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BOC Spotlight Artist for July- Diane Hawkey

July's BOC Spotlight Artist of the Month is Diane Hawkey. Diane makes marvelous, magical ceramic creations in Detroit, Michigan.

Her new line of ceramic locks must have been a big hit at the Bead and Button Show!!!

Diane has been working in clay for nearly 30 years; she uses  a cone 6 white stoneware body with a light grog. It is s not as delicate as a porcelain, but it works for her style of bead making.She bisques her ware to  to cone 06 and then glaze fires to cone 6 in an electric kiln. She has kilns ranging in size from a small Aim test kiln  to a big 27'' Bailey. The one she uses depends on what else is being fired at the time her beads are ready.  She does make larger sculptural pieces and sometimes the beads are squeezed in around those in the big kiln.

Diane's studio space is in her home. The garage has been converted to workspace but she does a lot of her bead work in the family room/studio 

Often Diane works along side  my husband, Doug Spalding, who makes tiles and pottery. They share the same space and Diane's reports that they get in each others way, but don't collaborate on things very much.

I asked Diane to name the steps she takes in making her work.
Diane describes her process:
" To start from the very beginning, one of the first things I do is make a sketch. I make a lot of sketches, actually. Sometimes they have nothing in common  with the final piece, but it is an important part of the process to help me figure out the design. Then I can use a few different methods depending on the design. Sometimes I will make a prototype in clay. If I am pleased with it, I can then pour plaster around it to make a mold. Another method I use is to carve directly into a plaster block to make a press mold. It depends largely on the complexity of the piece I wish to create. Most of my beads are presses from original plaster molds. When they are leather heard, I trim them up and work on detailing.  Then I dry, bisque to cone 06 and glaze

Diane purchases glazes like some women buy nail polish. She reports that she is always excited to try new colors. She particularly likes the Georgie's line of sculptural glazes. They are inconsistent in a good way. She gets a lot of variation of color and texture. These glazes are not ideal for production, but it keeps things  interesting and makes each bead unique.

Diane gets her best ideas by connecting to nature and looking at ways other people connect to the natural world. She looks at the mythology of traditional cultures and the themes that keep running through them.

Diane's ceramic hero is Beatrice Wood, born in 1893,. Beatrice began making pottery in her 40s and continued in her studio everyday up until her death, 5 days before her 105th birthday. She followed her own path, developing unique luster glazes and creating both functional work and  fabulously humorous small sculpture.
Diane reports that as far as contemporary ceramic bead makers, there are many that she admires. In particular, Melanie Brooks for her continuing evolution in her craft and Joan Miller for her amazing technique.

Diane has an have an etsy shop, as well as a website and sells in some  retail stores. One of those stores is Fusion Beads. She also goes to a lot of bead shows and also some art fairs. A  few galleries carry her work .

Diane's advice to newbies:  " Make whatever excites you. Forget about what might sell or being successful. Try to find you own voice and follow wherever it takes you. Don't be afraid to experiment and fail. That's the only way to push beyond your boundaries and discover new things about yourself and your craft.

Web site: http://www.dianehawkey.com

Diane, Thank you for sharing a little bit about yourself and your work. Joan Tucker


  1. Wonderful article about a fabulous artist. I really like the authentic feel to Diane's work. Thanks for doing this.

  2. I love these artist interviews. I like seeing all the things we have in common and the things we do completely differently. Nice article.

  3. I still need more folks for upcoming months... Joan T

  4. I've been enjoying the artist and designer profiles as well. BOC has a kickin' blog!

  5. I LOVE Diane's work! All original designs and so cool! THe padlocks are awesome. And she lives here in Michigan! YAAAH! Thanks for sharing with us Diane! And great interview, Joan.

  6. I love Diane's work! I think that her ability to make such unique one of a kind pieces shows her true artistic talent. Her blog is a lot of fun to read as well! Love the variety of posts she has - about art, life, glimmers of things, gardens, and her animals...

    Thanks for featuring her!


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