Someone recently asked me if one could make ceramic beads. Not only is it possible, you'd be "turning mud into gemstones" like Jennie Lorette Keats of JLK Handcrafted Jewelry. Jennie is a passionate potter and silver smith who makes gorgeous jewelry using her hand formed cabochon "tiles". These are carefully layered with glazes and accented with gold, copper and semi-precious stones. The stunning results are truly one of a kind.
Jennie fires her stones in kilns. She says, "The child in me quickly emerges each time the kiln is opened, I can’t wait to open it up and see what I will pull out. I feel as though I have struck a vein of a new and wonderful stone as the glazes have melded to form my new stones." Jennie explains that the process she uses includes hand painting with special glazes developed by her sister Pamela Owens, the co-owner of Jugtown Pottery. The glass like coating gives her cabochons a gemstone effect. Repeated firings give the stones "depth and mult-dimensional colors". Just beautiful!
Jennie's personal story as a jewelry artisan is also very inspiring. She worked in the tourism industry for years. Back in 1996, she was encouraged by her sister to take a silver smithing course. She then started designing with pottery shards for the pottery shop. She eventually quit her regular job in 1999 to devote to her jewelry business full-time. Jennie celebrated her 10th anniversary in the business this past August! You can catch up on Jennie's latest news as she also writes a blog.
For more tutorials check out my Jewelry Making Tips
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