Sunday, December 30, 2007

Vetro Odd Lot 997 - Painted Desert

Painted Desert is exactly what this looks like - a trip to the sandstone cliffs of the desert. Orange, salmon and grey come from a light grey rod (seen behind.) Totally cool, dude. I like this one! Thumbs up!

Vetro Odd Lot - 811 - Moon Rock

Moon Rock - now THIS I would have called Petrified Wood. The rod is a dark grey, (just behind bead) but the beads are a streaky chestnut colour. It's still, argueably in the Tomato Soup family (see below). It is also somewhat shock.

I do like the definite streakiness.

Vetro 806 Smoke Rings

Smoke Rings - good name. I was very excited about this glass - especially after all the darned orange stuff. Check out the pic of the rod (below.) Cool, eh?

This seems slightly pinkish in the rod, which goes away - to a wispy, streaky ivory in clear colour. Very cool - I can see uses for this. Don't know if it encases well yet.

Tres kewel.

Attack of the Killer Tomato Soup Colour

Ack - Attack of the Condensed Tomato Soup colour! Nine - 9! - new colours from Vetro - odd lots - and all look like failed attempts to make coral.

Not that they are bad colours - they are nice and streaky, and nice enough (well - a couple are uber-shocky) - and they have really cool names - but they are so similar - there is not much to distinguish between them.

And let me tell you - keeping them separated for the purposes of this blog was a pain!

This one is 995 - Vetro Odd Lot Jupiter. Good name - streaky orange. Appears to be in the coral family of colour - goes grey when hot. Doesn't reduce or devitrify.

Next up - 996 - Bloody Mary. (bottom mandrel)

Difference? Not much. The light coloured bead on the bottom right is the Bloody Mary encased in clear. (The oranges usually look lighter when encased.)

This is the Bloody Mary with Ivory dots. Nice colour combo.

Next up, we have Vetro Odd lot

803 Candy Corn
804 Tomato Soup
805 Orange Dreamsicle

These colours accurately reflect the colours of the rods - but they are heat and anneal to pretty much the same colour. I think the 805 Orange Dreamsicle is the prettiest, with the brightest colours, with the red orange and yellow orange being the least murky, but it is also shocky and inclined to boil.

And four more! Will the madness never end?

These are:

801 Cosmic Storm
802 Apricot Jam
998 Rhubarb
999 Petrified Wood

801, 802 and 998 are uber-shocky, shocky, and very shocky.

This pic shows the rod and the single bead made from it. All rods started the same length, and the beads are the same size - the shorter rods represent the shockier rods, as you lose more by chunks falling off the end. I do try and pick them up and reuse them, but sometimes they just won't stop flying off. 801 - couldn't even get the end inch glowing. Had to settle for getting the tip soft and having it shock onto the mandrel. Very frustrating. This glass was a room temp when I started.

999 - the last of this four was less shocky, but tended to boil. Admittedly - it's not really as orange as the others, more of a mustard streaked with grey.

The 801 - I wouldn't buy - it's too much work to try and use.

Of the lot - I think the 805 Dreamsicle is the prettiest - bright happy colours. The 803 Candy Corn is close behind. The 999 Petrified Wood is quite similar to the 801 - and I would pass on the 801 entirely.

For those that love orange - and streaky colours - there are is some fun stuff here.

Ivory with Silver Dot Trails

Someone asked me how these are done - I don't believe it's a big secret - but I couldn't find the reference.

Make a bead in a light ivory glass - I used either Moretti or Vetrofond - not sure which. Make and shape your bead.

Take some very thin Fine Silver wire. I use 30 gauge, you could use slightly heavier gauge. Fine silver is 99.9% silver. Sterling silver will not work.

Spot heat one place - I choose a spot at the left side of the bead. Heat that spot to soft, and take it out of the flame and press the wire onto it. Hold the wire well back from the bead, and do not put it in the flame.

Still out of the flame, spin the bead, keeping tension on the wire, and guiding. If you have a bead with very steep sides - you may have trouble getting it to stay and not slide - so I tend to apply this to beads with more gradual slopes. I usually wind down to the right end and then back to the left, where I started.

I use about 10 inches for a bead - I have a spool of the wire and just use it off the spool.

Go back to the flame and flame-cut the wire at the bead.

Now go back into the flame and melt the silver.

The silver will break up into little balls, and it will also react with the ivory, creating the dark, streaky trails.

You may find that the place where you spot heated to attach the wire has distorted, so heat and fix that area.

For these beads, after they came out of the kiln, I cleaned them and then etched them. I use a liquid etching solution, and because mine is fairly fresh, these were etched for about 10 seconds. It is just enough to take the gloss off, without a rough texture.

(The etching solution is poured back into the bottle after use. Please make the effort to read the microscopically-tiny-print instructions on the bottle. You can use the glass etching solution found at craft stores and stained glass stores. Never pour acid in a manner that will make it splash. Use containers that will not but re-used for food. Acid can burn you - use rubber gloves, and remember, an acid burn can feel like an itch at first - not like a heat burn. )

Cim 834-1 Unique Clear

From CiM - Creation is Messy - a clear. This one is designated Unique - which usually means that it is an odd lot. Not sure what is odd about it.

This seems like a perfectly ordinary clear - not stunningly clear, but not bad. A few bubbles, as you can see from this picture. Doesn't seem to be scum-prone, though - but I think that more experimenting is in order.

