Thursday, September 8, 2011

New Chocolate Clay Beads!

Last week I needed to find some Zen…
You know - the kind where you just sit and play with clay to see what comes out.
For me, it was these beads...
Then of course, I wanted to get them fired fast so I could get them glazed…
Into the dehydrator to make sure they were dry.
Then a tumble loaded bisque firing - 24 hours later, ready for glazing...
I always find that even if I start with just a couple of glazes,
or a couple of pieces, I always glaze more...
Here are most of the pieces getting ready to be loaded into the kiln.
The beads were loaded onto these small wires in preparation for the kiln.
Kiln furniture laying sideways, stacked to hold the wire up while firing.
Here is the load after the Cone 5/6 glaze firing.
See how dark the chocolate clay got?
And the wires did sag a bit under the weight of the clay and the high temperatures.
I'm pretty satisfied with the results...
And now to put them into little bead sets…
Time for me to do a little research online.

Any suggestions, input?
I always like to hear what you all think - Thanks!

PS - if the sun decides to shine - even for a bit tomorrow, I can get some pics and a few listed up on Etsy. I'll post on my Marsha Neal Studio FaceBook page tomorrow (after lunchtime).


  1. I love the chocolate clay! Lol- I laugh every time I see your glazing/firing set-up because it looks exactly like mine...the pendants on top of the glaze jars...the stacks and stacks of kiln stands. I love it!

  2. Ooooh gorgeous! I always love anything with chocolate in the title... ;) And I love seeing your process... thank you so much for letting us peek into the mind of a creative genius!

  3. I love seeing a stacked kiln! It's a bit of a juggling act seeing just how much you can get in there. My wires all sag too but those posts keep most of it in place most of the time. And then opening it...well that is the best. I really like this chocolate clay and the glazes have come out really well. As for packing beads up, I do mine in pairs if they are earing size and three to five otherwise. I have no rationale really but it seems to work. I also ocassionally do odd lots when I can't make sets.

  4. I loved seeing a glimpse into your process Marsha! Working with earthen clays is so different from making polymer clay beads so I wouldn't have any suggestions for you. They are really beautiful though. The glaze looks amazing. I am sure they will sell like hotcakes... chocolate hotcakes of course!

  5. I love behind-the-scenes glimpses into the lives of clay artists. Your filled kiln is so different from mine!

  6. Thanks you guys! I can't tell you how uncomfortable loading a kiln like this makes me. The bead trees have me SO spoiled with their nice aligned holes for the wires to go into, not a lot of sagging (not like these). I have some thicker nichrome or kanthal wire that may take some additional weight and not sag (14 or 16 ga) quite as much that I want to try out. This was just the Kemper standard element wire (17ga?).

    The numbers on the sets and kind of sets really helped out. I have to figure out pricing that works for my stuff in addition to how I like to make them (I am a "sets" person myself). So what I strung up last night was whatever sets - a few to a strand, and a toggle bead too.

    Pretty exciting stuff - who really gets this excited about little beads. The rest of the world must think we're all crazy! But I'm so glad to be around others that are just like me :) You are all awesome!!!


I would love to hear what you think…