Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Glazing results...

NOTE:  Each time you see the word, "Fimo" in this post, imagine a big line through it crossing it out and the word, "Kato," following it.  Kato, Kato, Kato.  See above post for details. Carry on...
Last night I glazed most of the air dry pottery beads.  Here are the results...
 I've got them in four sets.  The top ones in the above photo have different applications of a combo of white and black acrylic paint, and black mosaic grout in a base of Fimo liquid polymer clay.  The middle two strands have white and pastel acrylic paint in the Fimo base, with some post firing applications of grout and paint.  The bottom strand is blue and black in the Fimo.
 It was extremely labor intensive.  The detailing on each bead--there were a couple that I probably spent over an hour on EACH, altogether.  Maybe that's normal for certain types of beadmaking?  My experience is with polymer clay and I have never, ever spent even close to that amount of time on a single bead.  Some require multiple processings, like the faceted beads, but it's very straightforward and there is no going back to get this little spot, then again, and again....
 With the glazing protocol I've got going with these, it's like that.  Every single minuscule microscopic spot has to be well covered with the Fimo.  It sounds straightforward, but you'd be surprised.  I know I was.  The liquid likes to run, so you have to be careful it's very evenly applied, and that it doesn't touch anything in the oven.  I made special little wire holders to bake these on.  The body is pretty easy to completely cover--it's right around the bead holes that there seems to be some issues with the glaze staying put.  I suppose it seeps down the hole a little, or it could be that just the action of removing the beads from the wire baking things does something.  So most of these have been double baked.  Once the glaze is set, it's really solid.
 An amazing surprise: Crackling!  I couldn't believe it.  It appeared like magic when I smoothed my finger over the almost-cooled beads.  It seems the pressure from my finger is all it took--no paint, grout, or any colorant to emphasize the crackles.  I suppose the paint underneath and the Fimo glaze just cool in a different enough way that it results like that.  Nicely, it happened on the very first bead that came out of the oven, that yellow flower, so I was able to try to get all of them to crackle.  Only worked on a four of them.  No idea how to purposefully manage it.  Maybe with more practice.
Closer view of the crackles.
I think I'll probably be using these vs. selling them.  I'm thinking mainly about pricing.  I want to get techniques down so it's not I'm not spending so much time on them.  By then they'll be 'better' all around as well.

I used the toy pottery wheel tonight in a test run too!  It works fabulously and it brought back all kinds of long repressed body memories about pottery wheels.  It's never been one of those intuitive things for me that I was instantly good at.  I remember now that one of the main problems is centering that damn clay on the disc.  The spinner.  The plate.  The wheel deal.  The tray.  What's it called?  Anyway, that's huge.  Then, it's trying to keep the walls of the clay the same thickness.  I remember that was my main problem.  I'd have these really pretty and unusual pieces, but they'd be pretty ridiculous in a practical sense.  A goblet doesn't need a solid, 500 pound base.  

Hopefully soon I'll have some teeny thrown bowls and things to show!


  1. These turned out great! I love the crackling!!What luck that happened, and I hope you can replicate it. The flower beads are sweet!

    1. Thanks! The flowers are my favorite as well. Definitely be making more of that style with the pottery clay as well as polymer.

  2. great results but I agree that is too long to spend on a bead. You'll have to keep them for yourself. I think the longest I ever spent on a lampwork bead was 25 minutes. Most of mine are way under that now as I'm making less and less focal beads.
    I want to see your teeny tiny bowls..small enough to be bead caps?
    Those flower ones of yours are total sweetness. I'm finding out all about the clay beads myself as you can see. The pendant pieces and dangles seem to agree with my hands more. I have a hard time working that small and trying to achieve perfection in shaping.
    Anyway I love your experimentation and I'm sure that something less labor intensive and rewarding will blossom out of this exercise.

    1. So far I've just experimented with the wheel--I knocked everything down because I wasn't really trying. Judging from that though, I think I can make anything from thimble size on up to mug size. So chunky-style bead caps, indeed. I will certainly post photos of the first things I make as they're drying out! I'm really anxious to get the wheel out again, so it should be soon.

  3. Absolutely love the crackle effect and glazing on these beads, midway through your post I thought to myself hmmm... how could I get her to part with the yellow flower? LOL. These are truly wonderful Richelle. Yah I have never been instantly good at anything either... your honesty and candor always help, and are appreciated. Oh I forgot to say that I finally got the wrist brace and it has made a world of difference! Thank you for the suggestion, I was dealing with really bad inflammation the past couple of weeks and the support really helps. Can't wait to see what you come up with next.

  4. Well, you know I'm always up for trading! Let me know.

    I'm so glad the brace is helpful. One more thing, if you can find it: a product called Traumeel. It's a homeopathic/arnica based cream that really, really helps with inflammation. You can get it at places like Whole Foods.

  5. These sound like they were rather intense to make, but what a happy surprise with the crackling! I looooove the crackle. These beads are just nummy!

    1. Yes--it was quite the experiment! I love the crackle too. Haven't been able to duplicate it yet though!