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Beadmaker anneals glass and fires PMC in the Paragon Caldera

Emma Ralph in Surrey, England


Emma Ralph is a prominent, full-time bead maker who lives in Coulsdon, a town in Surrey, England. She has loved making beads since her teens. “Ask any beadmaker--it's an addiction we cannot break!" she said.

Emma just purchased a Paragon Caldera kiln. “I use my Caldera mainly for batch-annealing small glass beads, but occasionally I fire up some PMC,” she said. “The Paragon Caldera is my first kiln. I have been so impressed with the all-round performance and service. I thought the manual and paperwork that came with both the kiln and digital controller were both excellent.

“I particularly appreciate the way that there is so much information for diagnostics and repair / maintenance in the manuals,” she said. “When I showed my engineer husband the various diagrams and technical specs, he made those lovely reassuring noises of ‘ah’ and ‘I see’ that ever woman loves to hear. In other words, if anything goes wrong, he can fix it . . . yeah! With so many products these days, if something goes wrong we are expected to trash it and start again. But with the Paragon Caldera, it is so refreshing how the paperwork explains that various parts will wear out from time to time and how they can be replaced.

“The tips in the manual for fusing, annealing and even using PMC were also excellent and very appreciated. As are your kiln pointer emails.”

Shown below are images of Emma’s lampwork beads and also one of her precious metal clay and lampwork pendants: “All annealed and fired in my trusty Caldera!”

What inspires Emma? “Among other sources, I look to our cultural heritage for inspiration,” Emma said. “I am inspired by past British artists, especially their use of colour and motif. I love to see how designers as diverse as Charles Rennie Mackintosh or Clarice Cliff would approach design. Then I use what I learn to formulate a series of beads.

“Bead-making works for me because I am a practical person,” said Emma. “I love the functionality of beads and jewellery, and I love making colour and design become wearable.” Visit Emma’s website

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