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This double-sided face focal is also a rattle talisman which when worn, will serve to keep the wearer centered and focused. Both the focal and the accompanying clay beads were accented with terra sigillata before the final gas firing. They were then combined with complementary Toho seed beads and fashioned into this clay 'art-to-wear' necklace.
This earthenware clay focal is impressed with an Ethiopian Coptic Cross and accented with terra sigillata before firing. Once fired, the pendant is coil wrapped with leather and waxed linen cord.
Additional terra sigillata enhanced earthenware beads are interspersed on the leather cord as the linen cord is coiled in place.
The 18" neckwear is finished with a coil wrapped loop and clay bead closure.
So whether you choose stoneware or earthenware, fire to cone 06 or 10, terra sigillata is a great way to create a natural looking finish - one which doesn't need stilting. Interest is created by also using different colored clay bodies.
Beads can simply be made from a coil and some textures but some really coil beads can be made from button molds. These are simply molds made from neat buttons I have found. I make them 2-sided for most beads and use a needle tool or wood skewer to create the hole through them.
Here is an example of a button mold and the bead made using it.
Disc beads can be made from any clay and simply squeezed between an index finger and thumb to compress into shape. Stacking them 5 or 6 high is an easy way to set the hole, first from one side, then the other.
Beads can be carved then accented with sig or stains.
I fire my beads in a bead tray I have foam pressed.
Hollow tube beads can be left open-ended or capped. These were made from lowfire red and Sheffield Black earthenware and burnished before firing. Then the ends were dipped in a bronze glaze before the second firing on bead rods.
Greenware beads on a tray ready for bisque.
Beads and focals also work well when wire wrapped.
The Hemlock Necklace is made up of copper wire wrapped beads and a focal. So, no matter what direction the clay takes you when it comes to forming beads and focals, there is always another path waiting to be explored. One which is only limited by your expertise and imagination!