Fresh from the Kiln: Bead Whistles

I started out with 20 bead whistles. I went through each one for sound quality and ended up chunking six of them. They did make a sound but the sound had too much air in it, and it ended up sounding more like a wheeze than a whistle. I glazed 7 of them and on the way to the kiln dropped them on the way to the kiln. One survived (see previous post). These in the picture are the ones I gingerly and very carefully carried to the kiln and fired yesterday. These are the best of the best!

It was a Disaster!!!


I had the worst kiln accident the other day. On the way to the kiln I tripped. The tray full of bead whistles crashed to the ground. Every bead whistle broke but one. I was devastated in the worst way imaginable! These were some that I had spent two days glazing. Intricate patterns abounded — except for one which I thought I would paint different strokes of red!

I had no idea which of the whistles had survived. I bravely put together a small load of other glazed objects, loaded, and started the kiln. The next morning upon opening the kiln, I discovered that this plain red whistle was the ‘winner’.

I am glazing today. Let’s hope I don’t trip again.

Two Tone Clay Bead Whistles


I got brave. I tried it. It worked! Here it is! Then I thought, “Okay, try a three tone.” And by golly I made a three tone. I blew into it All three sounds were perfect. Then, like the big fish that got away, the second time I blew into it, it didn’t work. I probably should have set it down and let it dry out inside a bit. But I stupidly started poking at it and after that point, all was ruined. But I do know that it is possible to get three tones out of something this small. Next time I will be more careful!

Bead Whistles: The Sequel


Bead Whistles are a blast to make. I finally have the process down!!!! It took all day to make the first four. That night I was able to make three more. The next day I made a nice big Orange Whistle (see pottery blog), then that night I was able to make three in a row with no mistakes. Today I made four, one right after the other.


Funny story. I had to make some more round balls. I have discovered that the ball really needs to be almost leather hard before I cut it in half and hollow it out, but I didn’t want to wait a long time. So I placed five round balls on top of the hood of my car in a straight line. I went out about 15 minutes later and four were still there, but one in the middle was gone! That didn’t make sense. I looked a few feet away from the car and it was squashed flat! I believe a bird must have thought it was food only to be disappointed.

Rolling Stamps


The Etsy Mud Team is having a stamp exchange in a month or so and I got to thinking about about textures and how I often use my textured bisque beads as stamps. Usually I just roll them on a slab with my palm, but I thought about some stainless steel rods that I use to fire beads upon and thought I’d see if I could make a sort of a bead wheel. So this is what I came up with.

Orange Clay Whistle and Textured Vase


Lately I have been focused on the “beady” side of things and not so much on the pottery. However, yesterday after rolling about 100 beads I had to get on on the pottery side of things. I was going to make a lid for the vase (pictured below) but I got sidetracked. I pushed the clay into a handmade thrown bisque mold. I looked at it and thought, OH, this mold is perfect for a round clay whistle. I made another ‘side’ and attached them together. Up to this point the clay whistle bodies have been thrown on the wheel, but this one is hand-build. I’m thinking of laying contrasting and complementing colors, opaque and transparent, some on top, some juxtaposed next to, and the value of each will be important as well. Lets see if it survives the bisque-firing first though.


I’ve traveled so much this summer (New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts) that I haven’t been on the wheel at all. It felt great to wedge this clay and pull it into this shape. It’s a pretty enough shape but I got to looking at it and wondering what simple thing I could do to make it different than a store bought vase. I looked through some homemade stamps and didn’t see anything I liked. Then I saw a bisque bead that I had textured with a stick and thought, “Perfect!” So I rolled it over the vase in a couple of different directions. I’m hoping that the glaze I choose will emphasize this in a particular way that pops out this simplistic texture

More Beads


I measured, rolled, and pierced about a hundred of these yesterday. It is a very monotonous activity but at the same time, relaxing. Thoughts can wander. Plans can be made. Decisions arrived at …. so this mundane project was much more productive in many ways than can be seen with the naked eye. OH, and after they are bisque-fired, they can be glazed. I’m looking forward to that!

Greenware Bead Whistles


These are how many I have so far. Each one sounds terrific! The pitch on each is a bit different. One of these is very shrill.

I was thinking the shrill one could be marketed as not only a lovely pendant, but a safety device as well! We’ll see.

Bead Whistles (continued)

This came out of the kiln the other day and I love how it looks. The sound isn’t quite as clear as the other one though. It’s okay. But just okay.

However, I spent the day with small balls of clay (20 mm), hollowing them, putting them back together, adding a teeny mouthpiece and piercing with small sticks that I made myself by sanding bamboo skewers. All day. Many balls of clay. For four tiny, though beautiful sounding, clay bead whistles. I can’t wait to bisque and glaze them!

Bead Video


I spent most of the morning taking photographs of the beads which the winner in the contest I’m holding will get to choose from. So I made this page in which to showcase them. When taking these photos I did something I never usually do: I played with them a bit. I emphasized the contrast as well as added a gradient background. 99% of the beads look exactly the way they do in real life, but 1% have what I call the “Fantasy Bead” effect … the color would show up like that in the sunlight but regular light … not so much.

Also, it’s been awhile since I made a photo video and uploaded it to You Tube. So here is another one. It is set to flamenco music I found on archive.org . Credits are at the end. Thanks for watching!

Cooking Kiln


These are some more beads I have had in the small kiln all day. Also included is a small whistle bead which I glazed to look like a red pepper. Plus, there are some smaller beads for variation. I started these cooking about 9 am. They finished about 8 hours later. Right now the kiln is about 588 degrees. If it were cooler outside it might cool down quicker, but I suppose I won’t open it until tomorrow morning … unless I can’t sleep, then I’ll be up after midnight peeking inside hoping for no catastropies!


Here’s a closer look inside. I can really pack the kiln with small beads, but with the 20 mm I can only fit two on a rod and about 7 rods per layer, a total of three layers. The bisque firing is great because I can pile them all on top of each other, but if I did that during the glaze firing they would all melt together.


I logged on this morning to find the treasury I was featured in was on the front page of Etsy. My pink beads are on the top left corner. I used to snag a couple of treasuries a week, but then summer happened and my time went completely out the window. So today I spent a good amount of time playing with the poster sketch tool Etsy provides on a future treasury.