Saturday, September 22, 2012

Bisque Beads In Waiting

With all the craziness of my husband's mystery illness (still no exact diagnosis). I am hopeful that he is on the mend and I can start to get back to work on glazing these new pieces & get them up for sale...

Bisque firing unloaded.

Spiral texture, textured discs.

Domed spiral texture, textured discs.

Textured disc donuts.

Small buttons for bracelets.

Porcelain bats waiting for some glaze color...

I want to find a few hours. Just a few...
Hoping for Monday with no drama & some studio time.
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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Silks and a Hospital Visit

I know that there are deadlines that are falling by the wayside with the Silk Color challenge. Luckily I have a page with links right on my blog. I'll pull a purchase winner at some point soon (that deadline was Monday).

The design challenge has an October deadline (link your entry on the Silk Page).

As of now, no Silk round 3 before January 2013 (crazy busy until then and I want to restructure it all).

So for right now, I am concerned with my husband who is taking a short vacation from work in the hospital (not my particular choice for a vacation - but I'll go with him wherever he goes).

Keeps on moving in every direction except where you plan. Just rolling with it all, praying for the best...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Bat Pendants From Stringing Magazine

In lieu of publishing the annual "Beads" magazine that showcased numerous new products in the bead industry, Interweave Press incorporated their top pics from submitted entries into their Fall 2012 Issue of Stringing Magazine.

You can grab a copy of this quarterly publication to see all the wonderful pieces they selected. My three bats were chosen to be part of the Ceramic Beads collection.

And here is some insight into how I make these (perfect time to post this seeing as how I need to replenish my stock of these for sale in my Etsy shop and website, and snapped some quick pics this afrernoon in my studio).

First I roll out the porcelain clay & then cut and texture the clay with my hand carved (and copyrighted - just FYI) texture plates. I use my own texture plates versus a commercially made textured stamps to give me some artistic rights.

I do use some commercial cutters. They are quite a great shape and size...

I like to "see" where the texture will be within the shape. I find that these pieces that i take the time to line up are much more visually attractive to me when they are glazed.

Sometimes a butterfly emerges during this process too.

The pieces are cut out, carefully removed from the cutter and laid flat on scrap pieces of drywall.

I just love all the textures...

Before and after receiving the preliminary holes.

Once these bats are dry enough to hold without bending or ruining the texture, I use a drill bit to make all the holes perfectly round and all the same size.

And all the scrap clay is sprayed down with water...

And put into a plastic bag until I am ready to use it again.

These textured disc beads were also sent in for consideration, but did not make it as they were only picking 1 of 3 submissions. Good thing too because actually - I had not quite gotten them to this happy stage with these yummy voluptuous side textures. They had been a bit of a weaker version that was just regular squished clay.

I like this updated version much better. These two sets are "Azul Copper" on top and "Sky Cowgirl" on the bottom. So my color palettes in my closet...

Let me know if you are looking for a bat in any particular color. I'll be working on glazing them next week for a shop update soon after.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Silk Ribbon For Wrapped Bracelets

It always seems to take me a while to focus and get things to look the way I want them to look. I need to remember marketing when photographing (not just doing a product shoot).

One thing I have wanted to do is update the first image on my Silky & Fairy Ribbon listings in my Etsy shop. So many people are looking for silk ribbons for making simple wrapped bracelets.

My wrist is about 7" (inches) and these all wrap around completely four times, and tie on the fifth wrap (tie then tuck the ribbon ends under to wear).

And the skinny 2mm silks can be braided, used for Kumihimo braiding, knotting or just simply layered.

They are color fast. Hand washable (use a mild soap). And won't fade if stored out of direct sunlight.

These are so much fun to wear (and not to mention "silky" soft)...

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Buttons, Beads and Leather

I grabbed some supplies I had been sitting on for a while...
Some of my smallest buttons 3/4" diameter, 1.5mm leather, and size 6 seed beads.
Beads onto leather - tie knots - tie on button & make a loop...
I love simple projects like this!

Here is one - mid project (so meditative tying knots...).

My leather, suede, and thicker mm waxed cotton stash...

Here are my firsts. Still working through it - getting the steps and measurements down...

And the back side (did I ever mention my obsession with seed beads and knotting?)...

And to think that I pulled it all out because I created this for the last Bead Soup...
Thanks Lori and Malin...

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Sunday, September 2, 2012


Ever have those times that last a while where if something can go wrong - it does?
Well. I think I've been having one of those last couple of weeks: Death, sickness, deadlines, bad kiln firings, guilt (isn't that last one frustrating?)

Today I woke up early. No real reason. Just did. So after 45 minutes of trying to fall back asleep, and then Chloe's early morning climb into our bed, I knew me going back into sleep was hopeless.

So I fed Peeves (she is also recently " Mr. Kitty Soft Paws" by Chloe), made coffee, and went into the studio for some clay time. Way long overdue. It has been weeks!

It was a mess from some glazing last week. So I started to clean & organize.

And here in my clay studio, I found a tray of pendants I have been desperately looking for for a few weeks. You see - in here are pieces I have photographed and they supposed to have made it into my Etsy stock trays in my office. I had a handful of these for sale & actually sold a couple - And.Could.Not.Find.Them.Anywhere!

Now they are safely where they should be. In Etsy stock trays. Phew!

I had even gotten to the point of remaking them - but had this happen (there was a change in the glaze formula since I made the originals - figures. Oh. Well...)

I posted these onto my Marsha Neal Studio FB page & got some good feedback about these pieces. Happy Accident? It is fused to clay so I am not worries about it coming off. But because it was not what I had intended - there is a part of my brain that keeps fighting this. And there are people out there that try to get results like this - crazy glaze effects. Maybe there IS more than what my brain wants to accept right now.

Then there are these from the same firing. I adore this patina glaze...

And I love those squatty pumpkins soon to be showing up at local orchards & garden centers (Cinderella pumpkins). I think I may attempt to glaze some of these with those in mind...

All in all - I think today is starting off excellent by finding those lost pieces & being able to get that order into the mail (I had intentions on going down & making more replacement pieces this morning). But instead, went and found some unexpected meditative clay time...

Let's see where this week goes...

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