Monday, August 27, 2007

Parrot Green

Vetro 977 - Parrot Green. Photo's beautifully, if not completely realistically! In life, this is more of a wild lime colour - and I mean wild in the sense of grown without cultivation. As opposed to the neon screaming green in the picture. The two dot beads are dotted with Ivory, and whatever black I had on hand. Possibly Hades.

It is a nice yellow green, slightly streaky, and definite a hip, happenin' bright happy green.

The rod looks like a transparent, with a colored core. But - it goes opaque when worked.

Update on Reactions

Just a few more tests to confirm inter-reactions.

Top mandrel - Orange Punch, encased - does show lighter. (Thicker encasing to the right).
Second Mandrel - Orange punch and Sunshine and Lemon Meringue. What a happy, festive colour combo!
Third Mandrel. Turquoise and Lemon Ice. Ok. I'd say that confirms the Yellow Ice as a Very Light Ivory!
Fourth Mandel. Sunshine and Lemon Meringue with Turquoise. Note, the dark reactive border.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Nummy Lemon Meringue

Another keeper - this Lemon Meringue (Vetro Odd Lot 949) - is a lovely soft yellow, on the cool side. It is not a "hot" yellow tending to orange - but a cool yellow - if such a thing exists.

It develops/strikes yellow, and is quite a bit lighter if not given time to strike - see spoon. Some streakiness, but very, very subtle.

A nice colour and fills in a blank spot in the 104 COE colour palette.

River Rock

Another Vetro Odd Lot - this one called River Rock. I have to say, I like this one. A dark ivory variant - it looks like a translucent beige in the rod, but goes opaque streaky ivory when worked. It's quite a bit darker and smokier than dark ivory (either Moretti or Vetro). I can definitely see potential here. Goddesses anyone?

The bead with the black - couldn't tell you what the black used was, or even if it was black. Generic dark stringer hanging out on the table. Coulda been anything.

Pyjama Blue

OK - I have no idea why Pyjamas should be bluer than anything else, unless this refers to the Pyjama Blues - the phenom of said garments creeping up and strangling you during the night.

Another Vetro Odd Lot.

Man, oh man - this colour reduces like crazy - and not necessarily in the flame. Look at the sample spoon - reduced all the way down the rod - I annealed it in the kiln. However, the reduction will remove with a goodly soak (6 hours or so) in CLR. The one undecorated bead and the Fishie have been CLR'd. The other colour on the fishie is Orange Sherbet.

Reacts with Ivory. This is a variant Light Sky Blue - so far as I can tell. Still, a pretty enough blue, if you can live with the reduction.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dreamy Creamy Orange Sherbet

Another Vetro OddLot - Orange Sherbert, I believe - but I'll have to get the number later - as I put the labeled rod into the kiln to anneal and burned off the label.

This is a lovely, creamy, streaky, variable colour. Well - I really like that sort of thing, so I think it's wonderful. Ranging from a mango orange to a cooked salmon pink. It also exhibits "sparkle" - a shimmering sparkle like goldstone - when hot, but this, unfortunately, disappears when cool. The colours when hot are even more spectacular, showing purples - which fade to the more mango-y parts when cool. (The fish is Yellow Ice + Orange Sherbert.)

This colour is a keeper - definitely warrants further exploration!

Punchy Orange Punch

Vetro OddLot Orange Punch (957). A Blood Orange dark reddish orange, slightly streaky. The bumpy beads have clear dots, and you can see the colour shows lighter under clear.

Another colour that looks translucent in the rod but anneals to opaque.

Vetro: Yellow Ice

Watch out where the huskies go, and don't you eat that yellow snow. Well - at least they didn't call it that. Another Vetro Odd lot, 947, Yellow Ice. Looks translucent in the rod, but works and anneals to an opaque.

It's very light, and really more of a cream. Will have to test for reactivity. If not - it could be a great alternate to light ivory. As it stands, looks like a very light cream or french vanilla colour.

Just another Turquoise

Vetro OddLot Green Ocean Light Pastel (927) - what a disappointment. Not that it isn't a pretty colour - especially if you are a fan of turquoise blue - but it's really nothing new, except the rod doesn't look like your regular turquoise. Could easily pass for Dark Turquoise.

The glass in the rod is gorgeous - a translucent blue teal colour, and when heated, and cooled without reheating (see end of spoon) - a lovely transparent on the greener side of aqua. But, in the kiln, it goes opaque (even if you don't reheat it at all after making it - see furthest away bead). Reacts strongly to ivory (see dotted bead.)

On the upside - it does seem to be more resistant to reducing (especially in the kiln) than the Moretti/Vetro turquoises usually are - more like the Lauscha Turquoise - my usual choice for when I don't feel like soaking the beads in CLR afterwards. These beads were not treated.

Here comes the Sunshine!

Hello, sunshine! A new Vetro Odd-lot - 946 Sunshine. Stock up on this one! A beautiful shade of bright, happy yellow, virtually no colour shift (see spoon in picture, un-annealed) and non-reactive (spotted bead has dark ivory dots and clear dots) - and appears the same colour when encased. (Haven't tried a full bead encased yet.)

