A number of weeks ago, I pulled out some earthenware clay that I had bought quite some time ago. Fortunately, the clay was still moist. I made up a small batch of pendants, and I've now got them in the kiln for a bisque fire. It'll be interesting to see how these turn out. Earthenware, I believe needs to be fired to cone 04 for it's bisque firing. One little problem I have is that my glass kiln only goes to 1900F - this isn't quite hot enough. It should fire to around 1950 to be cone 04. I'm hoping that this little variation won't be a huge problem. They're in the kiln now, and I should be able to pull them out in the morning. Possibly much later tonight, but I really do need sleep ;-)
Once you bisque fire them, you can then paint/decorate the beads with various glazes and refire. I'll post some pics showing the before and after.
As a metal clay artist, I was shocked to discover just how cheap ceramic clays are! Very liberating :-) I've seen some really interesting pieces that combine metal clay, ceramic clay, and even glass. I can't wait to experiment.