Friday, January 8, 2016

Glazing ceramic beads.... A Dry Beginning, A Beautiful Ending

by MaryAnn Carroll

So.... my goal for this year is to stay focused and create more. I started the year off right! I'm hoping I can keep it up. With that said, let me share with you my first set of ceramic beads for 2016!

When I glaze beads, I like to make them unique. By that I mean that I don't measure out anything when I create them and I like to get a little creative when I glaze them. It's not my favorite part of making beads, so I find myself often getting creative with the glaze to keep it interesting.

Another important aspect of glazing is to make sure the holes are cleaned out and are as round and smooth as possible. I am a little obsessive about that. I use my dremel for this final step. This is a bead that is completely glazed and ready for the bead tree/


My bead trees are custom made. You can read more about that in this post from the past. The beads are carefully placed on custom cut nichrome wire (can take heat up to extreme temperatures) ...



... and then placed into my kiln.


This is what a typical load looks like before it is turned on. It takes me quite a while to prepare enough beads for a full load. This one is even a little short as the last tree was not fully used.


This kiln can take up to 12 hours to reach 2200 degrees, which is what I need for these glazes to fully mature.


FINISHED BEADS

And here are some before and after shots for this last kiln load. As you will see, the glazes often look very different than the matured bead. Also, when creating texture beads like the ones you see here, I don't use multiple glazes. The reason being is that is would look WAY too busy and choosing a glaze that "breaks" gives the beads all that they need. Breaking is when the glazes responds to the bead by literally breaking where there are edges.


Multiple glazes


The two lower sets have one kind of glaze applied. The glaze I used on the discs creates a different looked based on thickness. The areas where the glaze is thinner, the result is brownish. The breaking effect is shown on those in the lower right.


There were two different glazes used on the top group. The bottom two groups have just one glaze applied. The one on the left does not have the breaking qualities that the one on the right has.



If you like ceramic beads, stop back for a giveaway in the next couple of weeks!!

3 comments:

Lu Heater said...

Thank you for this inspiring post on glazed beads! What cone # do you use for your glaze firing?? Thank you! ...Lu Heater

Artisan Beads Plus said...

I use mid-fire glazes and fire to cone 6. MaryAnn

Marjan I. Smit said...

A bead tree! That's it. Thank you, I'll try to make one.

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