Monday, August 30, 2010

In Need of Color

I love the ways these pendants turned out.  Bright, colorful and pretty.    I'm the kind of person who is affected by grey gloomy days and rain, specially when it last days....  I get gloomy along with the day, unenergized and basically drag with things to get done.  It's safe to say that my favorite time of year is summer.... even when it gets too hot.  But a pick me up for me any time of the year is color in other thing s I see.  Flowers, pictures, jewelry, clothes, pottery among many things.

What is something colorful that you own that makes you happy?


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Some Beads to Show Off

The big pendant in the middle, dark blue pendant and the purple piece were made using the woodblock print stamps I bought at the flea market.

Yesterday I was supposed to post some pictures of the last firing I did on Saturday.  I don't know where the days go, but they sure pass by very fast lately.

The firing I did was just one firing where I glazed greenware beads and fired to the temperature the clay is supposed to be fired.  I liked this one firing doing, because it saves one firing for the bisque load (usually I do  two firings). Plus it saves time, electricity and also wear and tear of my joints.... just kidding! wear and tear of the kiln.  So those things are worth exploring and hopefully having the results all be 100% good will make it better.  The firing had about a ten percent of the beads  not come out well.  This could be blamed on the glaze being kind of old, or it is just not a good glaze to use in only one firing.  I've never had problems with it before...  so I will say it was the firing it only once.  So live and learn.  But most results were good this time, so I like that.

This glaze always look good no matter what clay I use.

I really liked this dark and deep blue.

I am going to continue exploring with different glazes for this one firing approach to save time most of all.  I have a show coming up and need to get lots of pieces done between now and then.  What do you think of these glazes?  I really like them!  they look very different from other pieces I have done with the same glaze.  I have used different clay to so that's part of the difference.

Next post will be about different textures made from an item that most crafters have in their house.... stay tuned.

The purple tear bead on the right and the three teal round beads were stamped with the woodblock I got from the flea market earlier this month.

psssst....  I had to come back and add this picture, I love these pieces.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Testing testing..... Reviewing Bead Racks

A couple months ago I bought a bead rack from Bisque Bead Supply owned by a clay buddy I met online years ago on the Beads of Clay group that we both belong to.

I am always looking for ways to make loading the kiln a little easier with  all the small jewelry pieces I make.  I have a small kiln that is  8" by 8" which by industry standards is known as a test kiln.  Saturday I decided to use the rack for the first time.  I put the high fire wire through one of the holes  and then loaded three glazed beads and pushed the wire to the other side and let it sit on the matching hole.  The rack has holes all along  the length of it at different heights.  So it's easy to figure out where you want your beads to be set  and how many per wire, all depending on the size  of your beads.  I also used one space to hang pendants from the top indentations, this way you make full use of the whole height of the rack.

The rack made the  loading easier than I had done before, I'm always having to reach all the way to the bottom of the kiln to set several wires along one row at a time, it can get tedious  and tiring after a while.  I took the rack to the table, beads on a plate and started filling it.  When I was done I picked the whole thing and put it in the kiln and voila' I was done.  The wires I used were about 7" long, this gave plenty of room for the wire to go across and pass the holes on the opposite side, and after I had filled the rack I realized if I play it well I can hang stuff on the outside too!  Note that if you put something on one end, make sure to put an item on the same wire on the other end, so the weight does not tip the item on the other side because the wire will be lifted a little bit until the hole stops it.  Basically use a balance approach.  The pictures above were taken before loading into kiln.

Rack has been set on top section of kiln 

The picture right above here you can see the left row is where I hung the pendants I talked about above, and also two pendants on the outside of the rack one on each side.  I want to point out also that putting these pieces on the outside (specially the pendant row because of its weight) will avoid sagging of the wire thus avoiding pendants to stick to rack floor.  For those of you who are not ceramic people, things to look out for when doing a glaze firing is that things cannot touch (or rack sides) otherwise they will stick together and will not be usable, you can also see that not all wires had items on the outside because they'd be too close risking getting stuck.

I really liked the bead rack. It's durable, small, stackable.  The size is perfect for my kiln, it was a breeze to fill up and load in kiln.   I am going to order a second one since they are stackable, two will fit just right in my little kiln.  I could see these racks be made in bigger sizes too, I think they could  be used with larger kilns where you could have several in one firing.  I do want to say that this load took fewer beads than I usually put in the kiln, but saving my back from being tired and in pain for the years to come, is worth it to me.  The price for the bead rack is $34.95 plus shipping.  You can get the rods to suspend the beads and pendants also at Bisque Bead Supply click Supplies on the left and it will give you the choice to check the different sizes and gauge.  The wire that I used to fire the beads is nichrome high fire wire, I buy this at my local supplier and it's gauge 17.

