Saturday, July 12, 2014

Bead Recipe: Tidal Pools

I've always wanted to write a "Bead of the Month" column, but the reality is, I just couldn't jam another commitment into my schedule!

However, if I were to write a "Bead of the Month" column - this might be one of them.

I call this design "Tidal Pools" for the sandy texture and the rich blue pools.

Skill Level: Intrepid Beginner to Intermediate. The shape is unimportant, and can be asymmetrical and organic - good for beginners struggling with shape control.

Prerequisite: Know what a reduction flame is. Know how to make a twistie.

You will need

Glass Rods:
Effetre Light Ivory

Effetre Light Dark Sky Blue

Additional Supplies:
Goldstone frit, fairly small/fine
Silver foil
Some Twisties containing High Silver colours

Your favorite marver
Pair of mashers
Plus all the usual equipment to make beads (Mandrels, torch, kiln, glasses). I am presuming you already know how to make beads and know how to make them safely.

 I usually have left over twisties laying around - but if you don't and need to make some fresh - make some using high silver colours, such as Double Helix and TAG. You might alternate stripes of ivory and Terra, or Helios or Clio or Aura. (Avoid the black looking rods - or not, but the look will be quite different.)
Before turning on your torch, tear or cut your silver foil sheet in half or thirds. 

Start by making a base bead in ivory, make it longish, anywhere from 1 - 2 inches, as per your preferences and ability.

Build it up and shape it into a rough oval, footballish shape. The shape isn't too important to the bead, and you can go for an organic shape that will suit this better than an example of perfect Euclidean geometry.

Let it cool and stiffen a little, and apply silver foil to the right half of the bead. (Reverse for left handed flame workers.) Burnish it onto the glass (rub with the marver.)

Apply the flame to the foil and melt it in. While it is still hot and glowing, roll the side you just applied foil to in the gold stone frit. It's not necessary to apply it all the way up to the very edge of where the foil was - leave a buffer zone.

Apply your twistie to the edge, more or less, between the foiled and unfoiled half. Again, this doesn't need to be precise.

Melt the twistie in.

Add two or three large dots of the Light Dark sky blue, one on the unfoiled end of the bead, next to the twistie, and the other on the other side of the twistie, on the opposite side of the bead.

Melt these in partially - flattening them with a marver, but leaving them still raised.

Apply a large dollop of clear directly onto the Light Sky Blue, and marver to the edge of the dot. Then continue to melt them in.

Once the dots are melted in, get the bead evenly heated and ready to mash. If a nice piece of pattern has developed that you can see, you may wish to feature this on the front of the bead, but as a general rule, choose to mash so that the Light Sky Blue dots come out on the sides, not smack in the middle of the front and back.

Mash the bead, tweak the shape if necessary, and firepolish out the chill marks. Turn the flame down to a reducing flame and reduce to bring up the metallics in the twistie. Kiln and anneal as usual.


The layer of clear is what keeps the Light Dark Sky Blue bright - without it, it will reduce and react.

Correction: Dark Sky Blue.

The clear makes the blue look lighter, hence my memory error. Light Sky Blue comes out too light.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

I'm not dead.

I know, I'm sorry - I went from regular posts to - Kablooie. Nothing. Sorry about that.

I've been occupied the last month with a lot of dog stuff, and just falling down exhausted at the end of the day. And there's another week of it to come too.

Hopefully - then I can resume some of the backlog.

I've barely been on the torch - I feel rusty when I sit down. How the heck does this work again?

Anyway - I did get in a few hours the other night. This flame headed dude emerged at the end of the evening.

Cheers all!

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Ruben's Tube - Visualize this ...

Ok - this isn't glass - but - damn - this is cool. It IS fire - so it's close enough. This is a method of visualizing sounds using flames. Sort of a fire-based oscilloscope.

Anybody want to build one with 2500 old Minor Burners? ;-)

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Drilling Glass

Here is an excellent, short video about drilling glass. It is specific to "sea glass" - but the principle is the same. If you have been experimenting with fusing, or off mandrel work, and would like to drill a hole - this is how.

The phrase "let the drill do the drilling" is really important - let the drill do the work, instead of leaning on it and trying to force the drill through.

You could make your own "sea glass" by melting up chunks of scrap glass, and then annealing them, and then etching, sandblasting, or tumbling them. There is an entire community of people out there who would consider that statement to be blasphemy,  but "sea glass" is broken glass bottles tumbled in salt water and sand. Mostly beer and wine bottles, fallen off boats. Hence the mostly clear, brown and green. Some blue - vodka, and the occasional red piece, a broken port running light.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Prince Rupert's Drops again.

I've talked about Prince Rupert's Drops before, but it's just soooo cool - here they are again investigated by Smarter Every Day.

Interestingly - he gets a speed of 1.03 miles per second which is 3708 miles per hour, vs CMOG which gets a speed of about 4,200 miles per hour.

Still ridiculously fast. 

Sunday, May 18, 2014

CiM 509 Poseidon Revisited

Poseidon, or Poseidan, as I keep misspelling it, so if I throw that in there, I'll find it next time I search - anyway - CiM Poseidon is a translucent sky blue that I reviewed a while back. It is a lovely colour, and I'm not clear why I didn't buy a bunch of it then. Probably something to do with having enough glass to start a small store, but that's another story.

I had heard that there seemed to be a colour difference between the old batch of Poseidon and the new, so armed with a rod of the old and a rod of the new, I sat down to test this out. Visually - the rods seem pretty similar, the older rod "O" on the top (fatter rod) and the newer on the bottom - "N." Held up to the light - the older rod is denser, but doh, it's thicker.

But when worked up into a bead - the older rod, on the left, actually does come out slightly more opaque.
 However, this might just be a function of heating and cooling, as all three of these below were made with the old batch, and match the right bead above.

From the left, base of Poseidon with ivory dots, and two self-coloured beads.

So - in conclusion - pretty colour - and the old and the new are functionally the same (as to be expected from CiM.) Slight variations probably come from technique. That's why we call it art. ;-)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Torture Test

Here, I was doing some torture testing - pushing the envelope with the Uroboros clear.

This is a base of that purple maybe-Lauscha, rolled in palladium leaf, encased in Riley Dichro Green/Magenta, and encased in Uroboros clear. Mashed, impressed, a couple of lines of intense black laid down, decided I didn't like them and pulled them off, poked, prodded, smeared, crunched, pulled, twisted, and just generally abused.

 While the bead looks like something that you find floating in the ocean after a big storm, a jellyfish in a sweater maybe, but the glass came through with flying colours. I'm impressed. That's a real world application for the Uroboros clear.