Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pendant for Tutorial Exchange

I just got an email from Lucid Moon Studio, another of my participants in the Totally Tutorials Exchange program. Here is the link to the necklace she made with one of my favorite pendants, the Violet Flower.

Have a great day and stop by soon! I've got a great load of greenware I'm getting ready to fire for lots of new pendants and donuts.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Enter to Win 2nd Give Away

I will be drawing another name at 3:15, the winner will receive this lovely flower pendant.

You still have a chance to win, just leave a comment to be entered in the drawing.
All previous commenters will be entered in the second drawing as well.

Thanks and good luck. Remember to visit to get 20% off anything but close outs until midnight tonight.

Enter to Win

I will be drawing names at 2:15 to pick the winner of this lovely ceramic piece! Just leave a comment to enter the drawing. Thanks and good luck!
Congratulations to SIGNE, you are the winner of this pendant!
Also visit my Etsy store, to enjoy 20% off anything in the store, excluding close outs. through midnight tonight.

Visit to continue the tour and enter more drawings.

Bead Tree

Here is a close up of a bead tree. The pendants/beads are threaded onto the rod so that they don't touch. The pendant and bead holes have to be kept clean of glaze. If there is glaze inside the hole, the piece will fuse to the rod. Sometimes I can get them loose if this happens, by carefully twisting them off the rod. But many times they break.

Loading the kiln is rather tedious. It is easy to touch a loaded rod and cause the pieces to move and touch. After loading everything, I do a final check to make sure nothing is touching the bead trees, the kiln or each other.

The final firing is to 1828 and takes about 6 1/2 hours. The pieces must cool down before unloading. That takes another 6 hours or so. Lots of patience is required!

The Kiln

Here is a picture of the inside of my kiln. You can see the glaze drips in it! I have a couple of glazes that run a lot. Learning the characteristics of the individual glazes takes trial and error. Once I understand what a certain glaze will do, I can use it more creatively. For instance, if I want a lot of blending of the colors, I will use a glaze that drips and moves a lot. If I want sharp detail, I use underglazes, which don't move at all.

Inside the kiln you see my bead trees. Once pieces have been glazed, they have to be kept separated. If they touch during firing, they will fuse together and be ruined.

Bisque Stage

After drying and cleaning, the pieces are fired to 1920 degrees (cone 04). This takes about 7 hours. When they come out of the kiln, they are hard and white, and ready for glazing. Not so fragile anymore. Greenware doesn't stick to other pieces during firing, so a lot of pieces can be fired at once. I pile them into pots.

This is what they look like after the bisque firing.

Cleaning the Pieces

After the clay dries into greenware, it must be cleaned, the rough edges smoothed off. Sandpaper works, but it creates alot of clay dust, which is hazardous to the lungs. I use a rag dipped in water for the cleaning. This is also a difficult step, because the clay is so fragile. I usually loose 6 or 7 pieces per batch during this step. The pieces just break so easily.

Here are two pendants in the making. After rolling the clay and cutting into shapes, I add the stringing holes that are necessary to use the pieces as jewelry. I have a little tool for this purpose.

I do alot of 3D designs, and what you see here are the scoring marks. The pieces being joined must be roughed up, and liquid clay, or slip, applied before joining. This is because clay shrinks when it dries, and the pieces would separate without the roughing and the "glue".


I have a friend that also makes ceramic jewelry pieces. She loves forming the pendants, but doesn't enjoy the glazing. But glazing is my favorite part. I love color, and the fun of layering glazes to see what will happen to them when they combine. There is no way of knowing until the pieces are removed from the kiln after firing, what the result will be. This is what keeps me creating with clay. What if I do this....or this? The possibilities are endless, and it's never boring.
Here is a picture of some of my stash of glazes. I must have some of everything, mustn't I?

Pendants Drying

The hardest part when making pendants, is to keep the pieces from warping when they dry. I sandwich the pieces between two large pieces of wallboard. Sometimes they still warp. The only cure I have found is to re-wet the pieces and let them soak until they are soft enough to press flat. It's tricky and I lose alot of pieces that have warped.

Here is a picture of pendants in various stages of dryness, and the wallboard. Dried, unfired clay is called greenware, and it is VERY fragile.

Rolling Out Clay

Here is a picture of how I roll out the clay to start making a pendant. I have two slats that are just the right height that I use as rollers. When I had to find some of these for students, I couldn't find any that were the right height. So I used wooden rulers I got at the dollar store. The clay is rolled out just like pie dough.

Open Studio

Hi, I'm getting ready for the open studio...the drawings will be at 2:15 and 3:00. Enter to win!...just leave a comment.
Check out the other studios at

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Exchange Program Link

Here is another link to a necklace design and instructions created for the totally tutuorials exchange program.

Pendant Tutorial

Here is a link to wire necklace design created for my free pendant exchange.

Beads of Clay Open Studio

Hello everyone, I am getting ready to participate in the Beads of Clay studio blog tomorrow, Oct. 25, from 1 to 4. Visit my blog and leave a comment, to be entered into 2 drawings to win a ceramic art bead or pendant of your choice from my Etsy store or web site.

Also enjoy a 20% discount off any item in my Etsy store, excluding close outs, until midnight tomorrow.

Link to the Beads of Clay blog to find other ceramic studios, deals and drawings.