Welcome to our B.O.C. blog. Learn about the world of handcrafted ceramic beads, buttons, pendants & components from our talented and knowledgeable Artisans.


Did you ever hear something you knew you needed to hear, yet hated to hear it? I am so busy while in Africa, with training and teaching, plus trying to overcome and keep technical problems at bay, that I didn't want to hear that our beads were not unique enough.  But,...... I knew it was true, and that I had to find time for design, not just production.

While in the USA this visit I've tried to emerse myself in African design via the internet, and think about where I want to go with some special focal pendant beads. Here are some of my favorite African design finds. I just love the fabrics in Africa, but can't decide how to uniquely interpret them into clay. 

Wax prints are a big part of African design

These prints are stamped from carved potatoes

Telephone wire baskets

Of course color can't be overlooked when thinking African design. Either earth tone pallets or wild primary color pallets.

Ndebele house detail

Christie Brown fashion design

 I love proteas. They are so sculptural.

Here are some of my idea sketches . I am not great at drawing.
and now, how to translate ideas to clay?

I would love some stamps made from here http://www.4clay.com/ But we could only afford maybe 1 stamp, and I am too nervous about my drawing ability to actually commit the big bucks. Plus how to chose which one.

So, to postpone any decision on ordering a stamp, I decided to carve a few.

Here's how they look stamped with ink.
I have had some luck in the past with using a small foam roller and stamping with underglaze.
Unfortunately I don't have a clay studio here in the USA, so I can't go on to the next step of this experiment until my return in a few weeks.
I'll report in next month hopefully with some results of this on going experiment.



  1. You've got great drawings! I can't wait to see how they look in clay. I draw a lot of inspiration for my textures from patterns in fabrics, in nature, in architecture... It is everywhere. When you are home, maybe you can make some clay stamps and use them in the bisque stage to impress clay to save some $$. All of my textures are carved into clay "texture plates" for my pendant work. Cuts down on production & allows for some variation so pieces keep that handmade look.

    Look forward to next month's post! Thanks for sharing...

  2. I am very impressed! You have really been working hard. I LOVE your new designs. And I think you are on the right path. I agree with Marsha that carving into the clay and bisque firing it to use as a stamp is a great solution to costly rubber stamps. Try a design in reverse as well. You may like the reverse image too. I can't wait to see what you come up with!

  3. Hello, I'm new here and enjoy reading, and learning. Those stamps work great and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished beads.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.