We recently spoke with Marla James, founder of Fired Clay Artists, a community of ceramic bead artists with separate online stores all under one roof. The prize for this month’s Ophelia’s Garden challenge has been donated by these fine artisans. Here is our interview with Marla.
What is your personal name, business name, website and location?
HI! My name is Marla James. My Business name is Fired Clay Artists. My website is www.FiredClayArtists.com. I am living and working in Redford, Michigan. It is a suburb of Detroit.
How did you get into beadmaking?
Well, I started out as a potter, until a few years ago when a friend (Gwen Gray) asked me to show her how to make beads out of clay. Once I started making tiny things like beads and pendants, I was totally hooked. I slid the pottery wheel aside and started producing jewelry focals. And I have been at it ever since.
You have opened a new venue for ceramic bead artists to offer their work on the web called Fired Clay Artists. Tell us more about this concept.
This concept was born because of the folks on the Beads of Clay forum that I belong to. There are always new people joining our forum with lots of questions. One common question that I was seeing, was how does a person get their work out there. I decided that I would help by giving these new folks an easy way to show the public their artwork, without the high cost of opening an individual website. And in this process, also giving them the opportunity to pitch in for ads that would draw jewelry artists to our website.
Do your store owners sell wholesale or retail?
Most of the store owners offer both retail and wholesale.
What was your inspiration for creating Fired Clay Artists?
My inspiration came directly from the Beads of Clay forum. This group of artists are the most giving, caring group of individuals that I have ever come across. And I wanted to be a part of that, and give back in a way I thought might be useful.
Do all of your store owners make beads?
Yes they do.
What kinds of beads do they make?
They make beads and pendants of all shapes and sizes that can be used in lots of art projects including jewelry.
What processes and materials do they use?
Different firing process including Raku, High Fire, Low Fire, Reduction firing, Pit Firing, just to name a few! They make beads and pendants from porcelain, stoneware, earthenware, terra cotta, and other types of clay.