ceramics, planning

One more dream…

…and that is the thought of making my own ceramic beads.  I caught wind of a group of artists running some site with multiple kilns, nearby; I can’t remember the name of it, though.  I might be able to find them on a search…or by looking back through my bookmarks.  Originally I noted them for M’s benefit, but M wasn’t interested.  I might be able to gain this group’s help if I wanted to experiment with ceramic beads and glazes.

Before I get into the latter part of this, I want to be clear:  at this point, this is all stuff I’m just going through in my head.  I am in no way here intending to ask for money!  I’m just trying to think things through in writing.

If the start-up costs of making ceramic beads weren’t so high (this is majorly for the kiln — kilns start out being expensive and only get more expensive), I’d really be more gung-ho about working this out myself.  I’m thinking that the costs of overhead may ramp up, though.  So we are slowly collecting tools useful for jewelry and wirework, depending on classes and projects.  What I can see which would be useful, which we don’t yet have, are:

  • Flat-nose pliers (easy buy — $7-$40)
  • Tumbler ($100-$200)
  • Large-flame torch — probably Butane, at this point ($50-$60) — but this can upgrade and easily get much more expensive, if I get more serious
  • Bracelet, ring, and ear cuff mandrels ($30-$50, $25, $40)
  • Liver of Sulfur (inexpensive)

These would allow me to move into territory like filigree; polish and work-harden metal, and patinate metals.

If I obtained a small kiln useful for PMC and enameling (I think there are some which are like this), I would have the equipment to create enameled jewelry and Metal Clay pieces.  If I combined filigree with enamel, there we have Cloisonne.

Of course, there are likely other hidden costs and other hidden routes that I’m presently unaware of because I haven’t been involved in the actual work, yet.  (Or, as in the case of — for example — a flex-shaft machine [good for rotary cutting, polishing, drilling, etc.], I have a workable substitute [Dremel] which will do until my commitment is proven.  Same thing with the torch setup.)  One of the reasons I’m even going over this is because in one of my classes, we’re supposed to make a business plan, and that involves predicting costs.  Predicting costs involves thinking about the future.  (Of course, though, I have a tendency to live in the future…)  So in a way, I’m kind of doing part of my homework now!  :D

But!  If I am successful at my jewelry, and I’m still then inclined in the direction of knotting, I may one day be able to purchase a ceramics kiln, with which I’d be able to make ceramic components.  I don’t have to use all these myself — I could sell a lot of ceramic beads, I’m thinking.  This is because there is a general lack of large-holed beads on the market which are suitable for knotted designs.

But why do that if you can do everything else?  Wouldn’t enameled or Cloisonne beads really draw more attention?  Or fine-silver small-scale sculptures?  And if I had an enameling kiln, I could very well eventually make and sinter (heat-treat so they don’t explode) my own lampwork glass beads, thus evading the issue of needing to make beads out of ceramic (though of course, I’d really need to take care of my lungs, at that point [meaning, respirator]…my friend A has pointed out that a lot of stained-glass workers contract illnesses from chemical exposure; hot glass [and especially hot colored glass] isn’t anything to take casually).  But even though I could do lampwork…is that really what I want to do?  Will working with PMC/Art Clay and polymer clay satisfy the need to make things with my hands, in that way?

Hey, so it’s almost 1 AM where I’m at, and I should really get going!