Ceramic and lampwork beads, interview with Caroline Dewison from BlueBerriBeads

Ceramic hearts by Blueberribeads

As you might know I’m doing a series of monthly interviews with bead artists I admire. And I’m so happy Caroline Dewison from BlueBerriBeads agreed to do this months interview.
Caroline is well known for her beautiful ceramic, porcelain and glass beads. I love to design with her beads. It is as if the design process just flows naturally. I’m so exited that one of my necklaces and a matching bracelet with her famous urchin beads were featured in the spring 2014 edition of Stringing magazine.
And I bet, like me, you cannot wait to find out more about the woman behind these beautiful beads. So here you go.

Interview

Q: When did you start your career as a ceramic artist? What did you do before you became a bead artist and what made you decide to become one? Was this transition difficult?
A: Hi Janine, and thank you for having me!

I started out making ceramic beads about 5 years ago. It was all a bit of an accident really. I was jewellery making and was trawling the net for supplies and discovered lamp work. I knew immediately that I had to make beads and that was originally what I’d set my heart on doing. I got a kiln and hoped the rest of the equipment would follow.

Necklace with handmade ceramic pendant by BlueBerriBeads

Life got in the way and I was expecting my first child so disposable income went out of the window for a while. I still had the kiln so I started researching what else I could do with it. I’d had a forgotten about dream of working with clay when I was younger, so I decided if I couldn’t make beads from glass, I would make them in clay.

Before becoming a bead artist, I was a sign maker/fitter. Myself and my husband ran a shop together and worked on contract fitting graphics to fleet vehicles. It was great fun and allowed me to express my creative side designing, and my need to make things through the manufacturing and fitting. Every day was different, and I loved the fact that we got to do some amazingly high profile work such as track cars for Le Mans. This came to an end though when I was about 8 and a half months pregnant and I couldn’t fit round the side of vehicles any more.

I’d already decided to give up work for a while to care for our son, but always intended on getting back to it at some point. But with a baby that slept for 20 hours a day, I was itching for something to do, so the beads took over. I wouldn’t say it was a difficult transition, but I was sad to leave working alongside my husband.

Ceramic bird beads by BlueBerriBeads

Q: Can you tell a bit about the early days of BlueBerriBeads?
A: It was a huge learning curve, and it started with a lot of research. There wasn’t much information out there about ceramic beads, it was more focused towards making pots and sculpture, so I gathered everything I could find out and made enough to fire my kiln. I wanted to do everything, so there were lots of experiments and disasters, (when I finally got brave enough to fire the kiln up to 1220oC) and a lot of the time was spent sitting next to the kiln watching in terror as the numbers rose.
I set up my shop on Etsy hoping that someone out there would love what I’d made and made my first sale… from then on, I didn’t really look back!

Q: Are you a full time designer?
A: Yes, all day, all night, whenever I can! I absolutely love my job! Both my children started school full time last September, so I’ve been able to gradually build my business while they were little and can now concentrate on it more during the day until they get home.

Ceramic  urchin beads by BlueBerriBeads

Q: Are you self-taught?
A: Yes, I’ve always had a very strong creative urge which was encouraged by my Grandma when I was a little girl. She taught me to sew, knit, crochet and bake. All the traditional skills that little girls should know! It was a great start as it helped me to realise I could create whatever I wanted if I learned the skills. I’m a learn by doing type of person, so if I think of something I want to make, I will experiment and test out ideas until they work. I love having the freedom to work organically and see where an idea takes me.

Q:  You work with a great variety of ceramic like stoneware, porcelain, earthenware and Raku. Why did you choose the medium ceramic and do you have a favorite kind to work with? On your blog I have seen that you work with metal as well. Are you planning to do more metal work or explore other materials as well in the future, like glass or polymer clay?
A: As soon as I touched clay, I knew it was for me.
I love to sculpt and find it really satisfying to work with. My favourite at the moment is porcelain, it’s fantastic for capturing small detail and I loved the finished glaze result.

I’ve been practising with metal and trying out lots of different ideas for a couple of years. I’m hoping to get into working with more silver now I have some of the basic skills I need to not make a total mess of it! I’d like to incorporate everything I’ve learned in to some mixed media jewellery. I’ve always wanted to have the skills to create something from start to finish. I am currently practising with lamp working. I got a torch a couple of years ago and like to play when I get the time. I make up the odd mixed media set using ceramic and glass beads, but I’m not quite up to standard for making focals yet. I just need more hours in the day to practise and do everything else I need to do!
I’ve tried pretty much every craft going, but I tend to lean towards the more dangerous ones!

Ceramic urchin beads and lampwork beads by BlueBerriBeads

Q: What inspires you in your work?
A: Everything! but predominantly the natural world. I love birds, insects, trees, leaves, all of it. I am also inspired by mythology, magic and fairytales, but ultimately, I just want to make nice things! I have hundreds of sketches of ideas of things to make ‘one day’ Hopefully that day will be soon as I’m having a custom built workshop put up in the garden, so the extra space will mean I can work on more than one project at a time.

