Making a Bead Tree for the Kiln Part Two

by - November 24, 2013

I posted "Making a Bead Tree for the Kiln" back in March. It worked pretty wonderfully until my three year old broke it, twice over, by knocking it off the table and onto the garage floor. It is still usable, but with that long span between the remaining supports, the nichrome wire tends to sag.

paige puckett pottery

I decided to build a new one, and it's currently waiting to be fired. One of the troubles with the last design was that it required loading many pendants along two pieces of wire, then having to space them out evenly between supports. The new design calls for four wire segments with just a little less space between posts (2" on center) and a slightly longer span for the wire at 4". The supports are still about 2 3/4" tall from their base. I could have made just two solid walls, but I figured this design required less clay, thus making it lighter, and would make it easier to work with. The entire piece is 8.5" long by 4.5" wide by 3" tall. Again, I have notches at top for laying down the wire and holes in case I want to snake a wire through.

paige puckett pottery

Also new to the design are small triangle wedges at the base of each support. This probably isn't a necessary feature, but since I have two boys hanging around while I work, the extra support certainly won't hurt. It just means that pendants next to the supports will have to be shorter. I'm thinking that the spacing will be great to make wide pendants with two holes.

paige puckett pottery

Thanks for the feedback on the first design, especially from all you school teachers! As soon as this one fires and loads, I will share the results.

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7 comments

  1. Could you tell me what kind of wire you ended up using for hanging your pendants please?

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  2. Have you had any problems with breakage (other than toddler-caused)? I made a similar bead rack recently with a low-fire earthenware clay, bisque-fired at ^04. It worked beautifully, but then broke after its second glaze firing (one at ^06 and one at ^04), even with very gentle handling. Wondering if I should have used a different clay body or firing process to reduce possible brittleness. Any suggestions from your experience?

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    1. That's a great question. You posted it awhile ago... did you try any other clays meanwhile? My tree seems pretty hard and I haven't had non-kid breakage. I know I could do a better job at the connections.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this, Paige. I am looking to cut corners money-wise as this becomes an expensive hobby. I checked ebay for the wire and found it but it looks so much thinner than in your picture. But you have posted twice the size so I will believe you!! I am going to try your second design. I hope you get those boys busy in the clay!

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    1. A thicker wire would probably enable you to have a longer span. I've had problems with the wire sagging, especially with large pendants.

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    2. But you are right about the cost!

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