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
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!