Friday, July 31, 2009

CiM Soylent

Soylent Green is people!

Go back and watch the movie - it's a weird blend of "held up well" and "oh boy is that dated!" Cell phones - why did almost no one who wrote speculative fiction (except for Star Trek, in a limited fashion) see cell phones coming?

Anyhoo - nice streaky green - quite reactive, as you can see from the ivory dots. A nice medium emerald green - not really leaning to either the blue or the yellow.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

CiM Gunmetal

Yes - I promised the CiM greens - but look at this! OOoooOOOOoo. AAAaaaaAAAH. CiM's answer to Effetre Dark Silver Plum and Metallic Black!

It starts as a dark grey rod, but blooms with a silvery, sometimes slightly frosted finish. Not a reduction effect - really - it looks more like a devit - like EDP does - with out being as extreme as that. A lovely metallic effect - it will certainly have people wondering about whether it is glass or metal. It will pretty much just do it by itself - but if it doesn't - just let it cool and flash lightly in the flame - like trying to get EDP to devitrify. ;-)

Certainly as easy to use at the two Effetre colours - this one is a keeper in my humble opinion! Woo hoo!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

New CiM colours - a whole whack of greens

A whole new whack of colors from Creation is Messy - this time - the theme is green!

Coming at ya - from the top, Soylent (is people?), Slytherin, Split Pea, Oz, Mojito, Gunmetal, and Maple!

Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit

Several weeks ago - I went to the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibit (TOAE - which everyone pronounces toe-ee) - where I took this rather idyllic photograph. While several notable vendors (in the glass bead and jewelry world, anyway!) were conspicuous in their absence - by and large - the vendors I talked to were having a good show.

I went with a friend, and because it was an outdoor show, I took one of the dogs with me - Adam, aka The Dude - as I realized that I hadn't really done a lot of socializing with him in large crowds and the big city environment. This was a good opportunity, as I wasn't expecting any excitement, and I could easily bail if anything went wrong.

My friend and I had done most of the show, and The Dude had been absolutely awesome - a perfect diplomat and gentleman. Quiet, attentive, not overly boisterous, saying hi to those who wanted to, leaving others alone - a splendid example of correct behaviour in public. We had stopped in the booth of a glass blower and were having a nice little chat about the world of glass - the dog was lying in the middle of the booth, being very calm. Someone came into the booth and was looking at the vases on display - and knocked one over - and I saw the domino effect in action.

The next vase tipped over, and it hit the next - which was at the edge of the table. A two-foot-high hand-made blown-glass vase pinwheeled off the table into empty space, spinning in the sun. I swear, I saw it in slow motion. It hung in the air, glittering, and then time speeded back up, and it dropped, landing inches from the dog, as he quietly lay in the middle of the booth, surrounded by thousands of dollars worth of glass. It hit the concrete hard, and shattered into thousands of pieces - few larger than a postage stamp - spraying the dog with a rainbow of pink and gold glass.

Confronted with this assault - he just stood up, looked at me, and telegraphed, "Am I supposed to DO something about this?" I said, "come here" - and he stepped over the shards and came to sit beside me, managing to shed his coating of glass and not slice his paws to ribbons. Good boy!

I looked over at the shopper who had started this - and his face was white - you could see his credit card flashing before his eyes.

And the glass blower - he stepped over the glass - put his hand on the gentleman's shoulder and said "Hey, it's only glass. It breaks. I broke one myself this morning. Don't worry about it."

Now THAT'S class.

Glass people are just awesome!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Video: Boro Basics - Brent Graber

DVD - not video - sorry. We still tend to call 'em videos - even though I don't think I still have a functioning VCR in all the piles of electronic crapola I have jumbled around here. Just like we still "dial" a phone. And "cc" email. Oh my - I'm showing my age.

Anyway - this a DVD from Brent Graber - "Boro Basics - Volume One - Off Mandrel Techniques." If you've been reading Flow Magazine, (and if not - why the heck not? Call yourself a flameworker do you? ;-) ) - you will have read Brent's article about his struggle to come to terms with teaching and letting go of his techniques.

Well - I'm glad he wrestled that particular demon to the ground - as we will all be a lot richer for it.

I don't work boro - and if you read this blog on a regular basis - quite probably you don't either. However - I LOVE to watch boro (borosilicate = hard glass, i.e. Pyrex) workers play with glass. It is both so familar and so alien at the same time. The approach is quite different - simultaneously more theatrical and more practical than soft glass. It always leaves me whimpering - "I wish I could do that with my glass" - and then I haul myself off to see what I can adapt from their techniques.

