> My biggest trouble is trying to get a reasonably, evenly
> round bead...I have had some success, but my work is still met with some
> inconsistencies (granted I know practice makes perfect, but I really am
> wondering if all the practice in the world will fix distorted
> vision)...I WAS piercing the bead with a toothpick or needle while
> uncured, but that distorted the work I put into making it as round as
> possible...NOW I have a dremel tool and want to drill in cured
> clay...problem: Making the bead as "perfect" as it can get by hand (are
> there bead molds?) and getting the bead set up under the tool for a
> centered drill hole...
I think you have a few choices, but most of the following suggestions are
only in theory, not practice. I'm just thinking off the top of my head;
take my suggestions with a grain of salt.
Bead sizing: I saw this wonderful idea in an old NPCG tips and techniques.
Cut out the amount of clay needed for a bead with a circle cutter. That
way each bead with have the exact same amount of clay
Bead shaping: If you don't feel that you can produce a nice enough round
shape by using your hand, try this. Attach four same-sized encased ball
bearings on the corners of a thick lucite sheet. It will end up behaving
like a sheet on rollerskates.
Here's the tricky part. You will need to determine the amount of clay
needed to create a spherical object whose diameter will be equal to the
height of the "rollerskated" sheet.
Place the unfinished clay ball on a big sheet of lucite; place the
rollerskated sheet over the ball. Now you can roll the top lucite sheet
around and around in various directions; which will shape the clay ball
into that perfect sphere.
Overall, the goal is to make sure that the space between the two lucite
sheets is the correct height for creating the sphere.
Raw Bead piercing: As many here have mentioned, pierce the bead until you
can feel the needle on the other side, then reverse to pierce from the
opposide end. Generally, I've felt that if I can do what I need to do
while the clay is raw, I do it.
Also, it might help if you start with the tinest needle you can find,
'cause that will diminish preliminary distortion. Then gradually work your
way up with gradually larger needles.
However, if you want to tackle making a post-bake hole by drilling and you
want to be precise, borrow the techniques of precision woodworkers. They
use things like many tools, templates, and jigs so they can do the same
thing safely and/or repeatedly.
You'd likely want a drill press apparatus; something that precisely lowers
the drill down to the object to be drilled, then raises once done. And
you'll need a beveled opening to hold the various sized beads in place
Now that I've likely scared you with all that equipment jazz, you'll
appreciate imperfections more than ever!