Tag Archives: hollow beads

A tiny bead day

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?


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Out of the kiln…

…and into the tumbler.

I’m pretty happy with how the slump beads turned out. The fine silver PMC polishes up so nicely, that I’ll take these beads one step further by polishing them on the buffing wheel. I’ll most likely do the buffing on Friday since tomorrow is a day off island for me. I have my fingers crossed that the weather won’t be too bad and there will be a 5 p.m. boat back. (Crummy weather will mean coming home on the 3:30 boat, which does not leave enough time to see the matinee.) The movie at Reel Pizza tomorrow could be “Made in Dagenham” or “127 Hours.” (R.P doesn’t list the winter matinees on their web site.) I wouldn’t mind seeing either one, and I think Mom would go for either one, though we could probably get through the day without seeing someone cut their arm off!  Considering that the median age at this matinee is 70, they’ll probably show “Made in Dagenham.”

The wire that the beads are on is temporary. It makes them easier to fish out of the tumbler. Putting wire through beads before putting them in the tumbler will also keep that pesky steel shot from getting inside and turning the bead into a rattle.

The two beads below, without wire, had holes that I thought were too small for the steel shot to get in. Wrong! Two of these are now rattle beads.  I think I remember something about tumbling beads like this in water without steel shot to get the shot out from inside the bead. I can’t understand how that would work but it’s worth a try. (Okay. The obvious pun: It’s worth a shot.)



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