Handmade Ceramic Beads and Cabochons to Heat Up Your Summer Jewelry-Making Designs

Jul 12, 2011

A few years ago, I saw some of my beady friends on Facebook creating the most marvelous beaded pendants and cuff bracelets with handmade ceramic cabochons. Up until then, I had only ever used gemstones for my bead embroidered pieces, and these handmade cabochons were so beautiful that I was inspired to give them a try. After using a few of them, I found that I was totally hooked! Using a handmade ceramic cabochon or focal bead made me feel like I was working on some sort of cosmic collaboration with another artist - it's like I'm taking their artistic vision a few steps further and adding to their artistic vision with my own.

I loved drawing my color palettes from the colors of the handmade ceramic cabochons and focal beads that I was using. And the more I looked around, the more I saw handmade ceramic cabochons and beads popping up in finished jewelry. I was thrilled to find so many wonderful artists with so many different artistic styles! It seems like handmade ceramic cabochons, focal beads and components are hot these days, and I couldn't be more thrilled to see more people expressing their appreciation for handmade components. I was even invited to join online artists' collective called Love My Art Jewelry, a group made up of jewelry artists who all have one thing in common: we love to use handmade components in our jewelry designs.

I know that there are many, many talented ceramic bead artists out there, but I just want to share three of my favorites with you and tell you why they inspire me.

Lisa Peters Art: Formerly a photographer and graphic artist, Lisa has been making handmade ceramic and stoneware beads and cabochons since 2003. I don't know what it is about Lisa's work, but it definitely keeps me coming back for more. I think I own more cabochons and beads made by Lisa than I will ever be able to stitch up in a hundred years. Her work is earthy and elegant, with gorgeous finishes that include mother-of-pearl, 14k gold, and Western raku techniques.  I love the challenge of working with Lisa's pieces because I draw my bead colors from the colors of her glazes. (It's more difficult than it sounds!) Lisa's work inspires me to create the perfect balance between her artistic vision and my need for crazy embellished beadwork!
Artisan Clay: Kristie Roeder makes amazing recycled glass and stoneware cabochons, pendants, and donuts. She also makes finished work for sale. I am totally in love with her smoke-fired donuts and beads. She did a run of copper smoke-fired donuts that I have yet to see her replicate. I own one of them, and it's never coming off my neck! Kristie's work is fabulous because of the organic look and feel of her pieces. I don't feel the need to make an overly embellished piece of beadwork to complement it. It almost seems better to make a simple piece of beadwork and allow the natural beauty of Kristie's work to shine through!

Amazing Porcelain by Marsha Hedrick: Marsha does some seriously fanciful ceramic work. Also known for her Native American pottery and sculptures, she has recently started creating a line of handmade ceramic slides and cones which are perfect for Kumihimo and beaded ropes of all kinds. I first discovered Marsha's work when I ordered a couple of tiny Dutch boy and Dutch girl beads. I was absolutely blown away by the detail of the painting and how light and delicate they were! Marsha's art deco and art nouveau slides are delicate and beautiful with 14k gold accents. Since I love making beaded ropes, these handmade ceramic slides and cones add a beautiful finishing touch to my beadwork.

If you want to explore more great trends in handmade jewelry, you won't want to miss the summer issue of Stringing magazine. You'll find dozens of great projects from your favorite jewelry designers along with step-by-step instructions and resources. Better yet, subscribe to Stringing magazine today and make sure you don't miss a single issue all year long!

Have you noticed any new trends in handmade jewelry? Do you have a favorite? Leave a comment and share it with us here on the blog!

Bead Happy,

 Jennifer


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Comments

JanG@25 wrote
on Jul 13, 2011 4:48 PM

I love multi-media pieces.  It always amazes me to see how artists put so many beads and materials together into something so beautiful, you can see yourself wearing it everywhere you go.  It seems so old-fashioned to say that just a few years ago, a salesperson advised me, nose in air, never to mix stones and glass.  Now, I'm seeing so many different ways to put beads on string or wire or in polymer clay (among others), that advice doesn't even register on my mental radar.  Pure fun!

The other trend I like is the use of brass, copper, and pewter in nicely made beads, both accents and focals.  They're much less costly and, because of that, designers often seem more willing to make interesting, less conventional beads.