Thursday, 11 November 2010

I love ceramic beads

I have several favourite materials that I use. Some are constant, others come and go. I rediscover old loves and find new ones. When it comes to beads and pendants, two materials I do like a lot are ceramic/porcelain and glass. I guess one big reason is that you can get it in so many different styles and -- most of all -- colours/finishes. And as I think I've made pretty clear by now, colours and finishes fascinates me.

Like with glass, ceramic beads and pendants can come in so many different styles, finishes and price ranges. I like both cheap and expensive ceramic beads, but I prefer those that have more of a personal touch. Those that are hald-sculpted or hand-painted. Those that have a bit of personality and individuality. As with glass, I love looking at different colours and finishes. With glass you add colour to the actual glass or cover it with a surface effect. With ceramics you've got glazes and paints that alters the look of the bead. And that I love, seeing all the different faces of ceramic and how the choice of glaze or paint determines the whole look of the finished product.

As with other beads, I prefer it when they aren't too shiny: I want to see the colour and shape, not just reflected light. Not just because they're hard to take pics of, like the Lumina inspirations bead above. Most my ceramic or porcelain beads have a matte or silky finish. But as you can see, there are some exceptions.

One type of beads I often enjoy buying are the peruvian ceramic beads that you can find in so many different shapes and sizes. From tiny cartoon cats like these to "faux raku" pendants like the dragon in the first pic. Also, they're reasonably priced. There are so many motifs available too that you can find something for everyone, from pirates and Einsteins to cakes and chocolates to flowers and animals.

In the first pic you can see a pair of maneki neko beads as well. Chinese lucky cat porcelain beads that I sort of collect. There are so many variations of these, I seem to keep finding new ones. Most of them are small, but I have one that's 47 mm tall.

But I do wish I could afford buying more beads and pendants from artisans. Not all of them are, after all, as expensive as my beloved siamese cat by Laura Mears. Her porcelain beads and pendants are divine! The pendant above is from Clay River Designs by the way. They do shiny ceramics, which I said I didn't like that much, but I do like their designs. Also, they have a couple of lovely glazes on their chiclet beads.

In the first pic you can also see a word bead by Diane Hawkey. Love it and hope to get a chance to buy more from here in the future. She does cat beads so of cause I love her work. Not everything she does is to my taste, but I think it says a lot that her work made me buy a word bead. I normally don't like word beads.

But there are even more clay bead makers on my wishlist:
  • Earthenwood Studio (AKA Melanie Brooks) have some really nice pieces. Gritty steampunk as well as lovely leaves -- and cats. She's got some pieces with lovely glaze effects like the crackled white on a dark background.
  • Gaea has something I really, really like: crackled glaze beads. It's like adding patina to metal, crackles add a feeling of age as well as interesting surface to ceramic glazes. She also have some pretty flower and leaf pendants and fun Day of the Dead pieces I like. And I'd love to buy some of here cool ceramic-and-metal clasps.
  • The same way I like crackled glaze, I fancy crushed glass fused to ceramics, like in pendants and cabs from Artisan Clay. She also does some gorgeous smoke fired pendants/donuts. Smoke fire is probably going on my list of favourite finishes on ceramics.
  • On my wishlist you can also find Elaine Ray bezels. She's got some nice beads and pendants too, I just happen to really like the bezels.
  • As I often find my inspiration in nature, it's probably not surprising that I fell in love with some of Mary Harding's pendants years ago. Apart from th gorgeous pendants featuring naturalistic flora, she also makes toggle clasps I want.
  • Recently I found another ceramic artist to add to my "fan list" via the Beads of Clay blog, Norwegian Lise Nilsen of Trollsmed. Love her crazy donuts with their uneven shapes and sometimes multiple holes. As well as her "sun crosses" (solkors).
  • Natalie Pappas (NKP Designs), on the other hand, is a clayer I stumbled upon a couple of years ago and fancied one of her crackled decal beads. She makes a lot of other types of beads too.
  • I also have to mention Emma Ralph. She makes beads in ceramic clay, polymer clay and lampwork glass. Mostly the two latter and she's well known for here PC work. Of her currently available ceramic work, though, I especially like the Autumn leaf charms and heart buttons.
  • ...and then I almost forgot Golem Studio. Some of their designs are too, well, colourful and buzy for me personally, but they do cat pendants. I prefer their simpler designs like the "stick kitty" and tiny bat pendants. They also make a pendant featuring both a bat and a cat -- that's two out of three of my favourite animals! And cute flower pendants/beads.

I know there are many more clay artists out there that does beads or other jewellery components I'd love. I shouldn't make my already look list even longer, I guess, but I'll keep looking for new "clayers" to admire and to my list. And hopefully some day afford to buy something from.

I could've finished the post there, with the list, but I have one more kitty to show you. This little ceramic charm -- actually a key rings that I removed the ring from -- is the only item in my collection made by a Swede. I bought it at Fredriksdal in Helsingborg, but I'm unsure of the name of the potter. Googling it, it seems like Greta Pott might be the person behind the charm.

1 comment:

  1. Those colourful cat beads are so cute. And I'm loving the elegant Siamese. It is just purrfect. The best thing here is the pretty little kitty charm from the key ring, it is adorable. Thanks for the list of artisans.


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