Wednesday, May 23, 2012


As I mentioned yesterday, my beads involve creating bead blanks or stock that are baked and then shaped after they have been hardened. Here are some examples of beads awaiting a date with the belt sander. Sadly, some may never make it there.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tangerine Eclipse Chevrons

I built this bead cane  the day of the eclipse. Perhaps there is some poetic metaphor here, the way the dark color overshadows the glow from deeper within the bead.

Thank you to everyone for your comments both here and at Polymer Clay Daily. I am so grateful and feel like I've gained many more friends from around the globe.

I wanted to share that my beads are in fact shaped after they have been baked. But rather than a lathe, I'm just using a belt sander with a fine grit. This process is pretty similar to what glass bead makers do, only their tools are a bit more industrial grade and usually involve a wet sander. I do some wet sanding at the very end of the process with a fine grit paper. I imagine many of you do the same. Getting a symmetrical bicone shape is half the fun for me. Plus that's when the magic happens as I watch the layers come to the surface (and discover if the cane is spot on, so-so, or... garbage). I think there is huge potential in this kind of lapidary process and would encourage everyone to experiment (just take safety precautions and protect yourself from the dust)!

I use the same process for my tablet beads. I find that shape to be really appealing. Because I've thought about Chevron beads for so long, they are very exciting for me, but tablet beads are quicker to make, require less clay and are a great way to use scraps. They're actually pretty fun and have endless possibilities.

I'll post some images this week of both the "unground" chevrons and tablet bead blanks so you can see what they look like. Sometimes I just don't have the time to actually get around to the grinding process. For every bead that is finalized, there are a dozen or so that have yet to see the sander.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Shield? Tablet?

A large tablet bead or a shield bead. You choose. Either way, it's still two-sided.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Chevrons: A Fresh Approach

I've been working to improve my approach to polymer clay chevron beads. I'm happy with the results.