Sorry, time got away from me yesterday and there were people visiting the blog from my newsletter to see the finished jewelry in yesterday's post, so I waited a day to post this...
Ok, these are more beads from my senior show in college, around 1996. I still adore these beads! They are salt fired porcelain with some bare clay and some glaze. If you are unfamiliar with salt firing, it is a type of high fire kiln that can reach temperatures of almost 2400 F. In the kiln we used at school, rough Kosher salt was thrown into the kiln at the highest temperatures, and it would have varied and beautiful effects of the pottery and glazes in the kiln.
So these designs are more examples of the organic and insect influence. The bead in the center has obvious scarab like qualities, and I think many of the others are cocoon like. During this time, I learned to use simple wooden tools and knives to impress the clay to create form and design, a technique that I use very heavily today. These are not molded, they are one of a kind.
(additional info for the clay geeks- Since this salt kiln was so high in temperature (about cone 10 and up, usually stoneware was fired in it) and salt is very corrosive, all the beads I did were not stilted with wires or stilts. I think the salt would have just fused everything together. Instead, we used little pats of wadding, which are little clay like balls of mostly Alumina Hydrate. The wadding was used on everything in the kiln, at the bottom of all the pots, and on each of my beads. The wadding also left a little halo of bare clay where the salt didn't touch it, so one had to be creative to find a way to incorporate this bare spot into their pieces.)