If you think you might want to save time in loading your kiln I'd say give this rack a try.  They are available at Bisque Bead Supply made by ceramic people and most of all it is made  in the USA.   You can also buy lots of bisque items that are ready to be glazed and fired, their selection is really big for lots of designs for your ceramic jewelry.  BBS is family owned by Marla James.

Please let me know what you think and if maybe you are thinking of getting one. Wednesday I will post my experience of the results of this firing, it was the first time I did a one time firing.... stay tuned for the results of the firing and close ups of the items pictured above.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Time to Show Off

I have been adding things to my store at Yolanda's Clay  just because I have lots of stuff to list.  And sometimes there is no time, or it takes forever to do the whole process of photographing, editing, listing.  But yesterday and today I have  been sick so I figure I make the time.

But I also wanted to share the look on how my earrings will come packaged now.  Jackie from Made By Jackie  created the above tags for my clay creations.  Aren't those cute? And they look super cute with my earrings!  I love the tags and the earrings together.  Jackie makes a lot of paper products ranging in a big variety from cards for any ocassion, party supplies for kids, banners, cake toppers etc.  Visit her store if you are looking for superly cute things! (I know superly is not a word... :))

And here is a girly little pendat in green and pink with butterfly and hearts.  Can it get any sweeter than that?  I don't think so.
I called these a la scrabble tile since they are 1"

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Great Find at the Flea Market

In case you missed  Sunday's Post  I said I'd write  about something that I have been looking for a while,  Indian Wood Blocks for printing fabric. I found a vendor selling them for the first time here in Irvine!  Every time I go to flea markets, antique stores or swap meet I am in the look out for these since they are great to imprint on clay and make pendants and beads.  

Available on etsy shop

Available on etsy shop

The items on all three pictures above  I used the same block to stamp clay, this block I bought a couple years ago at a farmers market, it was rather expensive reason why I only bought one.  I've seen some on ebay but again the prices are too, high so I kept looking.  Well Sunday was my day, I found a new vendor who sells items from India yes!!  Elizabeth sells tablecloths, napkins and placemats.  And in the middle had a table full of wood blocks!  My wishes came true!  I took a few pics of her booth, and the coveted blocks.

Oh boy... was I in trouble at this booth.... Luckily she had some small ones that ranged from $5 to $8.  But those big ones were $20 plus.

We quickly made a connection with Elizabeth and will get some of her linens soon (blocks were more important).  She is a local gal and was wishing that the event coordinator would invite her back for next month's market.... We saw her coming and cheered  when  Elizabeth asked us  in front of coord. if she should be back next month? we smiled when she said... Okay Elizabeth, do you want to pay now or mail me a check for next month.. yay!  She'll be back!

I bought three blocks and they were under $20 for all three... whew!  So as soon as I can I will start making new designs for pendants and beads to list on etsy.  Stay tuned.

Can't get enough of them...!  See you guys next time

Sunday, August 1, 2010

In love with Flea Markets

My friend Shelley and I have been frequent visitors to a couple of flea markets in our area for a year or so. Tustin is fourth Sunday and Irvine is first Sunday of the month.  Irvine is way bigger than Tustin, so while they have a bunch of the same vendors, they really can't compare.  Today was Irvine's turn.  Please click on pictures for bigger images.

I loved the bench behind the big pillows, but the whole set up is pretty

For some reason today we were taking longer at each booth, basically  there was so much to see.
So, with no kids,  no rushes, no worries to be back at a certain time we went exploring with sunscreen on, all coffeed up we got going..

This is the first time I see this ribbon seller.  I loved her selection and all those colors were bright and beautiful!


The man who owns this store works the wood beautifully, he is my favorite always. He works on those pieces so much by pounding them, sanding them to give them character.  He stains the wood and cleans it to be ready to use as if it was new.
These are more pictures of this booth, so much to see.  

These buckets were $10, good for plants or flowers or just by themselves.
What do you think of the bathtub?

I thought these were so cool!

Unusual for a flea market?  Shelley and I think we should get this so when
one gets tired the other one will push...

Tomorrow I will show a few more pictures of today's loot.  Some stuff I got to use in clay pieces that I am about to start making for an upcoming show.  We also think that next time we should go to Long Beach FM.