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mysticspiral
12-15-2003, 12:07 PM
Since I posted my results first in the last challenge, I get to set the challenge this time around. Once again, the challenge will last 1 month and the first person to post beads made specifically in response to the challenge gets to choose the subject for the next one.

In honor of the winter doldrums, and the piles of sweaters and warm turtlenecks, I'm going to suggest, as far as our beadmaking is concerned, that we take our cue from the trees and shed all those extra layers and get back to basics...

I couldn't decide whether to title this challenge "Expose yourself" or "Show Me the Body"... In honor of all those naked trees out there, lets do some "naked beads".

Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to spend part of this month making beads in which the most prominant design feature is the clay itself...

You can do colored clay. You can do textured beads with stains applied and wiped off. But try to do something with bare clay. (I'll make an exception for agateware if anyone wants to go there since agateware looks best with a clear glaze but the clay itself is still the focus of the design...)

So, there's the challenge. I'll post some examples later.

Happy Holidays,

Andi.

earthenwood
12-15-2003, 06:46 PM
This is a great challenge! I have been getting many ideas since I read it this morning! I once bought a sample pack of clays from Laguna, all in different colors, and I hope to use some of them. I was thinking that I dont make beads with my tile clay ever, or the terra cotta i have, so this will be a good opportunity!

I read once about the Chinese potters, I think, refering to clay as bone and glaze as flesh. That's the first thing that came to mind.

I will try to give some examples tomorrow of beads that I have made or that others have made that fit this challenge, for ideas...

sadiesjewels
12-15-2003, 08:09 PM
Since I'm late on the previous challenge and am more than likely going to be late on the next one I feel a trifle bit of a fraud ... lol ... but I'll give it a go ... please count me in ... looks as though I will need another small kiln!

Sadie

mysticspiral
12-16-2003, 01:18 AM
One of the reasons that I chose this theme for the challenge is that I hoped that it might make it easier for the lampwork artists (and others who aren't doing ceramic beads full time) to participate.

What I will be doing for my challenge beads (I started working on them as soon as I had the idea for the challenge) is deeply carved beads with either glaze or stain applied and then wiped away so that it remains only in the creases...

Iron oxide is an inexpensive stain, available from most pottery supply houses. It is non-toxic. It doesn't flux (much) so you don't have to stilt or suspend stained beads. You can fire beads stained with iron oxide piled into a bowl the same way that you would fire bisque.

Other oxides and pottery stains available from the same sources (unfortunately, none as safe as the iron oxide) will give you other colors.

If your carvings are deep enough, you can use a glaze in the carved recesses and leave the high spots bare. In this way, you can usually fire the beads in a single layer on a bare porcelain tile brushed with a little kiln wash (or bead release in a pinch)...

Exposed clay is also perfect for bonfired or pit-fired beads... I think that Melanie said that there was an excellent article on low-tech firing in the clay beads magazine recently released by Lapidary Journal.

Good luck and have fun.

Andi.

earthenwood
12-16-2003, 11:15 AM
I was going through my vast collection of beads, and I realized how much the subject of this challenge has meant to me over the years. I found many examples of bare clay beads that I have made and collected. I wanted to share the eye candy (chocolately terra cotta candy...mmmmm)

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Dec-2003/27951-unglazed1.jpg

Picture 1: Two amuletic like necklaces. The Left one features Andi's beautiful carved leaf (sorry for the bad picture...I know she has a better one) mixed with my unglazed porcelain pumpkins and some PMC beads I made. The Right is an old necklace I made with the peapod in the center using two colors of clay.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Dec-2003/27951-unglazed2.jpg

Picture 2: These are beads made by Dana Swisher that I bought years ago. Looks like three different clays, with stamps. If anybody has any info about this artist...please contact me. I would love to get a hold of her for our ceramic bead group. I think she is out West somewhere...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Dec-2003/27951-unglazed3.jpg

Picture 3: The top image is a stoneware box with collaged beads and charms (glued in after firing) The bottom necklace is Terra cotta box with a nut wired in and terra cotta and salt fired porcelain.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Dec-2003/27951-unglazed3b.jpg

Picture 4: Two animal beads I made from fine stoneware, painted with underglaze for color, and eyes glazed with metallic glaze. The coati bead on the left has a labradorite cab in its belly, which was glued in after firing.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Dec-2003/27951-unglazed4.jpg

Picture 5: Assorted terra cotta beads, some with partial glaze. The thing about working with unglazed clay is that you really have to concentrate of the form of the object. These are various nature inspired beads I made in college.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/16-Dec-2003/27951-unglazed5.jpg

Picture 6: A vessel with partial accent glazing, and a teapot bead with glazed areas.

