I’m really happy with how my Hannibal bead turned out, even if I ended up designing it on-the-fly!
I originally envisioned this as a three-sided bead: the wine bottle, cutting board and carving knife, and cleaver. I really wanted to keep the bead small, so I knew that I’d have a challenge making some of the pieces.
I started with the wine bottle, figuring that it would be the easiest. After trying – unsuccessfully – to form the wet clay into something resembling a wine bottle, I took a different approach. Instead, I formed rougher shapes that approximated the end shape that I wanted, waited for them to dry, and then sanded the dried shapes down. It was so much easier to get the finer shapes that I needed. Looking back, I don’t know how I would have done the small carving knife otherwise! I will definitely try that method again if I need small details.
After I had the final pieces, I faced the next challenge: getting them to stay in the triangular shape that I needed long enough for the pieces to bond. After trying for a while, I decided to add a fourth piece so that I had a bit more leeway when placing the pieces. I thought of making a wine glass for the fourth piece, but worried that the stem would be too thin and fragile. I thought of making a stack of recipe cards, but didn’t know if it would be obvious what it was. I discounted the idea of a frying pan, and roasting pan, before finally deciding to make a dinner plate. It still didn’t seem quite substantial enough, so I added the placemat and cutlery set to make the piece a bit bulkier.
While waiting for the place setting to dry, I changed my plan a bit and decided that I needed a fifth piece too. So, I returned to the idea of a stack of recipe cards. Despite my initial reservations that it wouldn’t be easily identifiable, I realized that I was overthinking it. The bead is for me. I know that they’re recipe cards. It doesn’t matter if it isn’t obvious to others! And, it gave a nice sequence of events for the bead, from finding a recipe to sitting down with the meal and wine :)
By that point I was happy with my plan. But, I knew that trying to get five pieces to stay in place while they bonded wouldn’t be easy. So, I made a thin circle to use as my base, waited for it to dry, then attached each of the pieces to the circle in turn.
A little more drying, a little fire, some polishing, and I had a bead!