Sunday, January 21, 2018

Comparison: Opal Yellow, Stone Ground, Painted Hills

Effetre 266 Opal Yellow, CiM 351 Stone Ground, and CiM 313 Painted Hills.

Opal Yellow has long been known more for its reactions that as a colour to be used in its own right - somewhat unfairly, I feel.

Stone Ground is CiM's variation, and also  is used for the way it interacts with other glass colours. However, you may have noticed that Stone Ground is a bit thin on the ground right now at the distributors, and you might be wondering what is your best bet as an alternate, and how they stack up.

In which case, you might want to have a look at CiM Painted Hills. On the face of it, Painted Hills appears to be much too light to function as an equivalent, but it may actually be closer to Opal Yellow than you think.

The unworked rods, from the top, Opal Yellow, Stone Ground and Painted Hills.

 And from the ends - in the same order.

And here is the bead, still hot, before mashing. From the left, Opal Yellow, Stone Ground, Painted Hills. The dots are Double Helix Aurae

 And after mashing, still hot.

And once out of the kiln. Again, from the left, Opal Yellow, Stone Ground, and Painted Hills. The Stone Ground base between the dots is a much richer, warmer colour, and the two ends are paler, although the Aurae dots are a better match between the Opal Yellow and the Stone Ground.

The reduced dots are so shiny - you can see at the edge of the bead it almost looks encased - that's actually just the shine on the dots.

It really depends on what you want it to do.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Vetrofond 821 Verde Muschio

 In the annuals of strange glass comes - Verde Muschio - literally Green Moss. This is an old Vetrofond glass - Vetro being now out of business.

On the face of it, it appeared to be a transparent olivey green, so imagine my surprise when it started to opacify and turn a greyish brown as it cooled.

 This was shot while hot - before going in the kiln. You can see part of it is still transparent.
 And, as it cooled further.
 Well - I thought - let's try making a horse with it. This is shot hot, before going into the kiln. The base is the same colour, but with frit and powder added for contrast.

And the next day - out of the kiln. It has cooled to a somewhat greenish grey, it's still a pretty cool, organic kind of colour. 

 Again - while hot, and then popped into the kiln, ...

And what comes out is this ... (bottom mandrel is the same as the one above.)

 Some parts still retain a little transparency, where they don't get a lot of reheating.

 and back. Double Helix Powders and frit.

Where to get? Jean at Nortel still has some of this interesting glass if you want to give it a go! It works nicely, and the colour is not unpleasant. And it really is a mossy kind of colour ...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Sorting the Stash

I spent New Year's Eve (and part of New Year's Day - so yes - it took me 2 years) sorting and organizing my stash of glass. This was highly productive, because I found a number of glasses that I thought I was completely out of and now, I have them!

I have gone from "why do I not have any black/white/clear?" to having pounds of each. I found a bunch of that light minty Lauscha green that I thought was gone. A few rods of EDP, a rod of "Earth." Some of the OLD Rubino. Some old transparent Laucha Pink. Some of the old CiM Cirrus. Pounds of Fossil and even some River Rock.

And I freed up some floor space and shelf space and just generally re-acquainted myself with what I have. And with it all sorted by colour now - I can find a "close-enough" more easily.

Of course - this is bad news for the glass industry, as clearly - I do not need to buy more for a while!

This came about from a quote in a book that I read over the holidays - "Steal Like An Artist - 10 things nobody told you about being creative" - by Austin Kleon. It's actually a really good book and I highly recommend it - it is encouraging without being the sappy, sentimental "just believe in yourself" kind of unhelpful bull-crap that fills the marketplace these days. Anyhoo - one of the comments is "be tidy and organized in your work place, so that you can be wild in your art" - or words to that effect. I think it is a valid point - the tools and materials should be to hand and findable, so that you can produce your vision instead of hunting for the whatever it is you need right now. Knowing you don't have it is also better than hoping you do and taking three days to look for it.

