Studio Saturdays at the Scene

Well it is finally my turn at Studio Saturday – where each Saturday you get to peek into the studio of a contributing editor of Art Bead Scene. To encourage your participation we are offering a small prize each week, given to one random commenter. And the winner from last Studio Saturday is Bead Mused. Please use the suggestion box to send your mailing address to us and Cindy will send your bead out right away!

Studio Saturday – Elaine Ray

OK – anyone who has ever stepped into my “studio” has seen that my space is just a sort of shelved off portion of our garage, not so great to look at…. But what goes on in that space is great to look at and is an interesting process to see. This week I want to introduce you to the three different types of clay that I use: a reddish brown stoneware clay, a buff colored stoneware clay and a white porcelain clay. These are all considered “medium fire” clays and I fire all my pieces in an electric kiln.

unfired clays

same clays fired to ~ 2200 degrees Fahrenheit

All three of these clays mature at the same temperature so any type can go into the kiln with any firing, allowing flexibility with each kiln load. What I find fascinating is the change of appearance each glaze has on the different clays. In the examples below, one glaze has been applied to each to the 3 types of clay, then fired. This demonstrates how the same glaze on different clays can achieve a varied, but related, color palette.

My question of the week is: Do you like to design pieces in a “series” with a repeating pattern or theme, or do you prefer to design each piece completely individually? Leave a comment to be entered into a drawing to win this set of beads, which highlights the use of “Ocean Wave” glaze on the 3 different colors of clay mentioned above.


If you are interested in seeing more samples of how one glaze looks on different clays, click on the picture above. – Thanks!

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15 Comment

  1. *melanie* earthenwood studio
    February 9, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I love to see how the glazes look on the different clays! It makes the possibilities endless for the ceramic artist, doesn’t it?

    I love to work in a series, whether it is for my beadmaking or for my jewelry making. I am a production potter at heart, i think…

  2. LampworkDiva
    February 9, 2008 at 4:19 pm

    I like to design jewelry with a repeating pattern and symmetry. When making beads, because each one is hand wound onto the mandrel, I’m less likely to make a series of beads. Love the pictures with the same glaze on the different kinds of clay. I really love that red clay! Thanks for showing us your studio, Elaine!

  3. Lorelei
    February 9, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    I wish I could take another pottery class just so I can start making beads. That class seems to always fill up before I get a chance. 🙁 This was great post. I love making completely individual pieces. I have tried to make several of the same thing, and they never quite turn out as great as the first one!

  4. Cynthia Newcomer Daniel
    February 9, 2008 at 7:16 pm

    Sometimes I do totally one-off pieces, but I really like to work in series best. When I’m working there are so many different ways to go at various points in the project; no matter which I choose, I always wonder where it would have gone had I chosen a different route. The beauty of working in series is that I get to find out!

  5. Libby
    February 9, 2008 at 9:19 pm

    I’m not a real art bead maker with a kiln – I play with air dry clay, please forgive me 🙂 – but I like to do a series and then experiment with different finishes just to satisfy that ‘what if’ curiosity. Your beads are beautiful! I’m so glad I found you here today, and thank you for sharing your knowledge with us. Oh and I love your 30 second resolution too!

  6. Carlene
    February 10, 2008 at 12:27 am

    I like to make one of a kind pieces. That way when someone buys one of my pieces, they know there isn’t another one lurking out there somewhere. Which of course can be done with a series of focal pieces, similar, but added to differently. So I guess I’m a fence stradler! I like both!
    I like the way the glazes look so different on the different clays!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  7. Anonymous
    February 10, 2008 at 1:02 am

    I make one of a kind beads/pendants and have never done a series but seeing yours I am thinking of trying it!

  8. Rosepostcards
    February 10, 2008 at 5:12 am

    I work with polyer clay. I do a few on offs, but mainly I work in a series. I seem to get a theme in my head and have to work through it before I can go on to the next.

  9. Melissa
    February 10, 2008 at 6:03 am

    I loved this discussion on glazes. In my own very (extremely) limited (miniscule) experience in working with terra cotta, stoneware and porcelain, I was always surprised by how different the glazes looked on each type of clay. I’m with lorelei – I would love to take a class on ceramic beadmaking. With one or two exceptions, I prefer making one-off pieces rather than a series.

  10. maryharding
    February 10, 2008 at 12:17 pm

    I found your examples with the same glazes on different clays so interesting. I usually work with white low fire clay so I use stains to get different colors. But I am really taken with the red clay effect on your glazes. And I went to Ornamentea and feasted on a wonderful display of your work. I usually work in series because I like to make jewelry with my beads and need more than one of the same color or shape but actually they never turn out exactly the same. Thank you for sharing your ideas and beautiful work.

  11. Phyl
    February 10, 2008 at 2:59 pm

    I’d rather you make each piece different from others; you might do some in different colorways or on diff. claytones.LOVE the dark red clay!

  12. Elaine Ray
    February 10, 2008 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks to everyone for your compliments. The red clay is my overall favorite clay to work with, but I do love that “toasted marshmallow” look the buff clay gets along the glaze line with some of the glazes (so named by my friend Jane at http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5113533).

    Glad you stopped by the Art Bead Scene!

  13. Tari of claybuttons
    February 10, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    I usually work in a series or by collection. I have days when I go off and make a single style. Generally I make prototypes and molds.
    I love all the different colors of clay. I use white because it’s like a blank canvas.
    Thanks for sharing your work!!

  14. Joy
    February 11, 2008 at 10:33 pm

    I used to loathe the idea of doing a series with my jewelry. Now, I LOVE it! It ends up being a challenge, trying to put a new spin on a design, just enough to make it different, but not so much that it wouldn’t “fit” in the series.

    So neat to see the different clay colors and how they add another dimension to the finished piece!

  15. Bead-Mused
    February 22, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    Hey Y’all
    I sent my mailing address to Cindy G. Yippee! I’m a winner!! I just want to make sure she got it, so if someone could just let me know. I’m eagerly awaiting my bead!


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