Ceramic pendant by Blueberribeads

Q: Can you tell a bit about the work involved in making beads. Does that vary greatly depending on the kind of ceramic you work with?
A: The start of a bead is always the same, a bag of mud. There are slight variations on how you can work with the different clays, some are more plastic than others, some need to be worked at different stages, but the process is the same. The raw clay is formed, left to dry for a couple of days and then goes through a bisque firing. This is so that the clay becomes hard, but is still porous so that you can paint the glaze on and it will bond properly during the glaze fire. The glaze firing is where the clay is fired up to full temperature and the finished piece will be strong, waterproof and coloured. Overall the process takes about a week.

For Raku firing, beads are fired in a gas kiln and taken out at around 1000oC and dumped in to a bin of combustible material, that’s really good fun! But for stoneware and earthenware glazes, it’s the kiln that does all the work, it’s just a matter of how you set it up to run.

Ceramic hearts by BlueBerriBeads

Q: You are designing beads, you write blog posts for your own blog and are a regular contributor to Art Jewelry Elements. I’m curious: what does a typical day in the life of Caroline Dewison looks like?
A: Manic! I drop the kids off and am home just after 9, then I try and work from my list of things I have to/want to do until they’re back at 3pm. I take things as they come usually, each day can be different. I don’t make beads every day, and I’m terrible at posting on my own blog, but I do as much as I can, when I can. I’m currently working on a desk in the dining room, so I’m restricted to how much I can have going on at any one time, but I have a dream that the new workshop will be organised with lots of projects in various stages, everything where I can find it and everything working together in harmony… lol.

Q: There are a lot of bead and jewelry artists. Is there a particular artist you admire or who you consider a role model?
A: I admire any one with originality and skill in their work. Having tried out pretty much everything, I can appreciate the skill, patience and talent that goes in to each little work of art. My original favourite and the person who’s work got me the kiln is the lamp work artist Lydia Muell. I saw her beads and decided that was it… I had to make beads too! I am still in awe of her work!

Ceramic bead set by BlueBerriBeads

Q: You have achieved a lot in the beading world. Is there a next goal you want to accomplish?
A: It sounds terrible, but I’ve never really had goals. I have lots of things I’d like to do, but I love the natural approach to my work and seeing where it takes me. I’ve been really lucky and had some amazing opportunities come my way, and I like to jump in with both feet and see where I end up.

Q: If you were not a bead artist, what would you be doing?
A: I think I’d most likely end up as a sign maker again. I did intend on learning how to sign write traditionally with a brush and paint, and to learn how to pinstripe, so if someone took away my kiln, that’s probably where you’d find me!

Ceramic house beads by BlueBerriBeads

Q: Do you have a life motto and if so, would you like to share this with us?
A: Yes, my motto is ‘There are always two chances!’  You could fail miserably, or you could have a great success, but you’ll never know unless you try!

Q: Do you have tips, tricks or advise you like to share with us?
A: It’s a bit corny, but be true to yourself! In the early days, I spent a lot of my time wondering what people wanted, what designs would they like, what colours should I glaze my beads… I think after a while it made me quite miserable. I decided that I would create work for myself, work that I liked and if anyone else liked it, that was a bonus! I was very lucky that they did, and I have a great time coming up with new ideas and designs. You work for yourself because you love what you’re doing, so make sure you enjoy it!

Ceramic bead set by BlueBerriBeads

Thank you so much for this lovely interview Caroline! What an interesting read and I particularly loved to read about the start of BlueBerriBeads and how you make your beads. And your tip is so true.

You can find Caroline Dewison’s gorgeous beads in her etsy shop BlueBerriBeads and more info on her through her blog.

Regular readers of my interviews know that there will always be some sort of give-away and this interview is no exeption.
Caroline and I have some lovely items for you.

The first give-away

Caroline generously gives away this gorgeous ceramic house pendant. And that is not all. She will send the winner some mystery beads as well.

Ceramic house pendant by Blueberribeads

 Mystery beads give away by BlueBerriBeads

 

The second give-away

Last weekend I took out my tiny collection of BlueBerriBeads to design a give-away for this interview. Well, I couldn't stop designing. So the winner of this give-away will have a choice between 3 pieces of handmade jewelry: 2 necklaces and one set of bracelets. The aqua-black bracelet was featured in the Spring 2014 issue of Stringing Magazine (I gifted the necklace to my mum :) )

Just let me know in your comment which piece you would like to receive if you win this give-away.

Necklace pink with ceramic beads and glass by Esfera Jewelry
 

 Fashion neclace pink with ceramic art beads and glass by Esfera Jewelry

 

Fashion necklace with ceramic art beads by Esfera Jewelry

Necklace with ceramic art beads and glass by Esfera Jewelry

Fashion bracelets with ceramic art beads by Esfera Jewelry

Fashion bracelet in green and black with ceramic beads by Esfera Jewelry

Fashion bracelet with handmade ceramic heart and glass beads by Esfera Jewelry

(the picture doesn't do justice to the gorgeous pink color of the heart bead)

All you have to do to enter is comment on this post, to get a change to win one of these give-aways. yes, it is that easy.