Speaking of teapots, some of my favorite things in the world are Chinese Yixing teapots. They perfectly represent this challenge, as they are made entirely of unglazed clay, using several different colors of clay. They are beautifully designed forms, and are a great inspiration to me. Check them out here, and look at the Beasts and Dragons, especially... www.yixing.com

Xta_G
12-16-2003, 07:38 PM
Wow, Mel, beautiful stuff! I can't wait until the new year, and my first contract cheque in March or so, when I'll treat myself to a kiln finally! Can't wait to get into clay as well as the glass, and doing small beads and pendants is totally what I'm looking forward to!

PS - got your catalog, thanks! My beads are off being annealed, then I'll pop my favs in the mail for a swap!

X.

davisclay
12-17-2003, 10:54 AM
Melanie,
What inspirational beads!!
I need to get my hands on some terra cotta for this challenge.

Andi,
The naked clay challenge is a wonderful idea. I can't wait for things to settle down after the holidays to try my hand at this!

Diane
www.davisclaystudio.com (http://www.davisclaystudio.com)

mysticspiral
12-21-2003, 02:24 PM
I'm going to post a few more images in hopes that they will give you all some more ideas. I love all the ones that Melanie posted... I've got beads bisque firing in the kiln right now made from Ardvark's Jamaica ^10 stoneware... I just bought 25 pounds each of Standard Ceramics 266 and 308 which both mature at ^6 (although they're nice colors under-fired too)

So, to start with, here are some of my recent beads. Recycled stoneware fired to ^6 (approx. 2200 F) with albany slip (although you could use one of the albany substitutes to get the same effect) rubbed into the crevaces...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-collection.jpg

And here are a few details so that you can get a closer look at the carving on the beads...

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-detail1.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-detail2.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-detail3.jpg

These beads were a lot of fun, the albany slip really accents the texture and details, and they were fired in small pinched bowls, so you don't need any special kiln furniture, wires, or anything to do them, just make sure that you do a good job of wiping the excess glaze or stain off the surface of the bead before you fire them.

Have fun.

Andi.

mysticspiral
12-21-2003, 02:29 PM
These two are variations of bare white clay.

This first is one of my pierced porcelain pieces. Fired to ^6.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-pierced.jpg

This one is by Kim Hohlmayer. She has added Black underglaze as accents to highlight the features of this mask. Once again, pieces made like these two can be fired in the kiln without any special equipment.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-kim.jpg

And here's a redware vessel I made several years ago. The interior is glazed, as are the lotus handles, the piece was propped between pieces of fire brick for the firing and then was sawdust fired to give me the smoky finish on the polished clay.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-lotusvessel.jpg

mysticspiral
12-21-2003, 02:35 PM
I have several strands of beads which were acquired in Mexico... There's a huge cottage industry making these beads and they're really very basic. The beads are fired once to a really low temperature and the results are very charming. I especially love the sculptural focals.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-dog.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-fish.jpg

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-bird.jpg

This last example was fired like the ones above. To finish the beads, the artisan painted 2 of them as accents with red paint (probably acrylic or water color) and then rubbed all of the beads with brown wax, probably shoe polish... The results are really very pretty, the wax brings out the details of the owl focal, and for those of you who are nervous about glaze firing in your kilns, or who don't have the equipment to do so yet, this is a low-tech finish with a very long history.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-owl.jpg

I can't wait to see what everyone comes up with for the challenge.

Happy holidays.

Andi.

earthenwood
12-29-2003, 11:45 AM
Hey Everybody! I thought I would bump this up, because I am thinking about it now that Christmas is over. I made beads last night for the first time in what seems like weeks! I have been so distracted by the holidays.

I made a few things with colored clay for the challenge a couple weeks ago. Mostly just beads from my regular porcelain line, made in terra cotta and stoneware. I also did some marbled beads of those two clays, which I will fire to cone 6 and then tumble in my rock tumbler. I wanted to come back to this thread for more inspiration.

Andi,
I really love those first beads you posted...the stoneware ones with the impressed details. They are so detailed and earthy looking. And they look great all together in a strand!

The pierced porcelain piece is incredibly beautiful! The designs cut out of it have a sort of mystical feel to me. And I like that there are fewer cut outs and more clay surface showing. I think it really shows the depth of the hollow bead because of that.

