May 15, 2011 · 8:24 pm
Out of the kiln and out of the tumbler.
The Pez beads have shrunk about 12%.
The next step is to oxidize the beads to darken the recessed areas.
I did not oxidize the heishe beads, since only the edges will show and I want those to be bright.
After hand polishing the oxidized beads, the higher areas are bright silver. These beads are ready to go!
May 10, 2011 · 10:49 pm
Today was a day I had looked forward to and dreaded. I made PMC beads, using a package of PMC I had purchased at a higher price than I would have paid today. Ah well, I will just have to get used to the up and down of the silver market. Once I let go of worrying about how much it cost, I got to work. It had been a while since I last worked with PMC and I sat down with a blank feeling as to what I would make first. I looked through my sketch book and made a list of the kinds of beads I wanted to make.
I started with the beads at the top of my list. Some flat “heishi” type beads made from my old scrap clay. The flat sections won’t show, but the burnished edges will, and they give a nice accent to other beads in a necklace. This is my new favorite thing to do with rehydrated dried clay. I then left off the list to make some tiny beads to use in some specific necklace designs. Tomorrow I’ll work on earring components and a few brooch ideas.
You can see the flat heishi beads in the background of the photo above. Once I used up my scrap clay, I got going on hollow beads. I made some fat coin shapes (but tiny) and some flat rectangles. The sides are smooth and the tops and bottoms are textured. These hollow beads are production pieces. I make a bunch at a time by wrapping a brass tube with metal clay, scoring it to mark off bead sections, drying it on a cup warmer, then sliding the dried tube of clay off the brass tubing. With a jeweler’s saw I cut the bead sections off the clay tube. With just a slight bit of sanding they are ready for the tops and bottoms.
I had a rectangular brass tube so I gave that a try for a batch of beads. I drilled some widthwise and some lengthwise. Do these shapes remind you of anything?