There are lots of ways you can increase your chances of winning too...

Do any of the following and leave an additional comment each time and you will get an extra entry for each one (yes you will enhance your changes of winning, so please do):

·    Share this give-away on your own blog
·    Share this give-away on your Facebook pages, Google+, Twitter etc.
·    Subscribe to my newsletter
·    Become a follower of my facebook page
·    Become a follower of the facebook page of BlueBerriBeads
·    Follow me on Pinterest
.    Follow Caroline on Pinterest
.    Follow me on google+
·    Like my Etsy shop
·    Like BlueBerriBeads on etsy
.    Follow Caroline's blog
·    Anything else you can think of to spread the word.

Don't forget to leave a separate comment for each method to maximize your chances though!

Please don't let the captcha scare you off. It is to prevent the spam robots enter this give-away as well.

The draw will close at 10am GMT on Sunday March 16, 2014 and I will randomly select and announce the winners later that day.

The next artist in this series of interviews with Bead Artists will be Kylie Parry, well known for her beautiful ceramic owl and other beads.

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope to see you next time.

 

following Caroline blog

I Subscribed to Caroline's blog

following your blog

I'm now following your blog

liked Blueberri's etsy

I liked Blueberries etsy shop a long time ago.

liked your etsy

I liked you etsy shop a while ago.

following you on pinterets

I'm now following your pinterest page

following Caroline on pinterest

I'm now following Caroline on pinterest

shared the giveaway

I shared the giveaway on my facebook page.

following Blueberri on facebook

I've been stalking, I mean following Blueberri for a long time. Does that count?

Following you

I'm now following your facebook page. I'm absolutely in love with the 1st necklace with the pink and reds.

I have only recently found

I have only recently found blueberriebeads when I was sent a lovely set for a bead soup swap. I have now fallen in love and would be in love with any of the sets in the giveaway!

blog

Now following blog, and signed up for email updates too!! plenty to read I bet :)

Now also following Caroline

Now also following Caroline on Pinterest too, wow how lucky am I??

Pintrest

Following esfera over on Pinterest yay!! P.S. I am a human visitor lol

following esfera....

Now, liking esfera over on etsy yay :)

Blueberri Etsy

I am already a liker of Blueberri beads on Etsy. If lucky to win I would love any of the pieces they are all gorgeous.

GIVEAWAY

I like Esfera on Etsy.

giveaway

I am a follower of blueberribeads

giveaway

liked you on FB, thanks for the giveaway

I am a FB fan of

I am a FB fan of blueberribeads

I am a fan of your Etsy shop

I am a fan of your Etsy shop

I am a FB fan of you

I am a FB fan of you

Blueberribeads Blog

I follow Caroline's blog

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Blueberribeadson ETSY

Favorite Blueberribeads on ETSY

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

ETSY

Favorite your page on ETSY

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Caroline on Pinterest

I follow Caroline on Pinterest

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Pinterest

I follow you on Pinterest

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Blueberri Beads Facebook

I'm a follower of Blueberribeads on Facebook

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Facebook

I'm a fan on Facebook

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Newsletter

I'm a loyal subscriber of your blog

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Shared on Facebook

Shared on Facebook

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

Fab Giveaway

What an awesome giveaway! I would love to win any of your fabulous prizes but I'm totally crushing on the heart necklace!

Angi Mullis dj2isme@aol.com

facebook, blog

I'm already fan of Caroline.. thanks for sharing the interview. I like your facebook page and etsy!! :)

Great giveaway

I follow your facebook page. Would love to win a bracelet.

I liked Caroline's shop on

I liked Caroline's shop on Etsy.

I liked your shop on Esty.

I liked your shop on Esty. User name is ByShaiha

I am following Caroline as

I am following Caroline as Shaiha on PinInterest.

I follow you on PinInterest

I follow you on PinInterest as Shaiha

I am following BlueBerriBeads

I am following BlueBerriBeads on FB

I

I tweeted.

https://twitter.com/Shaiha_/status/443147705775575040

I shared on

I shared on Facebook.

https://www.facebook.com/sShaiha/posts/10203226478692280?stream_ref=10

I was selected to be part of

I was selected to be part of a blog hop with Caroline's beads and I am really looking forward to playing with them/

I follow you on FB as Shaiha

I follow you on FB as Shaiha

Following blog too

Hi Janine, I am now following Caroliine'sblog too. Lyn x

Hi Janine, great interview

Hi Janine, great interview with Caroline. If I am lucky enough to win the giveaway, I adore your pink heart necklace. I flollow you everywhere and thought I was pretty much the same with Caroline, thanks to you, now I am following Caroline on : Facebook and Pinterest too. Lyn

Facebook

I am now following BlueberriBeads!

Facebook

I follow Esfera Jewellery on Facebook!

I am now a follower of

I am now a follower of Caroline's blog.

I am now a follower of

I am now a follower of Caroline's Facebook page.

I am a new follower of your

I am a new follower of your Facebook page.

I enjoyed this interview with

I enjoyed this interview with Caroline Dewison. Thanks.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <strong> <cite>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.