I love to make faux beads from polymer clay and have been obsessed with it lately. Here are four of my favorite books. They contain plenty of recipes for making every kind of faux substance you can imagine.
It took a long time for this necklace to come together. My friend Jeanne gave me the amber after her husband died. I got the coral, turquoise and Balinese beads at an outside art show in Portland, Oregon. I bought the red disc beads-actually made in Africa from old phonograph records-at a bead show.
The beads spoke to me one day and I put together the necklace below. I couldn’t find the right clasp to save my life, so, with some basic wire skills I learned in a glass from my Beading Yoda Jeri Schatz, I made a clasp. And then I made more clasps. And then I wrote an article on how to make clasps which is in the latest edition of Step By Step Wire Jewelry.
To me, the words Africa and beads go together like Romulus and Remus, Baskin and Robbins or Damon and Runyon. In fact, I started working in polymer clay because I wanted to replicate millefiore African trading beads.
So last year, when I was lucky enough to travel in South Africa
I bought beads and bead work in dinky little stores, outdoor markets and anywhere else I could.
I found the beads you see above at a wonderful store in Capetown called Bead Merchants of Africa. The beads are are brass Abijas, blue glass, amber/copal, and millefiore trading beads. Most of these beads are not native to South Africa, but Bead Merchants carries everything!
I have designed a necklace with them and just need to put it together. Alas, it sits unfinished in my workshop! When it is finished, you’ll be the first to see it.