And are the techniques from this DVD adaptable to soft glass? You becha! If you are hankering to make off-mandrel pendants and are struggling with A) punties, or B) getting the d4mn hole in the loop - then I highly recommend this DVD. Brent's technique is a head-smacking doh moment.

Oh, and make sure you have a tunsten pick and a pair of (Sharon) Peter Tweezers - or order them when you buy the video. Because you are going to want them as soon as you see this. In fact - you might not even wait for the end of the video.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Effetre Clear

Well - it seems sorta weird to be talking about Effetre Clear - but here goes.

I recently acquired 2 packages of Effetre Clear - one is the 004 Regular Clear, and the other is 006 Super Clear. These particular bundles were handpicked at the factory - from a new batch - and air freighted here - so they have the advantage of not having spent 3 months tossing around in a container - getting all scratched up.

They actually arrived with their Italian labels still intact - the Regular labeled
591004 05 No Ordine 8000338
Cristallo 5-6
Made in Italy

and the Super Clear labeled
591006 05 No Ordine 8000248
Cristallo Speciale 5-6
Made in Italy.

Sighting along the glass - they are both very nice and clear and not showing aqua or green but a nice, brilliant clear. Perhaps a tinge to the yellow - but very nice.

I started by cleaning both types with alcohol for maximum cleanness.

These first two are the Super Clear. The top bead was made using the "build up" method - and the bottom one was made using the "full gather" method. I tried both, as someone once opined to me that the full gather tended to trap more scum.

Here they are again, in the same order, on the right - w a black background to show more contrast.

And here we have the regular clear. The wound beads are on the top, and the full gather is on the bottom.

On the grey background - they look the same, but on the black, you can see that the regular clear - does, in fact - have more of the tiny little bubbles we call scum.

But where does the clarity of the clear really count? Why, in encasing of course. So here are two encased florals. The top, egg-shape, is the Super Clear, and the bottom bicone is the regular clear.

As you can see - florals are obviously not my particular speciality!

However - these both came out pretty nice! The larger airbubbles are me - and not part of the glass.

Both these clears are really pretty good - although, for the minor price difference - I'll be taking the super clear.

Why bother with Effetre clear - in the light of the other, lovely clears on the market? Well - when push comes to shove - it flows more freely and you can encase faster with it, short of getting a thicker rod. Sometimes - that's just really useful. And for beads like these florals - which aren't exactly works of art - everybody makes this flower! - it's good enough.

BTW - I kind of like the clear spacers. I wonder how a strand of those would look?

Didn't I pan a batch of Effetre Super Clear recently? Yes - I think I did. These are from a new batch, obviously. If only hand-picking at the factory were an easier option!

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Magic - the Frit-ering

So - I have in my hot little hands - a baggie o' frit labelled "Magic." No other data. Other than it is medium size and there is 2 oz of it. All righty then. It appears to be an opaque chestnut brown. But - if I'm any judge of things labeled "Magic" - it would not be so simple.

So the first question I have when presented with some mystery glass is, does it strike or reduce? Or react?
So - for my first test - I make a basic bead in clear, rolled it in the magic, melted it in, and reduced it. 1 Pic, on left. It took on a metallic look, and looks better in life than it does in that picture. So - right first time - it reduces. And, we can see from the faint yellow marks on the mandrel - it looks like it fumed - so I'm thinking silver content.

What else will it do? Next, on clear, without reducing.

It looked creamy when it was hot - but out of the kiln - it now looks to be a sort of khaki colour with interesting red halos - that give the clear bead an over all reddish hue as they reflect around the inside of the bead.

Next up, on black. I tried striking it. This time - I see a faint bluish haze come up on part of the bead. Ok - the black background is a good thing.

On black again - this time mashed. Oh look - the colours come up all by themselves, without my striking it. Kewel.

How about on ivory? Not reduced. Ick. Ok, the lines around the dots are cool - but the dot colour is a sort of icky grey-green. Meh.

Once more, on black, this time, I waited for the colours to "bloom" (appear by themselves as it cooled) and then reduced it.
This one is pretty dark - and might have some devit happening too.

On turquoise - in this case, CiM Smurfy - We see some break up in the turquoise between the dots.

And so, finally - a big black bicone, w ivory swirls. Magic frit, then encased, then more frit.

So - what have we learned?


Some reactions don't look so hot - i.e. on ivory. But on black - it has distinct possibilities. And I think it would be fair to say - a little goes a long way. ;-)

I suppose, at this point - someone will tell me that there is a tutorial for it somewhere and that I missed something - but I have to admit - figuring it out for myself is a lot of fun!

Hmmm - maybe I should have tried it with silver foil. ;-)