The vessel bead you posted is inspiring me the most though. I have done some vessels, and they are shown above, but I would really like to explore this form. I think I will experiment tonight.

NYCindy
01-02-2004, 04:33 PM
Well, all the ceramic beadmakers on the forum make such lovely beads, I caught the bug! A few years back, I was working at a school that was clearing out the closets - I took all of the clay tools (why I don't know - pack rat?).

I bought some Laguna red clay and made some very lame square beads with gawdawful holes! They are dried to leather hard and I'm wondering - can I wet sand them? If yes, with what? I've read how it's best to keep the clay dust to a minimum - so although the beads are ugly, it's practice! (My first glass beads were gawdawful too!) I want to make them the best that ugly beads can be! :-)

Thanks in advance! :-)
Cindy

earthenwood
01-02-2004, 04:45 PM
Cindy,
You should be able to sand your beads. Yes, it is best not to create a LOT of clay dust, but you probably wont make that much by sanding beads. Just keep your dust contained if you are sanding bone dry beads, and wear a dust mask. You can wet sand as well...I use a soft dish rag to "sand" porcelain. The only problem may be that your clay could have some grog in it, which may make some texture when you sand it. Leather hard is often a good stage in which to add some detail to your beads. You could also try to burnish the leatherhard beads with a spoon or polished stone...kind of like buffing the surface smooth. You may also be able to sand after bisque firing (if you choose to fire that way). But try it out...especially if they are your first ones and can be experimented on...

I am excited to see what you come up with!
Have fun!!! :D

NYCindy
01-03-2004, 10:45 AM
Thanks, Melanie!

Not sure much is going to help these beads - except sanding them into nothingness and starting over! LOL! Mind you, these aren't even in the same league as any of the ceramic beads that get posted here! But I love to make beads of any kind and willing to make a fool of myself trying! LOL!

I'm also wondering about a small behive kiln I have. Can I use that to bisque fire? It's very small and will hold maybe 5 beads at a time (but I only have 8 good ones right now). I use the small kiln to test PMC pieces and it will fire up to 1600 degrees - too low?


Cindy

earthenwood
01-03-2004, 01:42 PM
Cindy,
I have a few questions for you. Why are you going to bisque fire the beads? Is it because you will be glazing them or partially glazing them? Or is it to get an initial firing in so you can sand them like I mentioned above? 1600 is a little low for a traditional bisque, but with beads, it may not matter at all. That temp will likely transform the clay into a solid state, so you could give it a try. My biggest concern is that your kiln may be difficult to control temperature-wise. I am not familiar with that kiln, but it sounds really small and it may make it difficult to raise the temperature slowly. Can you tell me more about firing it?

Will you be working with another kiln in the future for these ceramic beads? Can you give details?

Yippie! Cindy Beads!
BTW, did you get your package from me before Xmas? I sure hope so!

!ngridh
01-04-2004, 11:22 AM
Originally posted by mysticspiral
These two are variations of bare white clay.

This first is one of my pierced porcelain pieces. Fired to ^6.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-pierced.jpg

This one is by Kim Hohlmayer. She has added Black underglaze as accents to highlight the features of this mask. Once again, pieces made like these two can be fired in the kiln without any special equipment.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-kim.jpg

And here's a redware vessel I made several years ago. The interior is glazed, as are the lotus handles, the piece was propped between pieces of fire brick for the firing and then was sawdust fired to give me the smoky finish on the polished clay.

http://www.wetcanvas.com/Community/images/21-Dec-2003/18884-lotusvessel.jpg [FONT=arial]


absolutely STUNNING....I love the primative look and the bisque? sp? firing adds to that ...very nice soft tactile beads with images that speak without words! I love them!!!

NYCindy
01-09-2004, 08:41 AM
Good morning!


Yes, Melanie! I got the Bead Diva Tile! It's FABULOUS!! LOVE it!!! My husband has mounted it at the entrance to my studio :-)

Sorry I didn't respond earlier - I got busy with glass beads :-) I've decided not to fire the beads in my glass kiln or my beehive kiln. There is a "paint your own pottery" studio nearby and I'm going to have them fire the beads over there for a small fee.

In the meantime, I've been oggling Asian ceramics, and have come up with some faux porcelain beads - I posted them in today's show and tell but want to show them to you too since the porcelain oggling has been inspired by you terrific beadmakers!

