I didn’t blog much all winter but I did make a lot of beads.

I love to make beads. I love to use beads made by others. If I had all the time in the world and could set up an area in my studio to do something new it would be to  make lamp-worked (also called flame-worked) beads. I’ve tried it in a workshop and I know that learning to make these beautiful beads would take too much time away from my love of Precious Metal Clay. It would take years to develop the skills I want to have to make glass beads. So, there are a few glass bead makers from whom I buy regularly.

One of them is Susan Kennedy of SueBeads.  Here is the link to her Etsy Shop where I first discovered her fine work. Now I’m more apt to see her latest ideas on her FaceBook page. In the middle of March  Sue  posted some beads I had not seen before. Scarabs. I had to have some! And when the wonderful beads arrived, I knew I wanted to try making some in silver, to use in a necklace along with her beads. I sent her a private message, asking her permission to make a silicone mold of one or two of her scarabs so I could reproduce my own hollow scarab beads in silver from PMC. She was totally supportive and I knew it would inspire a future blog post, as long as my beads came out as I hoped.

Below are photos of my process, followed by some finished pieces.

Sue’s scarabs are embedded halfway in plastocene, ready to have the two part mold material pressed on top.


The finished molds with metal clay pressed in to pick up the design. I made two halves from each mold so that my hollow beads would be two-sided.

My silver clay beads before firing, next to two of Sue’s beads.


Sue’s glass beads on top, my silver beads on bottom. These guys are now ready to party together!


I made four different necklaces using each of Sue’s beads. In three of the necklaces I combined my scarabs with hers.

This is the only necklace without one of my metal scarab beads. Only because I haven’t yet worked on making some in bronze. You can see Sue’s scarab bead setting the tone for the bright colors in the necklace. There are glass beads made by a few other artists as well as the beach rock and sea glass that I drilled, and some African glass beads. The metal beads are ones I made from bronze metal clay.

Below is one of my more traditional beach rock necklaces. I love how well Sue’s beads combine with the organic beads I make. Notice the other two pod-like silver beads. They are made with a mold I took from a goldenrod stem gall. (I’m always on the lookout for unusual things to mold. When I made the stem gall mold a few years ago I had to look it up to see what it was called!)


Another rock necklace. I really like how Sue’s scarab on the left balances with the longer piece of sea glass on the right. Two silver scarabs are farther up on the necklace. The rondelle stones are turquoise. The beach rocks come from the island where I live. I drill them myself to use for beads.


This last one is a lot lighter, and might be my favorite of the bunch. I made all of the scarab necklaces one after another because I was so excited about the beads. In this last necklace, Sue not only made the scarab bead, but also the ammonite bead. The sea glass pieces come from the Northeast coast of England and I also drill them to make  beads.


Now these necklaces are off to galleries for the start of the summer season. Time to get back to making more beads and seeing if Sue has any more scarabs.


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14 responses to “I didn’t blog much all winter but I did make a lot of beads.

  1. Oh my goodness – those scarab beads are amazing! Love Sue’s beads…she is my “go to” lampworker! :) Your necklaces are nothing short of gorgeous!!

    I took a one day lampworking class years ago – I had the same reaction that you did. Perfecting the techniques would totally consume my being! :) Now, I just buy, adore, and drool over the amazing lampwork beads available!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Patti, thanks! I know you and I LOVE Sue Kennedy’s beads!


  3. Donna Shockley

    Hi Barb! Would you consider listing all the galleries where your work is available? I know Islesford, and the Maine State craft place in Gardner (I think it is…..) but I’d love to know where else we might see your gorgeous pieces. Thanks! (And love all the pix of your precious grandson!)


    • Hi Donna,
      Sure. I should update gallery information on this blog too. I guess I really got away from it for a long time.
      All of the galleries where I have work available this summer are in Maine. I just dropped off work today at KoT Gallery next to Flex-it Cafe in Ellsworth. They also have a great FB page!
      So, KoT, then Chapter Two in Corea, Center for Maine Craft in Gardiner, Archipelago Gallery in Rockland, and Good old, Winter’s Work on the dock in Islesford. I’ll put this up soon in a blog post with the links. But…I’m of to see that little Henry on Wednesday. I can’t wait!


      • Shockley Donna

        Thanks, Barb! We’ll be in Maine a couple times this summer so will keep my eyes out for your work. It’s so unique and just beautiful. You certainly have a gift! Have a wonderful summer and enjoy every minute with your family. Donna >


      • Thanks for the compliment, Donna. I hope our paths cross at some point when you are up this way.


  4. Liz

    Your metal scarab beads came out great! You have such a beautiful sense of balancing beach rocks with more traditional beads — nothing is overwhelming, each part supports the whole. The synergy is amazing, everything sing together in perfect harmony.


    • Thank you Liz. I was really happy with how they came out. I try to add my own beads to every piece I make. It is really fun to try to mix and match with the beach rocks and whatever else I have on hand. I do find that Sue Kennedy’s beads mix especially well with my own. So glad I found her work!


  5. Your metal scarab beads came out great! You have such a beautiful sense of balancing beach rocks with more traditional beads — nothing is overwhelming, each part supports the whole. The synergy is amazing, everything sing together in perfect harmony.


  6. Niky sayers

    Wow, these are just stunning! I love your designs they are all just amazing!!!


  7. Wow! Love how you created beads to go with Sue’s. The silver beads are perfect with her colors. All the necklaces are beautiful but I really love the last 2 in the green colorway!


  8. Pingback: Component of the month… | Barbara S Fernald Jewelry

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