Thursday, June 4, 2015

New Toy = More Beads

It's a little over 18 months now since I started my ceramic bead making journey and I think now it's safe to say that unlike some things I've tried, this is not going to be a passing fad - I am so in love! Every book I've read and every experienced ceramicist I've spoken to has told me that working with clay is a life time learning process and I think that's part of the reason I'm so smitten - no chance of me getting bored with this medium.

That said, over the last few months I do feel that things have really started to click as I've gained a better understanding of clay and glaze properties and how they work together during the firing process. I've only scratched the surface of course but I'm beginning to gain confidence and develop an original design style - not that easy in field that is already crammed to the rafters with extremely talented artists but, well worth pursuing for the creative satisfaction that results.

Fortunately, my lovely lovely customers seem to like what I'm doing too and the last few months have been very busy.  The range that developed out of the Spring Hare challenge AJE held earlier in the year has proved to be very popular and my tiny little table top kiln has had to work incredibly hard to produce enough stock for me. So much so in fact that it's actually awaiting some first aid to have it's burnt out elements replaced and that's another part of the learning curve - DIY kiln repairs...never thought I'd be doing that!

My little tabletop Paragon Caldera kiln photo courtesy of Paragon Industries

But with this all this going on and the new ideas I want to try I out I have been thinking that maybe I needed a kiln that was a just a little larger. Being a bit concerned about going bigger I didn't want to rush into anything and discussed the options with my fellow AJE team mates who of course were 100% behind me going out and shopping for new toys... they really are so helpful when it comes to spending money. I decided I needed to actually see a kiln for myself to be sure so on Tuesday I took myself off to see a supplier who had one I was interested in in stock and the rest as they say is history. Said kiln is now in the boot of my car waiting for some musclebound assistance to help me set it up at the weekend.

How much bigger is it I hear you, well maybe more than just a little - my current kiln has an internal capacity of 7 litres and the new one is 43 litres! Eek - what have I done... that is a helluva lot of beads and I am currently lurching between feelings of delight and sheer panic! Of course a really big advantage is that I'm not limited beads and can now make some bigger pieces too and my little kiln will still be kept busy with smaller runs and bisque firings.

My new grown up Rohde Ecokiln image courtesy of Scarva
So I may be a little quiet over the next few weeks as I start the process of making up enough bisque beads and components to keep this little monster fed (it is still little in the wider world of kilns) . Hopefully while I'm doing that new more new ideas will come to the fore to complement mu existing ranges. I definitely want to develop more mixed beads set like these that I've auctioned recently over at Ceramic Art Bead Market...

It's an exciting time for me and I owe big thanks to all the muddy friends who've encouraged and supported me in my creative endeavours and again to my followers and customers who make it all worthwhile (cue Qwyneth Paltrow moment). Hopefully in a few weeks I'll be back here showing you what me and my new kiln buddy have produced...I can't wait.


  1. Lesley - This is the Ecotop? I have the same kiln and I LOVE IT!!! It is such a breeze to use and generally just feels like a fabulously designed thing. Filling her for bisque firings is, however, quite a job! Have fun!

    1. I thought it might be Claire....fortunately I can get a lot of bisque in the little kiln so will probably build up that way.

  2. Very excited for you Thea!! Have fun with your new toy! :)

  3. Congrats on your new toy. I look forward to seeing all the wondrous beautiful things that will be coming out of it.

  4. Always glad to be of assistance with new toys. Looking forward to seeing what comes out of it!

  5. So excited for you! Shame I can't come play... And I was glad to see the scale picture with the human... Now maybe I want a Caldera for metal clay...

  6. Don't be scared! Your beads are awesome and this means you can make more! Yippee!

  7. So excited for you Lesley! You ceramic work is marvelous and now there will be more of it. A good thing all around!


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