Hi there! I am Emma Ralph, selling my polymer clay beads on Justbeads under the User Name ejralph. I am 30 years old and live in Surrey in the south-east of England.
I have been working with polymer clay on and off since my pre-teen days, but my love affair with beads started earlier still. One of my earliest memories is excitedly opening a kid’s set of loose beads bought from the toy shop only to have them spill all over the floor. I was devastated that these beautiful beads could so rudely go and lose themselves everywhere and spent the rest of the day checking under every table and chair to make sure I hadn't lost a single precious bead! Over the years, I have learned to cope with badly behaved beads. I don't think there is a room in the house where I couldn't find a bead on the carpet somewhere. My younger brother even ended up in hospital once with a bead up his nose! (It was a pink 6 mm wooden lice bead in case you were wondering).
I have always loved Millefiore glass beads especially - it was this love, (and a lack of money to buy the more expensive beads), that lead me to think "hold on, these could be made out of Fimo!" My first beads were pretty bad but they soon got better as I experimented more. Walking around a craft fair a few years later, I saw a bowl of beautiful caned polymer beads and I realized that I was not alone - others had seen the potential of polymer clay too. After some initial pouting, I found this to be quite cheering news actually. After all, if other people were using polymer clay then I couldn't wait to see what they were all doing with it. I checked out the internet and found a community of polymer clay artists networking with each other, sharing ideas and inspiration.
In the last few years, I have found myself working almost exclusively with polymer clay and I just never get bored of this medium – there is always something new to try, some new look I want to achieve. I have written several articles for both British and American magazines on using polyclay and am on the advisory panel for the wonderful polymer clay magazine Polymer Café. Another long held ambition also came true this month, (apart from being a Featured Artist on Justbeads.com of course!) This month sees the release of my first book - "Polymer Clay in a Day" published in America, (as a Northlight book), UK and Europe.
Finding Justbeads.com has allowed me to expand sales of my polymer artist beads, providing an opportunity to reach customers who appreciate polymer clay as a medium and the time and effort I put into creating my beads. I have “met” some wonderful jewellery designers through Justbeads and appreciate so much the friendships we have built up as well as the business we do. At the moment in my auctions I am mostly showcasing my signature "Illuminare" bead series. Illuminare comes from the classical Latin, meaning "to adorn, to embellish" and it seemed to really suit this range; each Illuminare bead or pendant features adornments such as metallic elements, shimmers and canework accents all built up to form the piece. Likewise, we also use beads themselves to adorn and embellish our own bodies, and have done for thousands of years. You might also see in my auctions from time to time some of my "Alien Bone" beads, beads from my "Moulded Collage" range and of course, my Klimt inspired Face beads which are just so fun to make!
In the future, I hope to just continue what I am doing now - because I love it! I hope to do more writing, more teaching and design lots and lots more beads. I have also started to experiment with Precious Metal Clays and I work a little in ceramics too, so who knows what may be up for auction soon!
Please visit my current auctions here at JustBeads.com
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