Browsing Tag

ceramic bead making


Inside the Studio with Michelle McCarthy of Firefly Design Studio

Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive, we offer a prize each week to encourage you to use that keyboard and tell us what you think. The following week a winner is chosen at random from all eligible entries. And here are the results from last week!

Congratulations to #6 – Susan Marling!  You have won a surprise package of wonderful beads from Mary Harding.  Please contact Mary to claim your prize.
My ceramic bead studio has been in high production mode for some time now.  The second half of December through the end of January was all about creating beads, pendants, buttons and cabochons for Cherry Tree Beads to take to Tucson with them.  They already represent my line on their wholesale website, so I was really excited for them to take them to the To Bead True Blue Show with them.  They should of arrived home from the show a day ago, so I haven’t found out how it went, but hopefully many of my beads found new homes!
Every January and July I redesign my bead show trays.  I have had a lot of fun doing that this past month.  I pretty much split things up into sea life themes, nature themes, spacer beads, cabochons, earring pairs, bracelet toppers and my new sets.  Sets will be a focal pendant, bracelet topper or earring pair with matched up accent beads.
When I produce, I pile up the beads that I want to be a certain glaze color.  I place them on skewers so my hands stay away from the paint and place them in a wood holder to dry.
After they dry, I take a wet pipe cleaner and run that through all the holes or wire loops.  This helps prevent them from sticking to the bead trees while firing.  My last load is cooling in the kiln right now. I have my first bead show of the year this weekend in Pompano Beach, Florida.
Here is a kiln load still warm….
So I can fit quite a few beads in my kiln.  This load is white earthenware with cone 06 glazes which is a firing temperature of 1,855 degrees.  My kiln is digital and I usually fire on the fast schedule, which completes the cycle in a little under 4 hours.  But then I have to be patient during cooling.  It is another 8 hours later that I can open my kiln, which is around 150 degrees.  
I hope you have enjoyed reading a bit about my bead show production.  Now for my question…….
Since sets are a new product for me, I’d like some jewelry designer input.  Besides the focal, how many side beads would you like in a set?  All ceramic or a combination of materials?  I definitely don’t want to take my set idea to a kit level Lol.  Please leave a comment below and a winner will be chosen by random number generator next week.  The lucky winner will receive one of my new sets!