Be yourself. Everyone else is already taken. - Oscar Wilde

Monday, May 26, 2014

Clay Camp 2014 Bead Review

Once again, Clay Camp has come and gone.  It is a time I look forward to every year, a time that passes far to quickly.  My work schedule has been preventing me from attending guild meetings so it was the first time this year I had seen many of my clay buddies.  Lots of fresh air, laughter, good food .... a welcome break from the stresses of everyday life.

I had plans for trying out new tuts, but somehow never got around to it.  Found myself playing around with variations of tried and true techniques.  Started out with translucent clay, attempting to recreate some beads I had made several years ago.

The bottom two pictures are my attempts at covering a base bead with translucent clay tinted with ink.  Really did not like how they turned out, so I used the rest of my conditioned translucent to try out something else.  I textured the clay and applied chalks to the surface.  I like how these turned out, esp. the green ones.

I revisited the wonky bead for a while, trying out a longer shape and a different stamp.
I must say I like the longer shape.  I think they will make better earrings.

I did start using Inca Gold Paste.  I had tried it in the past and it had come off the beads later. I discovered from more experienced clayers that I had to bake the beads again after application to prevent this (head slap ... duh!). Tried various textures and shapes.
I hear that orange is the new black.  Supposedly it is one of the summer colors
this year.  It looks good combined with pewter.
Also used chalks to highlight.  My favorite is the purple and rust crosshatched disc bead below.

Squat beads highlighted with Inca Gold, and a couple highlighted with chalk.  The teal beads have already been made into earrings.

The last afternoon, I got involved in making disc beads.  These I highlighted using chalks and finishing up with shoe polish.  The finished that parade gloss gives is just the right amount of shine.

I also had the opportunity to take a marvelous class with Marie Segal on Saturday. I have not done the final finish on those beads, so probably will have to wait till this coming weekend to complete them to the stage they are ready to present to the world.
   Every time I meet Marie, I am more impressed by her.  When she left her home in California for Clay Camp, she had no idea that within a short time that home would be in danger of being burnt down.  She conducted her class not knowing if she would have a home to return to ....  a lot of stress, but she handled herself professionally and as calmly as possible under the situation.
   Luckily, the fire was stopped before it reached their house. I have seen pix on her FB page of just how close it got ... and of some unfortunate neighbors who were not so lucky.
  It just goes to show that we never know what life is going to throw our way, so enjoy every little bit that you can when you can.

And now for your moment of cat zen
Tofur trying to help Mommy select beads to photograph.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Wonky abundant

I had an uninterrupted day in the studio this past weekend (ie ... no housework).  All I wanted to do was make more of the wonky bead shape I had discovered how to make the week before.  I experimented with different colors, even added mica powder to some of them for a little extra shine.

I was asked  lately whether I colored the beads before or after baking. That is a good question.  The answer is that it depends how the beads are colored.  The ones above were colored using PanPastel chalks.  Because chalk does not adhere well to a baked bead, you want to apply it to the raw clay.  After baking, shoe polish was applied  to protect the finish and antique the textured areas.
    Below is a close up were the fine texture can be seen better.

The beads I featured last week were baked first, then painted.  There is a difference in the finish, depending upon which route you take.  Both ways work, it just depends which look you are going for.

I did have time to try one other shapes (still not tired of wonky, just looking for more ways to finished them)
Rolled beads, colored with chalks.