Thursday 4 January 2018

How many of What? Crackly Stuff, No Room in the Inn. . and New Year Good Intentions

First off, may I wish a very happy new year to all my readers, present or past. thank you for your support. It is nice to think that I am not just talking to myself.  ;-) 

I'll try to make the read worth the wear on your link clicking finger. Failing that, I will at least try to make the the pics worth looking at. . .

simple crackled barrel beads

So, to business. . . 

As you may have realised from the title and any pics that may have passed in front of your eyeballs so far, I have been playing around with crackly stuff again. It's nice to come back to a technique after a month or two of not using it. I find the time gap has somehow consolidated a few things in my mind, and I am more sure of what I can achieve with it. 

I am really liking how it can be combined with my turned technique to make ancient looking beads which could be made of anything from ceramic to bone to horn etc.

Semi trans cernit tube beads with crackle and alcohol inks

Talking of making beads, the other thing that has been exercising me somewhat, is the issue of how many of what to make. 
I guess it all depends on the use the beads get put to eventually. I used to imagine my creations being used in necklaces and the like, so I made sets of six or eight. The number was pretty arbitrary but seemed to be ok with buyers. 
After a while I realised that they were using them mainly as earring components, which I obviously didn't have a problem with, but I did think that maybe making pairs would be more convenient for earring makers, so I started making pairs of beads. 

So, sixes or pairs? 

Crackled round semi trans beads

I hope you had a good Christmas or other festivity you may indulge in.

Mine was by and large good. We had an interesting moment when we turned up (after a four hour drive) at our pre booked hotel in a small Yorkshire town only to find that it was dark and uninhabited. It had gone out of business a couple of weeks before. The booking firm sent us an email just after we left on the 23rd but we weren't online after that so it didn't get to us in time.
Luckily the phone number had been rerouted to a pub just up the road, who were very nice and helpful and got us booked in to another local hotel. Phew.
Could have done without that to be honest ;-)

green patchy crackle beads

The new year gig I mentioned in a previous post went very well. Just me on bass and my mate Rich on guitar and vocals banging out old faves. The pub was packed and we all had a great time. Yay! And we got paid! (getting paid to play is a novelty, believe me)

grey round, turned technique semi trans crackle beads

I haven't made any new year resolutions as they never quite work, and make you feel bad when you don't keep to them. I have set some intentions however, but not with negative associations attached.

I am going to list more stuff on my Etsy shop and share on FB and Instagram etc. Thus keeping my profile reasonably high. But only if it feels good to do it. I'm trying to avoid the concept of 'should' where feasible and not harmful, as it usually turns out to be a confused version of somebody else's 'should' and not something drawn from my own experience. Which doesn't tend to turn out well imho.


I made some more cool spikes. These are fun to make and I will keep on making them and variations of same. . .

MDF backed poly clay 'biscuit' beads

I also found some smaller 'biscuits' (for use with a 'biscuit jointer') in a diy store (in the reduced price box.  .) They are MDF unlike the larger ones I had used previously which were plywood. This makes them a bit less forgiving to work with, and produced nasty dust when sanded, but nevertheless I made some MDF biscuit backed poly clay textured drops in a faux bone style. .

Well, that will do for now. Have a good 2018 'going forward' as they say, I intend to have a good one too, though going sideways is probably more my style ;-)
Jon x


  1. Back to the crackle is SO interesting to look at again Jon! You do this technique very well! I'm impressed with your colours and how they turned out.
    Plus your spikes - gorgeous! I can see them for earrings as well.

    But how many to make? No idea. I wonder if buying in the amount you want is an option? One bead - two bead - three bead - four? It's always a mystery to me. Even if I make them for myself I have to figure out how many I'm going to need in a necklace and make a couple extra because for sure I'm going to screw them up when it comes to drilling or anything along the way actually.

    And you got paid to play! Hooray!!!!!!!! That's wonderful! You're obviously a multi-talented guy.

    Happy New Year Jon. I'm looking forward to another year of discovery with you. You've opened my eyes to a number of things this past year and I've so enjoyed your journeys in your new home.

  2. Thanks ;-) I hear you about making more than you might need in case of screw ups. I have a few sets of five and seven for that very reason. . . I'm glad you enjoy the blog. I'm sure you shared your website a while ago but I can't find the link. Would you mind sharing again, no pressure, I just am interested in where people who like my work are 'coming from' in a non judgemental way. Have a good 2018 ;-)

  3. I just discovered your blog. so many lovelies. I make necklaces. The number of general, odd numbers. 5, 7, 9 are magical....number depending on size. The odd number gives you the opportunity to center one as a "focal" (even if they are all very similar). If I am making "matched sets", and do not have enough special beads, I use the support beads for earrings. Ideally, 7 bigger beads and two that are less weighty make nicely balanced pieces/sets. That stated, there are no rules...and with bead this beautiful, anyone would take whatever number you decide to make.

    1. Thanks, That's useful info. Good to know. I shall digest. . . ;-) And many thanks for the compliments about my beads.