I also really liked the comments about digital and digits - that making things with your hands is a counterpoint, and possible antidote - to our sedentary, digital lives.  

So there you have it. Happy organizing.  Even Happier Creating.

Monday, January 08, 2018

CiM 527 Anchor

I am not entirely clear how this particular colour escaped my attention. CiM Anchor is a deep, deep blue, towards the greener end of the blues - not really enough to be an aqua, but a rich ocean blue for sure.

The rods are so dark - they appear almost black, but held to the light, the colour takes your breath away.

You really will have to layer it over something to see the colour. Here - the top bead is a twistie of Anchor and white, and the square bead is Anchor and white swirled - and the almost black areas are just Anchor by itself.

Here is a selection of pieces, the varying thicknesses show the intensity of the colour. Also - some have a little clear mixed in (4 o'clock), white (7 o'clock) and some med trans blue on the loop (Effetre) (8, 9, 1 o'clock, etc.)
 And here - just holding one up to the studio light!

What a colour! It sings! If you play it right. ;-)

Saturday, January 06, 2018

Changing the Filter on your Oxygen Concentrator

If you are using one or more oxygen concentrators to provide oxygen to your torch, you should know that there is a filter inside them that you need to change sporadically.

It's pretty easy to figure out the open celled sponge filter, just blow that puppy out with canned air, or even rinse it out (let it dry before firing up the concentrator) - but there is ANOTHER filter inside - that I actually didn't know about.

Apparently - you should change it once a year if you are torching daily - or even 20 hours a week.

Or, you can wait until your concentrator starts shutting itself off after running for a few minutes, and then run around panicking. Depending on if you are a fan of preventative maintenance or reactionary swearing. ;-)

The filter looks like this, on the left, or an older style on the right. I replaced both with the style on the left and it seems to work fine.

It lives in the compartment on the back with the sponge filter in the door. Open the door, pull the filter up and out (a little twist helps) but it is just a friction fit.

Put the new filter in, close up the door, and you are good to go. Takes 2 minutes. Literally - here is a 2 minute video showing you how.

So - when's the last time you changed the filters on your concentrator? ;-)

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Carousel Ponies

I took a class with Joy Munshower back in November - which I have to  recommend. Cancelled flight, sick students, etc., I was starting to feel like the class was cursed, but it all worked out. I definitely enjoyed it, and it was totally worth it for all the insights into how she makes her beads. She was kind, generous, down-to-earth, and completely prepared and organized (even if the airline wasn't!)  If you have a chance - definitely you should take a class with her.

I'm focusing trying to make carousel ponies - I love Joy's work, but don't want to seem imitative, so I'm going for the flamboyant, exaggerated, stylistic carousel horses of the turn of the century. I've long been fascinated with the art of the carousel horse. There was an oh-so-brief moment in history when the fascination with the mechanical and the craft of the artisan stood side by side as equals - and it produced some stunning works of art - IMHO.

Anyway - here is where I am so far - these are shot "hot" before going in the kiln - and I have to say - I like some of them a lot less once they come out. (Damn those kiln fairies.) Also - the failure rate is currently above 50% - some of them are so butt-ugly (not pictured here) that I am actually just throwing them in the garbage - a completely unprecedented move. If it wasn't for wanting the mandrel back - I wouldn't even pull them.

I'm also learning that some colours don't really stay the same after an hour of flashing it in and out of the flame. My favorite so far is CiM Adobe, which, is, of course, discontinued. Figures.

Anyway - it's a process.

Just remember - when someone asks you how long it takes to make a bead, the answer is "time at the torch" + "number of years of practice."

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fire Lotus is back

After a lengthy break - Trautman is again making COE 104 Fire Lotus. Hallelujah!

Fire Lotus is the one of the easiest to get reliable purples out of -  heat it to clear, let it cool, strike in the flame.

Hello Fire Lotus, I've missed you. Welcome back.