Who are you? IÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢m Hazel Ward. Hi! What do you do? I design and create all the beads and findings on this site from my studio in the Midlands, UK, under the name Continuum Designs. I also make one-of-a-kind pieces of handmade jewellery, mainly using my own components. How did you get started? I began making beads in 2009, after finding, like many people, that I wanted to use artisan handmade beads in my jewellery designs; and what better way to do it that to make my own? The jewellery aspect faded away, however, when I realised how addictive polymer clay can be, and I fell deeply in love with it - so now I make my beads and findings so that someone else can give them a purpose in their lives! What medium do you work in? My beads and findings are made from polymer clay, a polymer-based, clay-like art medium which has amazing possibilities. I use my handmade canes (or millefiori), to decorate the majority of my work, although some pieces also feature texture work and surface decorations like sparkles and mica powder. And whatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s a cane? A cane is a length of polymer clay that has a pattern or image running through it, much like a stick of seaside rock. The pictures are made up of different polymer clay components that, when assembled lengthways, produce a complete image. Very thin slices are then taken from the cane, and placed onto a base bead. A selection of my canes: How are you beads made? I apply various parts to a base bead and gently shape the whole piece. After a bead is decorated, it is put into an oven to 'cure' or bake, so it is no longer pliable and mouldable but a solid piece. My beads are wet sanded thoroughly following curing with a few different grades of sandpaper, and then buffed with a rough fabric. This gives a smooth sheen to the polymer clay. On certain types of beads, such as those with powders or surface decorations, I forgo the sanding, which would destroy the effect, and add a coat or two of polymer clay varnish to protect the designs, which also adds a high gloss shine. What inspires your work? Vampire robots from the future. No, seriously? What, you donÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢t see the connection? All right then, hereÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢s the real answer; common themes are flowers, vines and leaves. The British Hedgerow series of beads, for example, is a celebration of the beautiful wildflowers that flourish in the UK, not only in woodlands and grasslands, but also at the sides of paths, between paving stones, and at the edges of cultivated gardens: nothing can match the perseverance of nature. On the other hand, I also love making funky beads by experimenting with different shapes and lines, as well as anything so striking or cool that it forces me to take notice of it. Like this bead series, inspired by woodlice: Yes. Woodlice. TheyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re awesomely awesome. Where can I buy your work? You can click on the Shop button to the left to get to my little store. You can also find me at Continuum Designs on Etsy. And if you want an exclusive range of beads, you can go and take a look at Big Bead Little Bead and find a whole heap of handmade beads, including some of mine. Can I stop pretending to ask you all these questions now? Yeah, I think weÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â€šÂ¬Ã¢â€žÂ¢re done.