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Biography - Emma Ralph, UK Beadmaker

Emma Ralph

Emma Ralph has been passionate about making beads since her teens as a student at Croydon Art College in South London, England. Working in polymer clay, ceramic and lampwork glass, Emma focuses on creating unique Art Beads which have proven popular with jewellery designers and collectors worldwide. She works full-time from her studio in the beautiful North Surrey Downs, selling her work online through her mail order company EJR Beads.

 Emma finds inspiration in many places "Aside from the more likely sources, I also look to our cultural heritage for inspiration" says Emma. " I am inspired by past British artists, especially their use of colour and motif. These are elements fundamental to bead-making of course, where you must create strong design on a very small 'canvas'. I love to see how designers as diverse as Charles Rennie Mackintosh or Clarice Cliff for example would approach design and then use what I learn to formulate a series of beads. Bead-making works for me because I am essentially a practical person.  I love the functionality of beads and jewellery and I love making colour and design become wearable."

Emma works in a variety of mediums "Although I have worked extensively in polymer clay and most of my writing has been focused on that medium, beads are where my passion lies. I love exploring different mediums to create them. Sometimes I may have an idea that can only be worked in glass or ceramic say, but other times I might explore the same theme in multiple mediums and just see where I end up. But whatever the material, there will always be new beads at the end of it on that you can depend. Ask any bead-maker - it's an addiction we cannot break!"

Emma has written many articles for both British and American crafts magazines and is the author of three step-by-step polymer clay project books published in the UK, US and Europe. She was a founding advisory panellist for the American magazine Polymer Cafe and is actively involved in many online beading and bead-making communities.

Alongside bead-making Emma also owns and runs EJR Beads, an online mail order company selling her Art beads as well as other jewellery-making, craft and polymer clay supplies. She has also founded The Polyclay Forum , an internet forum dedicated to all aspects of polymer clay art and craft.


Get Creative with Polymer Clay - By Emma Ralph

In Pixel

'Illuminare & Clarice Beads - Shimmering Polymer Clay Surface Effects & Beadmaking Techniques' - PDF e-book published by Emma Ralph, EJR Beads 2012

This e-book explains in detail how to make Emma's signature Illuminare and Clarice polymer clay art beads. it is available for immediate download from the EJR Beads online store.

8MB, 45 pages, 90+ colour photographs including a 5 page gallery section.


In Print


'Get Creative with Polymer Clay' – New Holland UK Ltd - April 2006. Published in French language by LTA, Paris. Published in Lithuanian language by Mintis.

'Step-by-Step Polymer Clay in a Day' – New Holland UK Ltd - February 2004, ISBN 1-84330-480-5. Published in North America by North Light (F&W Publications) and published in France, Germany and Switzerland (foreign language editions) by Editions Mondo SA.

Get Creative with Polymer Clay - By Emma RalphMagazines 

'Ask the Expert - Polymer Colour Blending' - Making Jewellery, July 2011
'Business Matters - Pricing Your Jewellery 2' -
Making Jewellery, July 2011
'Business Matters - Pricing Your Jewellery 1' -
Making Jewellery, June 2011
'Geometric Filigree' - Making Jewellery, May 2011
'Ask the Expert'
- Crafts Beautiful, March 2010 (UK)
'Combine Silver & Polymer Clays' - Making Jewellery, November 2009
'Craft Clinic- Tips from the top' - Crafts Beautiful, February 2006 (UK)
‘Fresh as a Daisy’ – Craft Stamper, May 2004 (UK)
‘Get a Grip’ – Crafts Beautiful, March 2004 (UK)
‘Ringing the Changes’ – Craft Stamper, December 2003 (UK)
‘3 Little Birds’ – Jewelry Crafts, December 2003 (US)
‘Hippie Chic, Endless Knot Beads’ – Polymer Café, Fall 2003 (US)
‘Out of Africa – Faux Titanium Telsum Beads’ – Jewelry Crafts, June 2003 (US)
‘That Glazed Look’ – Jewelry Crafts, October 2002 (US)
‘Art Deco Earrings’ – Jewelry Crafts, April 2002 (US)
‘Feather Beads’ Polyzine, November 2001 (US)
‘Window Pins – Jewelry with a View’ – Jewelry Crafts, October 2001 (US)
‘Mummy Beads’ – Jewelry Crafts, June 2001 (US)


Artist Profiles & Reviews

'In the Studio' - Artist Profile, Craft Business, May 2010

Artist Profile, La Gaceta de A.P.E (Spanish Polymer Clay Guild), Winter 2009

Meet & Greet, artist profile in Beads & Beyond magazine, September 2009

Beadmaker Interview Art Bead Scene, July 2007

Artist Profile for Paragon Industries L. P

Artist Interview in Polyzine, September 2004

Book Review of "Polymer Clay in a Day"  Polyzine, September 2004

Featured Artist at Justbeads.com,  February 2004

Featured Business in Polyzine, November 2004



La Pate Polymere - Volume II - by Emma Ralph 


  Cover of the French Language version of "Get Creative with Polymer Clay". 

  This is exactly the same as the English version of Get Creative, but it's in paperback form and has a much nicer cover, showing some of the other projects in the book.

  Published by LTA, Paris


lithuanian polymer clay book by Emma Ralph 





The book has also been published in Lithuanian, by Mintis Publishing House. Again a very nice cover and rumour has it, mine is the first claying book to be published in this language!





Emma's art beads are used by jewellery designers and bead collectors the world over.

Some recent publications featuring jewellery using Emma's beads are shown below. If your designs featuring Emma's beads are in print - please get in touch to be included here.


Kate McKinnon's Studio Annual 2004               Discover Beading                           


                       natalie leon - making beaded fashion jewellery