A real corn-on-the-cob colour.

Actually - on second thought - can't call it non-reactive - it wouldn't react with ivory anyway. Will have to try it with turquoise.

Here comes the Sunshine!

Hello, sunshine! A new Vetro Odd-lot - 946 Sunshine. Stock up on this one! A beautiful shade of bright, happy yellow, virtually no colour shift (see spoon in picture, un-annealed) and non-reactive (spotted bead has dark ivory dots and clear dots) - and appears the same colour when encased. (Haven't tried a full bead encased yet.)

A real corn-on-the-cob colour.

Actually - on second thought - can't call it non-reactive - it wouldn't react with ivory anyway. Will have to try it with turquoise.

DaVinci 2 Opaque

The more I use this multi-coloured glass (Rocio 406) - the more I adore it. Not just like, but love it. For one thing - the incredible range of colours that you can get out it blows my mind. Wait a minute. That's not the one thing - that's the whole thing.

Just look at those creamy swirls - that variation. There just the one glass in there folks - that's it. Da Vinci 2 and nothing else. That elusive hint of dark blue at the top right - just love that!

Here, again, that dark blue at the end. I've been using this glass by itself, and just letting the beauty of the glass speak for itself, but it also makes for an interesting, organic background for a design on top. And if I ever stop just making beads out of it alone - I'll be sure and try that.

This is one of the high metal content reactive glasses from Rocio Bearer and I can see the potential for some interesting effects as I continue to play with it. For instance, this final bead has a goldstone stripe on it - notice the bright pink showing through the goldstone stringer? Hmmm - a reaction to the copper in the goldstone?

Nortel’s New Torch – a Mega Step forward.

I have had the happy experience and total pleasure of beta testing Nortel’s new torch over the past 3 weeks. This is the new Mega Minor – and I have to say – it ROCKS. (Nortel makes the Minor, Red Max, Red Rocket, Mid-range and other torches.) Let me say that again - the new Mega Minor is awesome!

This torch gives you way more heat for the amount of oxygen used. My usual set up is a minor, propane, and two oxygen concentrators, and my personal style is to work large and fast.

I usually work soft glass, and my usual focal bead size is about 2 inches long.

My first reaction to the torch was surprise when I lit it and turned up the oxy. The flame spread outward from the torch tip, flaring out slightly, and giving a wider flame. The next thing I noticed that because the flame/candles look quite different, that the neutral flame did not look quite the way I expected it to. I found, with a little experimentation, that a completely neutral flame, (i.e. glass that reacts to a reducing flame ceases to react) was a flame that I would have thought was oxydizing (hissy). This results in the torch a bit noisier under normal working conditions. Nowhere near the order of hot-head noisy, mind you. Heck – with the concentrators running – you can’t really hear that much of a difference. (and now that I'm used to it, I really can't hear the difference.)

The wider flame means you can work larger beads, keeping them all over hot with ease. More heat means you can work faster, you get to working temperature faster, stay there easier. Some of the large sculptural shapes that I have trouble with due to cooling, ceased to be hard because maintaining temperature became a lot easier. Working multiple beads on a mandrel became a lot easier too – as you can keep them all hot easier.

I schlepped the torch down to the beadFX studio and set it up there – so this would be a natural gas and bottled oxygen environment. It performed equally well – and in being able to run it side by side with a Minor with functionally unlimited oxygen, I noticed that you can go to a larger flame that is still useable. With very high oxygen pressure, the Minor flame will eventually start to become too turbulent to work on - but the Mega still has a usable flame. I then had to pry it out of everyone’s hands to take it away with me again – as everyone who tried it wanted it.

So, I then tried to work some borosilicate. In the past, even with two concentrators – I’ve just never had the patience to work boro. Jean set me up with a sample pack – and I had to phone her to confirm that it was, in fact, boro – as it melts in real time. Not just little beads – but sizable ones too.

I did notice that there is more radiant heat from the torch – you can feel it on your face, which I had not initially noticed, as I usually use a shield instead of glasses. Glass on the table that is right under the torch can get uncomfortably hot to the touch too when working with a larger flame. Now I know why the boro boys spread out across the desk so much.

Once I settled down and stopped trying to get the largest flame possible, I found that the torch performs very well in the sphere of where I suspect most people work. Turning the torch down still means you can do detailed stringer work.

In fact, turning off one of the concentrators still results in a perfectly usable flame.

I also tried working some shampoo glass, my personal benchmark of working cool, and found that while the flame that was cool enough to work this picky glass looked ridiculously short, it was quite stable and there was no sign of the end of the torch starting to glow.

Verdict: I’m sold. My minor is set aside and I am now using this torch full time. I would recommend it to anyone who is thinking of adding another concentrator to get more heat – try this torch first – you may find that you no longer need another concentrator. You will need to get used to the flame looking different – but that’s easy enough. I think this torch is extremely versatile and opens more doors for torchworkers.

Disclaimer. I am not paid by Nortel for my opinion - in fact, nobody pays me for my opinions. I wish someone would. But I'm not completely unbiased - Nortel is like my second home. Or maybe third. Anyway - if I didn't think this was a great torch, I would have told them so.