Tag Archives: SueBeads

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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Sue Kennedy’s beads!

I love combining interesting handmade beads with my own beads. Especially lampworked glass beads. I wish I had the time and the set up to do it myself but that’s a whole other learning curve that I’m not ready to approach. And why do I need to when I can buy amazing beads from Sue Kennedy at SueBeads?

Sue’s blog  is in the list, on the right, of the blogs I follow regularly. Whenever I look at her Etsy Shop I see something I want or need or both!

Here are the beads I have my eye on to buy next.  I can’t decide between that set or this one.  (There’s a good chance I’ll go right from posting this blog to her Etsy shop to buy them.) Because I like a matte finish on the beads I combine with my own beach rocks and silver beads, I usually ask Sue to etch them for me before sending them. She has always been willing and gracious about doing it and she ships very quickly. 

This style is my new favorite:IMGP4387

See how the etched finish makes them look like a treasure I just found on the beach?



Sue’s beads enhancing my beads:IMGP4450 IMGP4406 IMGP4430

When I buy Sue’s egg-shaped beads, I ask her to also etch them. See the speckled eggs at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock?IMGP4395


The first beads I ever bought from Sue were the etched clear beads with trailings of fine silver. Her silvery long green focal beads have inspired me too. (Upper left of second photo.)

IMGP4061 IMGP0486


Right now Sue is featuring a great selection of her enameled rondelle beads in her Etsy shop. Last year I was randomly chosen to participate in a blog hop with these beads. Blog hops and challenges are a great way to shake up your creative juices.IMGP1501

Recently, I was looking for a knitting project I had stuffed into my mess of a linen/storage closet last December. Look what was in the bag with the yarn!



An order from Sue I had stashed away when the holiday madness was taking over. I don’t know why they never made their way into my studio. What a cool surprise to find them again, just when I need some new beads to work with as I add to my summer jewelry inventory. I believe the bumpy beads on the left were a little gift Sue added in with my order. While they are not the style I usually choose from Sue’s shop, I found them to be the perfect catalyst for a new earring design.IMGP4575


Do you have a favorite bead maker or Etsy shop that inspires you? Share the love!


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My first challenge from SueBeads

When Sue Kennedy posted a challenge on her blog last week, I thought, “Sure, I’ll add my name!” and I crossed my fingers to be picked. I check quite a few beady blogs every day and the generous jewelry designers who write these posts often have giveaways or challenges. Leave a comment on the site and your name goes into the hat for a chance to participate. In the case of a challenge, those who are picked come up with a design using the chosen beads and then post a photo of their piece and the links to the blogs of the other lucky participants. It’s known as a blog hop.

Hmmm…..earrings, necklace or bracelet? I’m still mulling it over while I work on other deadlines. The reveal for this challenge is May 26.

Thanks Sue!       I love Sue”s beads. You can check out her amazing stuff for yourself at her Etsy shop.


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New beads from SueBeads

I love getting new beads from Sue Kennedy’s Etsy shop. Her lampworked beads with dots of silver are one of my favorites. (Thanks Sue for the surprise extra pair of beads you added to my order!) I’m a pretty regular reader of her blog, and when she mentions new work I go straight to her shop to check it out.

I especially like how her etched (frosted) clear glass beads combine with the German lampworked beads I recently purchased from Beadin’ Path in Freeport, Maine.

A reminder:  Today is “Small Business Saturday.”  This holiday season let’s all do our part to shop small businesses as often as possible. Consider a craft fair, your local hardware store, the art gallery in town, the florist, the independent book store, or a small business commerce site on the Internet.

Where do you recommend shopping in your town?


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Bravely opening the etch cream

Or as my friend Holly and I like to call it, the “fatal etch cream.”  Wow. Don’t you just love being brave enough to try something that has the words: “Danger: May be fatal,” right on the bottle?  (Well, me neither, most of the time.)

In this instance, the product is a small bottle of cream containing Amonium/Sodium Bifluorides used to etch glass. Sure this matte finish on glass could also be achieved in a tumbler with some sand from the beach, but today I was going for more instant gratification.

I never really thought about etch cream until I took a lampworking class with my friend Holly at the end of February in Rockland. Some of our more creative attempts at making glass beads produced colors we didn’t really like. Virginia Slawson, of Playing with Fire, said, “You know, those could have a whole different look if you etched them.” We discussed different ways to etch glass and the last time I was at A.C. Moore in Bangor I picked up a little bottle of fatal etch cream.

I am not set up to make my own glass beads (yet), so I  love to buy them. One of my favorite glass bead artists is Sue Kennedy of SueBeads. I’m always checking her blog to see what she has added recently to her Etsy site. The beads I am most drawn to are the ones with a matte finish; the ones she has etched.


Below a pair  of  Sue’s etched glass beads with a pair of copper beads I made last week.

I also bought some shiny glass beads in shades of purple. I especially love how the light comes through the beads in front.

But see the ones in the back of the photo above? (I know, they’re out of focus.) Here is a better shot:

I bought these beads specifically to try etching myself.  I’m sure Sue would have done it for me if I had asked her when I ordered them. I had a hunch that I would really like how the lines and colors showed up if I etched them.

et voila! I left two of the six beads un-etched for comparison. Also, if I  ruined the ones I altered, I would at least still have 2 that I liked. The cream took longer to work than I thought it would, and it still makes me a little nervous to use it, but I’m happy with the results.




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