Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Fall Stinging Carnival~~ She Plays With Fire ~~ AND SALE

Thanks for stopping by!  Today I am blogging along with the Fall Stringing Magazine Blog Carnival.  My blogging friend and great customer Jen Judd Velasquez write a great project for the current issue.  Jen included one of my rectangle beads in her "Urban Escape" Necklace featured on page 27 of the magazine.  Jen is blogging today along with the carnival as well a over 20 different project writers and bead makers included in the issue.  Don't forget to check out Jen's Blog as well as Michelle Mach's Blog for a list of all the participating blogs.  Michelle has organized the event and is holding a few giveaways on her blog!

As I said yesterday-- I'm going to tell you a bit about the techniques I use to create the random finishes in the "Smoke Fire" style of beads I sell. 

First of all~~~ It is all about the moment!  Random finishes they are!
The bead Jen used in her project was made in a small batch last year.  Sometimes beads made in the same grouping turn out to have a similar finish..... sometimes they don't.  I like smoke firing because of the surprise.  I never know what the beads will look like until I open the chamber clean them off and polish them up.  Sometimes I'll do the exact same things in the exact same order and end up with two completely different results...  I never know how the fire will burn and I never know the exact placement of a bead inside the firing chamber.

I have a lot of fun experimenting with different material in my smoke firings.  I like to think about how different elements will burn and what kinds of colors they will bring to the bead.  This photo and the first photo are of beads fired at the same time.  What a difference!  I made these beads at a group firing with my local potter's group.  I think we all love to watch things burn :-)  For these beads I added sea weed a friend brought home from Nova Scotia, New Jersey sea weed from another friend, and different materials from a hardware store.  Yep~~ if we had it, we burnt it. 

These beads were made in a wood fire.  I decided to try adding salt to the fire and the result was the black spots on the bead to the right.
Different wood also burns with different colors.  Some wood burns with a brown smoke, some grey.  Some seed pods can make an iridescent finish. 
The two barrel beads here were fired at the same time.... The flames hit them differently and I prepared them in slightly different ways.
Lots of different results.
Here are some of the Smoke Fired beads I will have in my Booth at Bead Fest Philly at the Valley Forge Convention Center this weekend.  Stop by and see me!  I will be in booth #1436 downstairs on a corner. 
Can you tell by my smoke firing that I love surprises? 
Guess what-- Jen actually got the bead she used in her necklace project from one of my surprise sales!

Her rectangle bead was a surprise included with a purchase from my etsy shop.  I thought it was only appropriate to hold a surprise gift sale to celebrate the Carnival Blog event.       


The photo above shows some beads that I did not get to organize for the show.  It's a little bit of everything, a lot of one of a kind pieces or experiments, some raku, some stoneware.....  For every $50 in purchases you can choose 2 pieces from this tray....   Spend $100 pick 4 beads....  Spend $150 pick 6.....    Just let me know you read about the sale.


Make your purchase from my etsy shop and I will include your beady surprise in your package.  Just write "CARNIVAL" in your note to seller and I will choose the goodies for you.  Purchases made Wednesday or later will be mailed on Monday of next week (since I will be at Bead Fest and unable to ship your order until then)

Don't forget to stop by all the blogs and enter the giveaway!
Thanks for stopping by!


  1. I love all those smoke and sagger fired beads and focals! I just posted pictures to my FB page of the last two pieces I made using some of those wonderful beads.

    Have a GREAT time at BeadFest!!!

  2. Thanks for the interesting insight into smoke fired beads and all of the possibilities. It must be so much fun to open up the kiln to see how things turned out!

  3. Hi, hope it's OK to contact you here. We would love to include your blog on our giveaway search engine: Giveaway Scout (http://www.giveawayscout.com). Have a look and if interested, use our online form to add your blog (http://www.giveawayscout.com/addblog/ ). thanks, Josh


Your comments are much appreciated