As to comptibility - I find that when working with silver or other metals or with dichro is when you first start to see compatibility issues. The core of this dragon bead is encased with the CiM clear and seems to be fine. No cracks yet - but I'll post if that changes.

It is always nice to see that there is a clear in any line of glass.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Vetro Odd Lots - Shades of Green

A new crop of odd lots from Vetrofond - and there is some fun stuff here, but I have to say - some of the colours - while different in the unheated rod, are virtually impossible to tell apart afterwards!

Here we have, from left to right, showing first the rod, and then the finished, annealed beads.

807 Frog Pond
808 Swamp Moss
809 Jungle Twilight
810 Lemongrass

The Frog Pond and the Swamp Moss are very similar - with the Frog Pond showing more yellowy green, and the Swamp Moss has more of an ochrey tone.

The Jungle Twilight is a really nice, dark, evergreen colour - make some great trees with this, and it is streaky too - although it doesn't show well in this pic.

The Lemongrass disappointed me a little by not staying as transparent as it is in the rod, but it is still streaky and interesting.

A nice set of earth tone greens, especially nice for florals or perhaps sculptural stuff. The streakiness saves having to pull multicoloured stringer, although, I'm sure, that pulled into string, the streakiness might be quite subtle.

I haven't tried encasing them, so can't comment on that yet. AFter the last round of streaky Vetros - I would definitely test for that before doing a bunch of beads with these.

They were all well-behaved, not shocky, although the Lemongrass did boil very easily.

A good addition for those that like earth tones and yellowy greens.

Remember, these are odd lots - meaning that they are unlikely to be made again, so if you love it, hoard it.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Goldstone Ribbons

Goldstone, in flat ribbons, instead of chunks, frit, or stringer, or encased stringer.

Goldstone can look stunning in a bead - it can also be a big fat disappointment, a shocky mess, or a lot of work.

Generally - folks seem to buy large chunk frit, and make their own stringer, buy picking up chunks on the end of a rod and melting them into a blob and pulling into a stringer. You can then use the stringer to decorate your beads. I find the rate of return, dazzle to effort, hardly worth it.

Sooo - when I saw this stuff - you can imagine my reaction. Gotta get me some of that!

It's fairly thin, no, make that quite thin, melts very easily - so treat it like stringer - don't bung it in the flame - find the spot where is starts to soften, right at the edge of the flame, and push it down onto the bead. It wraps around a bead a treat!

Try not to overheat it and melt it in too much - the turq bead on the top left has lost most of the sparkle factor - the one on the right, with the raised encasing in more interesting.

The bottom two are better yet, the one on the left is a nice full wrap, and encased in light pink (for variety) and the one on the right was scraps of the goldstone ribbon. The greenish effect is from all the copper that is in the goldstone.

If you are not familiar with goldstone - it is copper flakes in a very high concentration in the glass, suspended - not melted in. Once the copper combines with the glass, it turns it green - so I suspect that working cool will be best for goldstone.

Clear core, wrapped with goldstone ribbon, encased, mashed, and dots of DaVinci transparent.

Black core, goldstone ribbon and intense black and white twistie, encased.

My opinion - a huge improvement over other methods of using goldstone. While it does give you a very wide stripe of goldstone, for it's ease of use and dramatic effect - I really like this!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Shocky Glass?

Is it my imagination - or does glass seem shockier lately? It seems to me, that when I started, only the occasional batch of glass was really, really shocky - like that batch of white we had a few years back.

Now, it's entirely possible that because of the way I work, (impatiently), or simply, sheer volume, but I'm running into glass that I can't work at all. Recently, I had a production order to fill, and needed 212 Pea Green. I bought a half pound of Vetro 212 and a half pound of Moretti 212 (which I note are slightly different shades of green - not an exact match. ) I started with the Vetro, and went through 3 rods and barely got 8 spacer sized beads - and way more time than I can afford for production work. I switched to the Moretti, and it was creamy and smooth and well behaved.

It's unusual for me to prefer the Moretti over the Vetro, but in this case - I have to say - that batch is unusable. Conclusion: There is a batch of Vetro 212 out there that has huge air bubbles in it - which you can't see because it's opaque, but is making the glass shock. I am giving up on that batch. The surface of the Vetro 212 has a rather unpleasant dirty feel, that doesn't wash off - if you have a batch of this - consider yourself warned.

Garzoni Giovanna Glass

Garzoni Giovanna - another of the R4 glasses. This is a COE 104 soft glass - Moretti compatible. A lovely pale peridot green in the rod - it develops "threads" in the glass as you work it - see beads to right.

In a reducing flame, it develops a smoky bluish metallicy haze, which you can remove and re-reduce and fine tune. The bead on the far left is a hollow, with the left side reduced, and the right side unreduced. The spacers are, from the left, one reduced, the rest never reduced.

Here is another shot of the hollow. You can better see the threads and streaks in the glass, and the effect of the reduction.

And, just for fun, here is a large dichro focal, encased in the Garzoni, and streaked and raked, (not sure with what, some other reducing glass, possibly Sasha's silver), and partially unreduced again.

I really like the way this glass works, and will be buying more!

BTW - I really think that it should be Giovanna Garzoni, but to avoid too much confusion, I'm listing it the way it was styled to me. Giovanna Garzoni was a female baroque painter who specialized in some truly delightful still lifes. Google her.