Author Topic: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?  (Read 5666 times)

jille

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2012, 09:25:16 AM »
Caroline is lovely and her beads are gorgeous, you won't find better.

As for a buyers guide, I can only give my opinion from my own experiences.

Do you want perfectly shaped beads? I personally aren't too bothered as it looks handmade and rustic. I have asked before how you glass bead people felt about that, but no one jumped in.
I do reject pendants that are warped in a way that doesn't look right. It;s quite tricky to get thin flat pendants that don;t warp.

Glazes, I've found they don't always do what you expected, but that's not necessarily a problem. Sometimes you might get uneven  colour, again not necessarily a problem. Drips of glaze can be a problem just depends on the bead.

Holes, you want good holes

Sometimes beads stick to the mandrel and chip when you take them off. I've reglazed the spot and I'd use them if it couldn;t be seen. like if it was wire wrapped but you probably wouldn;t sell a bead like that.

These are just my own thoughts
You might want to look at Beads of Clay, the have a FB group and blog, Etsy team , Caroline is a member and there;s a lot of talent over there. There's a FB group called creative bead chat too, a lot of people are in both groups.

Back in a min yo give you bead making tips

jille

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #11 on: October 05, 2012, 09:39:44 AM »
Basically there are 2 groups of clay and glazes. low fire like earthenware, and high fire like stoneware and porcelain.
I have found that earthenware is easier to use and gives better results when starting out/
Bath Potters have trial packs of clay from ?1.50, I've been experimenting with them all.
Cromartie sells low temp glazes quite cheap, it;s hard to find so here's the likn
http://www.cromartiehobbycraft.co.uk/Catalogue/Gare-Colour/More-Glazes-Underglazes/Glazes

If you join Beads of Clay they have loads of information on their forum.
Also Mary Harding has an e-book and lots of youtube vids.

Hope that helps, I'm just learning myself but love playing with clay.
Apologies for the typos, I'm propped up in bed, had a bad night

Kalorlo

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #12 on: October 05, 2012, 09:47:37 AM »
Not perfectly shaped is fine.

Ok, so these are mainly quality of finish and things I can see. (I didn't know if there were quality of material/manufacture issues too - crumbly clay!)

Thanks  :)
I'll have a look around.

flamingbeads

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #13 on: October 05, 2012, 09:47:51 AM »
Thanks so much for that info Jillie ;D

I dont do FB.
I rather like the idea of them not being perfect, but being perfect would be good too ;)

I also like the idea that the glaze may do something unexpected...a bonus obviously if it's an effect you like ;D

I'm going to have a quick peek at that link now...thanks again :-*

P.s...why did you not sleep well?

jille

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #14 on: October 05, 2012, 10:27:37 AM »
porcelain and stoneware beads are stronger than earthenware beads but you should be able to tell by the glaze if they are fired correctly, having said that a matt glaze doesn't mean they haven't been fired properly.

The good news is if you don't like a glaze you can go over it and fire again.

The beads of Clay forum isn't on FB and there's loads of info there.

I was up all night with stomach cramps and throwing up  :-[

jille

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #15 on: October 05, 2012, 10:35:50 AM »
Here's the blog http://www.blog.beadsofclay.org/

and the yahoo group, http://groups.yahoo.com/group/beads-of-clay/ there's a lot of searchable info on this site

flamingbeads

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #16 on: October 05, 2012, 12:02:13 PM »
Thanks again Jillie...I've got the tabs open to read up on later....have an unexpected task to do now >:( :-X

Kalorlo

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #17 on: October 05, 2012, 01:41:51 PM »
The other reason for me not making my own is BeadCubes go up to 920C, which isn't high enough, is it? Can do metal clay but not ceramics.

♥♥Tan♥♥

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #18 on: October 05, 2012, 01:45:27 PM »
Ah, now this is interesting. Glazes do funny things in the kiln and I have found that the very thing that is considered 'wrong' bubbled glaze, matt glaze, crazed glaze are the very things that people LOVE.

Now you can actually buy a glaze that crazes but that is another story.

A lot of my glass beads are asymmetrical a lot of my clay beads are chunky both considered not great in the general scheme of things but that is the very thing people like about them.

I would say consider what you want them for, how much bashing are they going to get, where do you want to use them. If they are in a high bash area like bracelets then try and go for stoneware or porcelain and keep the shapes simple.

Nice holes for stringing purposes but having said that you can have a beautiful bead and cover up crappy ends with end caps and pick up a bargain bead at the same time perhaps?

If you want to make your own beads your kiln will need to go up to about 1100c, no fancy programs needed. It really is as simple as air dry clay, just roll and shape, if its a bit dry add a bit of water, if its a bit wet leave itout for a while.

Clay beads take two firings...when you first make them you leave them until to dry, they first reach the stage of leatherhard, you can impress or scrape into the clay at this stage but it is fragile.

It then drys to greenware, this is completely dry and ready for it's first firing, the bisque or biscuit firing.

At this stage you can decorate  your beads using UNDERGLAZE colours, so called because they go directly onto unfired clay and after the bisque firing are dipped in clear glaze hence under the top glaze.

They are then fired to 1000c this is always the same temp whether you are using white earth, stone, porcelain, terracotta clays.

Now they are known as bisque pieces, still fragile so be careful. They have been fired to state of durability but are still porous enough to take glaze. You can hand brush or stick them on the end of a skewer and just dip into the glaze but if you want to dip you need to thin the glaze a little.

For the final glaze you need to pick glazes that are food safe or lead free, when these are completely dry they can be fired to the final glaze temp usually around 1100c.

I suspend them on nichrome wire that is balanced on kiln posts but you can make your own bead racks from clay and nichrome wire or even buy them, they do have a tendency to stick if you don't really clean the holes before the firing

Kalorlo

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Re: Buyer's guide for ceramic beads?
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2012, 01:51:44 PM »
Thank you Tan!

Yeah, interesting surface texture and variation is a plus in my book  :)