route it takes me.  In the end it will bring me directly to my heart and soul.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my post.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

The Darkest Blues

My most recent work is creating dark blue stoneware ceramic pendants.  Not so easy as it is a mix of glazes to get the right color.  I love how these came out and I like to call them  "The Darkest Blue."  Will I be able to replicate them in future pieces?  I am not sure.  I did make note of what I did in my "Clay Notes"journal.  Today I plan to go to my studio which is about 500 feet of 6 inches snow away from our warm and cozy house which is in the middle of a snow storm.  I think the snow is supposed to stop in about 5 hours and will probably taper off sooner than that. I am determined.

Stoneware Ceramic Leaf  Darkest Blue by Mary Harding

Stoneware Ceramic Queen Ann's Lace Flower Heads  Darkest Blue by Mary Harding

                      Stoneware Ceramic Pendant Two Holes Queen Ann's Lace  Darkest Blue by Mary Harding

 Stoneware Ceramic Pendant  Queen Ann's Lace Darkest Blue by Mary Harding

Stoneware Ceramic Leaf  Shard Darkest Blue by Mary Harding

Two of the pieces are still available in my Etsy shop. I have noted that fact  under the picture.  I will update when they are no longer available.
Thanks so much for stopping by.

Saturday, January 05, 2019

New Stoneware Pendants What are all those brown specks?

Thistle Pendant made from speckled stoneware ceramic clay.  It was by chance that I used this speckled clay to make some pendants and toggle clasps with.  In fact I did not even really know that it was speckled.  When I opened the kiln and got these pieces out I thought that they looked darker than usual.   When I looked more closely I saw the dark specks.  At first I was not sure if I liked them.  That kind of uncertainty when one first opens the kiln is not unusual.  It takes some good daylight and time to fully see what you have since expectations truly do color your vision at first.  I was not expecting the speckles so what  I was seeing was these pieces as they should have been and was a bit disappointed. A few hours later I had changed my mind.  I could see  how wonderfully the dark specks were interacting with the other colors in the pendants. I decided they were great--they reminded me of raku work that has had sawdust thrown on it. So I listed all of these in my Etsy shop.  It a couple of days they were all SOLD except for the Wild Grass Pendants.

Colorful Queen Ann's Lace

Tall Thistle Pendant

Wild Grass Pendant in my Etsy Shop

Toggle Clasp with hand wrapped wire bar

Toggle Clasp with Miss Ficklemedia Toggle Bar

I would like to make more but will have to wait until I get more of that speckled clay, the clay I didn't know I had in the first place.  Lucky accident, right? 

Raku Bead Video Part III