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.