All you ever wanted to know
October is nearly over and I’m spoiling you with yet another blog post.
It’s occurred to me that the most often asked questions I get asked about how I make bead and wire tree sculptures could do with having a page of their own, (complete with answers) so I can shoo people this way when asked. It’s not that I mind answering questions; most of the time I’m happy to do that, but sometimes I have days when my brain is preoccupied and it’ll take me the best part of two (or more) hours to formulate a response which isn’t really time efficient.
So here we go, with the first most asked question …
“How long does it take?”
There is no definitive answer to this.
I could say ‘a lifetime’ and that would be true, but a less philosophical answer is each tree takes the time it takes. No two are alike and things like materials, size, style, and how I’m feeling vary.
Materials - I work with copper wire, but some are tougher to work with than others because of the colour coating. Some are springy and some are stiffer to twyst into place (black wire I’m looking at you!). Some are softer, so extra twysting has to go into it to make it structurally stable enough to stand.
Size - hopefully that’s an obvious one. The bigger the tree sculpture, the longer it takes. But again, trees a similar size can vary greatly in the time they take depending on style. Weeping style requires longer branches so the time it takes can double for something the same size but more minimal. Miniatures, although they’re smaller, often require more time to get the detail just right. Or sometimes a tree almost falls into place immediately. What can I say? It’s different every time.
How I’m feeling - it’s a creative thing. Some days flow, and some are sticky. If I’m about to do something in a different style for a commission for example, I can spend days or weeks in advance planning it out in my head, trying to foresee potential problems and navigate round them before I even physically start anything. Sometimes I’ll sketch out ideas and sometimes I’ll make test branches to get a visual.
How much wire do you need / what kind do you use?
See the first answer. I use 500g or 1kg reels of copper wire and use as much as I need. It’s all estimated, but a good indicator of the end height will be what length of branch you’ve used, minus a bit for the roots. I don’t measure anything until the end when it’s done and I’m listing it up. I know some other tree makers do, and can list in metres how much wire has been used; I can't because I don't measure things during the making part. I parallel it to asking how many milliliters of paint was used in someone’s latest painting … it’s information I don’t find necessary to have. Not saying it’s not important to know that if you were say, planning out how much to buy. Just saying it’s not in my ‘need to know’ file.
Where do you buy ….?
Google is your friend! The answer will be different depending on what part of the world you’re in anyway. I have many places I buy from because no site has everything I need or want. There are no shortcuts on this one so think of whatever particular thing you’re looking for and go search for it. Much of my stock came from an online shop that closed down within my first year of starting the business so now I mainly top up here and there from wherever I can find when I need something.
How do you…..?
I did a workshop once and it was great fun. I’d probably do one again if asked. But as much fun as it was, I’m not a teacher and have no wish to be one. There are many tutorials online, youtube videos and demos, so do hunt them out and use them as a starting point. Again, there are no shortcuts with this; you’ll learn and get better by physically making and trying out different techniques. You’ll soon find out what works and what doesn’t.
Hope this helps a little ❤
Image description: Light blue and ivory coloured bead and wire tree sculpture in an acrylic bauble. Background is a misty grey effect. Twysted Roots logo is in the bottom right corner.