Have a great day! :-)
Cindy




Cindy,
I have a few questions for you. Why are you going to bisque fire the beads? Is it because you will be glazing them or partially glazing them? Or is it to get an initial firing in so you can sand them like I mentioned above? 1600 is a little low for a traditional bisque, but with beads, it may not matter at all. That temp will likely transform the clay into a solid state, so you could give it a try. My biggest concern is that your kiln may be difficult to control temperature-wise. I am not familiar with that kiln, but it sounds really small and it may make it difficult to raise the temperature slowly. Can you tell me more about firing it?

Will you be working with another kiln in the future for these ceramic beads? Can you give details?

Yippie! Cindy Beads!
BTW, did you get your package from me before Xmas? I sure hope so!

mysticspiral
01-11-2004, 12:46 PM
Just thought I'd check in here and see how everyone was doing with the challenge. (also wanted to bump the thread up...) I'm really looking forward to seeing everyone's challenge beads.

TTFN,

Andi.

earthenwood
01-13-2004, 10:55 AM
Hi Everyone!
Cindy, Those Blue and white beads are wonderful! They do look like Chinese porcelain! I love them...

Well, I do have some beads finished for this challenge, but really the finished ones are tests for the ones that I am really excited about...which I want to finish up. So I will be posting in a few days when I am all done! That's my update...
;)

raynsandy
01-14-2004, 07:07 PM
I fiddle with ceramics, clay, porc and may just take a few minutes of my time and see what I can come up with.

earthenwood
01-14-2004, 08:07 PM
I fiddle with ceramics, clay, porc and may just take a few minutes of my time and see what I can come up with.

Ray,
It is nice to meet you! We would love to see what you might come up with in a ceramic bead! I just took a look at your website, and I am amazed to see that there are artists making sulfides! Of course, I am new to learning about what is happening in the marble and paperweight world. I mostly study ceramics and beads. I saw some sulfides at the Corning glass museum, and of course it got me thinking about ceramics and glass together.

Do you use a special porcelain or ceramic that is compatable with your glass? I wonder if sulfide techniques could work for lampworkers or if it is a kiln technique only?

earthenwood
01-15-2004, 07:37 PM
Hello!
Well, here it is, the last day of the challenge! Here are some of the items I have worked on this month, from Left to Right.

First picture...
A. A hollow bead, inspired a bit by Davisclay's hollow beads. It is stoneware with carving with glaze applied and rubbed away to reveal clay underneath. In fact, all of these beads are the same stoneware I use for my tiles, with my tile glazes, all rubbed away in some area.

B. A vessel, glazed inside and front and back, with selected areas of clay revealed.

C. Another Hollow Vessel, shown from the back. The front has a hole near the top and a cork can be put in place. I did more of these that I like better, but they are cooling in my kiln now.

Second Picture, some of my Peace Pebbles, which I usually do in glazed Porcelain, done here in stoneware.

Third Picture, More of my regular beads...butterfly blobs and a Butterfly Goddess (comes from a mold I made) in stoneware with wiped glaze.

Fourth Picture. I made these marbled beads (terra cotta and stoneware) a few days after the challenge was announced. I fired them to cone 6 and then tumbled them in my rock tumbler for about a week at 600 grit. The result is very smooth beads that feel real satiny. The marbilization shows up better too. The last step will be to treat them with a nice scented oil, because they are slightly absorbant still. The scent will last for quite a while.

So there are my entries for the Naked Clay Bead Challenge! I hope to see some beads from more of you out there! Since it looks like I was the first to respond to the challenge, I will come up with the next one and post it tomorrow!

Thanks, Andi, for the idea for this one...I really did explore some new ideas and forms in doing this challenge, and i think some of the ideas will become regular beads for me :clap:

Artaholic
01-16-2004, 02:23 AM
:clap: :clap: Wow what beautiful beads you are making!!

Gerry

MarshaNealStudio
01-16-2004, 11:01 AM
WOW Melanie! I just love your designs on the beads! Your clay body also gives them such a warm feeling! And the glaze just makes the beads pop! I can't wait to see them in person at Bead & Button this spring!

I can't wait to see what you come up with for the next challenge.
Keep up the beautiful work!

:) Marsha

saucy
01-16-2004, 12:10 PM
You guys absolutely rock! I don't need another thing to clutter up my work area, but the ceramic is so tempting. :clap:

mysticspiral
01-16-2004, 01:21 PM
<snip>

B. A vessel, glazed inside and front and back, with selected areas of clay revealed.

<snip>

Third Picture, More of my regular beads...butterfly blobs and a Butterfly Goddess (comes from a mold I made) in stoneware with wiped glaze.

<snip>

Since it looks like I was the first to respond to the challenge, I will come up with the next one and post it tomorrow!

