Clay Beads and Pendants History and Examples Clay • Has traditionally referred to a material composed of fine particles of minerals that is dug from the earth • Has been broadened in contemporary use to include other substances whose plasticity resembles that of ceramic clay. – Polymer clay – Bakers clay - Ceramic clay Things to think about when working with clay…. • • • • • • Sculpting “in the round” Design Relief Texture Working in small scale Surface treatment Now for the History… Some History… • Clay beads go back centuries, to at least 1000 BC • Clay was abundant and was the province of the poor. • While the wealthy Europeans of the late Roman Empire wore precious stones and metals, the migratory tribes people adorned themselves with clay. • Clay beads were produced simultaneously all over the world, including in the Phillippines, Thailand and Peru. • To this day, Peru, China, Thailand, Greece and India produce a great many ceramic beads. Some History… • Beads have been significant for many cultures for eons. • They've been used as money and worn as talismans • and amulets to bring wisdom and fortune to the wearer. • Found dating back 38,000 years, beads have been made from pebbles, shells, teeth, claws, clay, glass and more. • Glass became an important material in beadmaking with its discovery, around 3400 years ago. Some Cultural connections • Clay beads have been used in Muslim prayer strands • In Thailand as amulets as well as in jewelry. • When they were introduced into the United States by the first European settlers, the clay beads were very popular with the Native Americans. • Clay beads have large holes that could accommodate leather cords so they were used as decoration on horse reins. • Some nations so prize their clay bead heritage that they protect the simple bead from export. For example, Guatemala has restricted the export of their Mayan ceramic beads. • They have since been replaced by plastic beads, ceramic beads were the New Orleans Mardi Gras beads of the 1920s. • Ceramic beads again become popular in the 'hippie days' of the 60s and 70s when people wanted an earthy feel to their beads . Symbolism • There are a number of symbols used in the world in beads and other objects, and it’s useful to know the meanings of these. Some Symbols… • Spiral – a symbol of being, knowing or becoming. • Circle – totality, perfection, unity, eternity. A symbol of completeness that can include ideas of permanence and dynamism. • Eye – occult 3rd eye, or eye of the heart can mean spiritual perception. Sometimes an eye is painted on an object to protect against the evil eye. Blue is a popular color for these. • Dots – are also called eye beads and were used to protect against the evil eye.