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!
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?
Another of the necklaces I made this week. Another rainy day photograph.
This necklace shows a little history of my bead making with precious metal clay. The toggle clasp and washer beads are from this year, and most of the others were made in previous years. The beautiful round patinated copper beads are from Shannon LeVart of Miss Ficklemedia. Her range of patinas inspired me to find some of my own copper components to try my hand at patina. The smaller, flat oval-shaped beads are from my first attempts with Shannon’s Verdigris patina.
There are beads in this necklace that were formed over a Cheerio core. A round bead formed over a ball of wax, and two beads from the series I made for my entry to the Saul Bell Design Competition in 2006.
Making beads is one of my most favorite things to do!
The center bead is fine silver metal clay, made from a mold taken from a goldenrod stem gall. I call it my pod bead. As I was trying to decide which of my other beads to include in the necklace, Sue Kennedy posted some dark glass pod beads on her blog. I went to her Etsy site and snapped them up right away. I knew they would be the perfect match for my pod bead.
I love finding beads made by other artists to combine with my own. I am drawn to the work of others who like making beads as much as I do. I made all the silver PMC beads in this necklace. Two are made from molds taken from beach rocks, and four of them are the drape beads I learned to make in Fred Woell’s workshop. The clasp is one I made a while ago for another necklace. The bunch berry leaves I used in the clasp will be coming up again soon, now that it’s spring.
The freshwater coin pearls were just the right color match for Sue’s beads. I’m happy with how everything came together. I wish the sun had been out today for better photos. (I wish the sun would just come back out period.) I was in an hurry anyway as I took the photos late in the day. I didn’t get everything done today, but I am satisfied with what I accomplished. Clean fridge, sourdough bread made, clean closet, organized dresser, tidied up studio, suitcase packed, and now daily blog post finished!
After stringing this beach rock necklace, I decided I did not find it very interesting. Too symmetrical, or predictable. I like the peanut-shaped glass seed beads, but not necessarily with the beach rocks in this design.
I took the necklace apart and used some of the same beach rocks in a different sequence, with additional beach rocks and different handmade silver beads. I’m a lot happier with this one.
Sometimes I have to make necklaces I don’t like, before I can make the ones I do like.
A while back I started a batch of fine silver PMC beads to pair with green raku beads made by Keith O’Connor that I picked up at the Beadin’ Path in Freeport in January.
My PMC beads, fired and tumbled…
liver of sulphur patina added…
final polish after patina…
I alternated the silver and raku beads in a symmetrical necklace, about 18″ long.
I had only three of Keith’s beads remaining, which made me stretch to come up with a way to use them. I didn’t want to make earrings and end up with a solo bead that had no place to go. So I looked for beads to combine to make an asymmetrical necklace. I think I ended up with an interesting combination. This kind of necklace takes me much longer to make, but I always have a blast doing it.