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Inside the Studio with Mary Harding

Inside the Studio: Mary Harding

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 Andrea Porter You have won of a $25  gift certificate from Humblebeads. Please email Heather to claim your prize.

My Inside the Studio post this month is a follow up on the post I did in Februrary titled Inspiration Part I  about being inspired by some sea shells sent to me by a friend.  Today I am revealing the results of using the textures of these shells to create ceramic clay beads.  

                                                various shell textures
I found this set of textures the most useful for making beads. I made silcon molds from some of these shells and used them to create  a variety of beads with.  I also found that some of the textures that pleased me in this set did not make good molds:  either the texture was too great and would result in long protrusions that could easily break off or be harmful or that the texture was too small to be be visible in a small pendant.   Of this set I made 2 molds that turned out really well.  One was of the small clam shell as seen in the picture below:

several small pendants or charms made from a clam shell mold

These clam shell beads came out well because the mold was bold and clear.  It was easy to form these small charms and the addition of an iron oxide stain on the stoneware clay, defined the ribs on the shell and I think make a dramatic presentation.  
                                           2 part silicon mold of the underside of a sand dollar shell

Of all the molds I  made, I found this  mold to be the most versatile and beautiful.  It has an intricate pattern that extends over a wide area so it can be used both selectively and as a whole print.  I chose to use it on several long hollow beads that I made.
long hollow bead sand dollar texture view 1
                                                long  hollow bead sand dollar texture view 2

I used it again on two other hollow beads:

                                                   sea shells from Florida 

The other shells that I found most successful for making textures were the two clam shells on the far left of this picture.  I did not make a mold from them but rather used them to imprint textures into beads as in the examples below:

                            Long hollow bead imprinted with clam shell and sand dollar textures

                                     Bib pendant with clam shell and other textures

And then I made some toggle clasps with imprints from some of the shells

And finally, I used a sea urchin to imprint the toggle clasp below and glazed both the clasp and the clam charm in a creamy white/red glaze giving the pieces a much less rustic look.

The Ice

And how did all that beautiful ice inspire me? I had a hard time thinking of how to interpret the ice as a texture.   I think it must have been a subconscious effect as I made quite a few drop beads during these last weeks that I dipped into glaze for coloring like the ones below:
Colored icicle bead drops
Not exactly a texture but surely a shape reflection…
Now for our question:  While I was making these beads I realized that there are lots of textures out there that I had never noticed before–like what I found on the sand dollar, or the tiny spirals on the top of snail shells– you can see one in the third bib pendant.  
 What kinds of textures do you like to use in your work and where do you find them?
Leave a comment in the section below and you will be automatically entered to win a set of sea shell textured charms.
I hope you enjoyed seeing the beads I made with sea shell textures.
Thanks so much for stopping by.