Thanks, Andi, for the idea for this one...I really did explore some new ideas and forms in doing this challenge, and i think some of the ideas will become regular beads for me :clap:

These are great... I especially love the center vessel in the top picture and the butterfly goddess. The tumbled beads are stunning and scenting them will make them so special. I think I'm going to have to come up with a rock tumbler... I just love the way that those look.

I'd say that you're definately the first to respond to the challenge... I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I think that bare clay adds a layer of deapth to ceramic beads, the results are more organic, and they just seem to say "Take me for what I am, and love me..." or maybe that's just my bias showing through... I have a few greenware beads waiting to be fired... I'll try to get them posted in the next week or so.

TTFN,

Andi

ps, those of you who haven't posted pictures, please consider doing so... we'd all still love to see what you did.

sadiesjewels
01-16-2004, 10:03 PM
I am awestruck as usual - they're just beautiful ... my tests are still on the floor of my garage <smile>

Sadie

mwillis
01-16-2004, 11:40 PM
Melanie and Andi, the beads you have posted are Beautiful!!!


Ok, I am going to try to post some pictures of a few of the beads that I did for this challenge.... we'll see how it goes. I may have to do it in seperate posts as I have never tried to upload more then one at a time.

The first picture is one of my oak leaves and acorn beads made of red earthenware and antiqued with underglaze in the bisque stage, fired again and polished with beeswax. I like the 'leather' look that it has.

The second picture should be the acorns and they were made the same way as the first bead. I think it has too much or too dark of an underglaze left on them and I would have liked them more if the antiquing was more of a subtle gradation.

The third picture is of some expiriments with Spectrum's engobe pens (Raised Accent Colors = RAC) These are so cool. Have any of you tried them? I was actually going to make myself a necklace out of these and wear them (!!!) if they didn't get any bids.... now I get to make some more.

Now, to get this posted and go look at the next challenge.
Melinda


http://www.justbeads.com/search/ql.cfm?s=707346344

http://www.PictureTrail.com/mel61844

raynsandy
01-16-2004, 11:45 PM
anyone ever hear of firing Mississippi mud?
Ive seen some larger vessels made from the stuff and Im impressed.

NYCindy
01-17-2004, 09:57 AM
Melanie -

I love the first line of beads - well I love them ALL - I'm particularly fond of vessels, though and the combination of the natural stoneware and just a touch of color with the raised pattern is lovely! I particularly like the drop pendant to the right (my right) of the vessel.


Melinda -

The first two beads remind me of an antique Japanese wood carving that we inherited from our family. The acorns are just right - the glaze gives it that wonderful textural feel. I want to just reach in and touch them!

Fabulous beads as always! :-)
Cindy

earthenwood
01-17-2004, 11:14 AM
Hello Everyone!

Melinda, Those are all wonderful! The carvings are exquisite (as always!) and I love the leaves and acorns as a set. Very nice to see them in stoneware...something different from the glossy green and honey glazes that I have seen you do before. Although I am a big fan of the glossies, too. I agree with Cindy about them looking like carved wood; they remind me of the Eastern boxwood ojime and netsukes that I have seen at the bead shows. I am also very interested in the bumpy beads you did! I wonder if that stuff comes in different colors. always have a hard time keeping a steady hand for things like that. I think I would have a hard time with stringers if I was a lampworker.

Here are pics of a couple more beads that came out of the kiln, some faces and some vessels...All with glaze wiped away to reveal clay underneath.

Ray, I have never seen Mississippi Mud. It is a clay, I presume? What does it look like? With a name like mud, I expect it to be dark...

And finally, here is a link to next months challinge:
http://www.wetcanvas.com/forums/showthread.php?t=160337

raynsandy
01-17-2004, 11:41 AM
it has a terrecotta and white swirly looking appearance. Evidently it may also come in a slip form as they had used this stuff in poured molds.

3SistersBeads
01-17-2004, 04:30 PM
Wowza!

I took a peek at this thread and have really enjoyed this clay. I threw pots before melting glass and now I'm feeling slightly inspired (oh no! don't tell Matt -- he'll think I'm crazy! :D )

Anyhow, my Jen-Ken kiln goes up to 2000 and I've got a digital controller as well. So, the question is, can I fire clay in this or what? I'm thinking probably terra cotta because I always loved working with it's mushiness.

If so, can you please tell me what temps I need and for how long. Then maybe I can try programming the digital controller and give it a try.

Wishing I hadn't sold my kiln and wheel after all..............................
Leslie