When I was in high school, I remember making beads out of red clay. I still have them. They’re fairly uniform and not bad for a sixteen-year-old. More recently, some of my friends from the studio were working on beads. Dan had purchased a new fangled tool that was supposed to help make beads. It worked so so but wasn’t great and he wasn’t impressed either. If I’m going to make some again, I’ll stick to the old fashioned method, completely by hand. Beads still intrigue me and I’d like to do some more but, before I do, I want to design some earrings or necklaces and make them piecemeal. There is an excellent series about bead making on the net and I’m listing the links to it below. Mary Harding narrates as she makes the beads, some of which she takes through the firing stage. In the first video, Mary shows us the rudiments of making beads with simple materials, bbq skewers, sponge, bowl of water, clay needle. Her techniques are carefully recorded by the camera person and there are plenty of close-ups and pans. I especially like the last three of the series, which show us how to make lovely raku beads. Ms. Harding provides a great service in posting these instructional videos on youtube. Her finished work can be found at Mary Harding Jewelry and it is exquisite. You can tell she is a precision worker in the following videos and it is very gratifying to see her range of designs and glaze treatment on her own website. If you want to make beads you need to look no further than Mary Harding.
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