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Author Topic: Ceramic Beads?  (Read 10296 times)

Grubbi

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Ceramic Beads?
« on: June 25, 2012, 11:04:57 AM »
I'm thinking of venturing into making ceramic beads. Problem is I don't know too much about it so I want to do a lot of research before investing money in all the stuff needed.

Things I "think" I know -

I'll be using earthenware clay. This needs to dry completely after the "bead shaping" stage. The beads then need to be fired in a kiln...the bisque stage?  Then glazed...glaze left to dry and then glaze fired.

What I don't know...

I would like a tabletop kiln as I don't have the space for a huge one.  How many beads would I expect to get in a tabletop kiln in one go?

What is the firing temp of earthenware clay...is it less for smaller items such as little beads? Where's the best place to buy it?

What kinda kiln should I be looking for? Where's the best place to buy them in the UK?

I kinda get that "cones" are used to gauge temp.  Do I need cones or can I get a kiln with a temp setting?

What are the best types of glaze to buy and where from in the UK? There are many different glaze brands...do they do sample packs?

What other tools do I need besides clay, kiln and kiln furniture?

I'm asking a lot but it's really hard to find decent tutorials regarding ceramics, especially if you're UK based.

Thanks! x
« Last Edit: June 25, 2012, 11:06:33 AM by Grubbi »

ejralph

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #1 on: June 25, 2012, 11:07:42 AM »
I'd really recommend you buy Ceramic Bead Jewelry by Jennifer Heynen

It will answer all your questions about starting out making eartheware beads. There is a steep learning curve to ceramic clay - way more complex than polymer, but this book is great

Emma
Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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MelMcG

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #2 on: June 25, 2012, 12:54:53 PM »
I can't help, Natalie, but I just want to say good luck with your new venture.

Mel  :)

Grubbi

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2012, 02:54:37 PM »
Thanks Mel :)

Thanks Emma, I've just ordered that book. Will take a look through it before buying anything :)

Carrie

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #4 on: June 25, 2012, 03:16:32 PM »
It's an exciting medium for sure!  If you can stand the suspense, waiting till you can open your kiln and see the results,  then go for it.
Lots of experimenting, note-taking, anticipation, fun, excitement - and disasters and disappointments too -  await you  ;)   

Quickie answer to one of your questions - the size of an item doesn't affect the firing temp I'm afraid.

Grubbi

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #5 on: June 25, 2012, 06:37:25 PM »
Thanks Carrie :)

Not sure if I'm biting off more than I can chew. I love Polymer and do a lot of metalwork and jewellery making too but feel like I need a new challenge :p

rubyrube

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #6 on: June 25, 2012, 08:03:58 PM »
Have fun Natalie, I'm sure you will be brill at in no time.
Carol

Grubbi

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #7 on: June 27, 2012, 07:50:02 PM »
Do kilns need to operate outside of the house?  Like in a garage or shed? I don't have an exterior workspace you see so would need it to go in the house. I'm only looking at a small kiln by EFCO, 13 amp etc.

Bev

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #8 on: June 27, 2012, 08:33:42 PM »
They're fine to use in a house. Usual caveat re fumes I guess  ;)

ejralph

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #9 on: June 27, 2012, 08:35:06 PM »
No, there are many hobby kilns suitable for indoor firing that will run off regular electrical supply in the house.

Just use common sense. Don't overload the circuit with other appliances. Position it on a flameproof surface with nothing flamable around it and don't leave the kiln unattended.

Remember many small kilns are only suitable for things like enamelling or bead annealing and won't reach the temperatures you need to fire ceramics.

If you are looking for a good kiln for ceramic beadmaking, the paragon Caldera is excellent - I use mine all the time and its the same as the one used in that book I recommend too.

Don't buy a kiln until you have REALLY read up and really thought about what you need. Think about every craft you will want to try in the future too. Know the temperatures you will need to reach for each one. Know first if you need a digital controller or if a kiln with a kiln sitter will do.

A kiln is usually a major investment for any beadmaker, so it pays to take your time and make sure you get what is right for you. Other people can recommend kilns, but its always from their perspective. Only you will be able to work out the best for your own individual needs.

Emma
Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
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Bev

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #10 on: June 27, 2012, 08:44:18 PM »
And wot she said  ;) ;D ;D

Grubbi

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #11 on: June 27, 2012, 09:28:06 PM »
I have been reading a lot but the stuff I've been reading has been going on about toxic fumes from glazes and how they should have a ventilation system etc. I don't know if they're talking about big huge kilns though or whether the fumes would come from the clay/glazes irrespective of what kiln you use.

I don't have a craft room or even a spare room so the kiln would be going in my kitchen. Just worried me a bit :s

Is the Paragon Caldera safe to use in the home Emma?  Is it a 13 amp plug in one? 

« Last Edit: June 27, 2012, 09:57:43 PM by ejralph »

ejralph

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #12 on: June 27, 2012, 10:02:57 PM »
Glazes and claybodies themselves will release noxious gases at different stages of the firing process, so ventilation is important. But for hobby kilns, most people find keeping the kiln in a room with the windows open will suffice.

I'm not sure I would want to fire a ceramics firing in my kitchen - the kiln is on for hours at a time and gets quite smelly. Not something I would want to combine with cooking my dinner. But you could work around it I am sure. Make a packed lunch for firing day or something!

The Caldera is a hobby kiln and plugs into a normal socket. I love mine, its a little workhorse. I have used it for annealing lampwork, doing precious metal clay, ceramic clays, glass fusing etc.

Another thing about kilns - its generally better to not run them to their max temperature. So you want one where the temp range it is capable of will more than cover your needs, not just scrap through if that makes sense.

Emma
Emma from Sunny Sussex, UK
www.ejrbeads.co.uk Projects, articles, bead galleries & more
www.ejrbeads.co.uk/shop Art beads, clay & jewellery supplies

Grubbi

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #13 on: June 27, 2012, 11:27:07 PM »
I'm probably going to go with the Caldera, having trouble sourcing somewhere to buy it though, only found one place so far in the UK, so can't really compare prices.

Grubbi

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Re: Ceramic Beads?
« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2012, 08:54:58 PM »
Hiya Emma, can I pick your brains for a second?

Read the book and understand the process. Bit confused about glazes though. The book said there are underglazes and overglazes.  I'm looking on a site at glazes, there are none named "overglaze", there are glazes and underglazes. Are the regular "glazes" the overglazes? Such as Mayco glazes and can these be mixed to make custom colours?

Can you get glazes that aren't glossy, with a matt finish or would this be just underglaze without the overglaze on top?
« Last Edit: July 02, 2012, 09:08:06 PM by Grubbi »