Monday, August 23, 2010

follow up on the brass face mold

It is a Carlo Dona tool - of course.

They are referred to as "stamps" on his site - You can see them here. His tools have a reputation, well deserved, for being very, very well made. And, ahem, priced accordingly. The rest of his tools are on the products page.

I would suggest avoiding the "home" page of his website as it launches the quick-time player and a very large download that starts music playing. Unless you like that sort of thing.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Brass Mold - onna a stick

Well here's an interesting tool - this is a brass push mold on a handle.

I have it on good authority that this is an Italian tool used actually by glass blowers - for ornamenting large vessels. The idea would be to add a large glob of glass to the side of the vessel, perhaps in the centre of a medallion, or maybe at the base of a handle, and then push this down over the top, shaping it. You could get a classic cameo look. You would then ornament as you saw fit.

Of course, as a flame worker - you know I'm going to approach it the other way, make a gather of glass and push it into the mold.

It actually works quite well - I'm impressed.

It make a face, a rather classical and passive face - which you can then dress up with some hair, or maybe tweak the features a little. It's easy to melt out the lips and it is worth it to deepen them a little with a razor tool.

The key is that you have to let the glass cool and shrink away from the tool, in order to get it out. At first, it seems stuck, like it is never going to come out, but just wait a little longer, and it will come right out.

Here is a face in ivory (with a random piece of detrius stuck to the side. Ignore that please.)

Here is one in the that ghastly fish pink - you know the colour that looks pink until heat it, and then it turns grey. Ugh. It has a smear of something across the nose, possibly some random frit from having to retrieve the gather of glass off the bench. I stroked on some ivory hair.

Here's one in clear - and I surprised at how well it photographed. I added some hair, and her pony tail is actually the loop to hang her by as a pendant.

It's a nice, useful face, and I think you can do a lot with it. The mold cavity, and consequently the face too, is about an inch long - sizable, but not outrageous. Definitely useful as a jumping off place.

I definitely like that it is on a handle, as opposed to a mold that sits flat on the table.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Frit Secrets - Condensed - by Valerie Cox

The second edition of Val Cox's book on Frit is a condensed and edited version. It is a little thinner, and consequently, costs a little less too.

However, there is nothing fundamental missing from this version. I re-read this with a great deal of pleasure - much like catching up with an old friend. Little nuggets of information, half-remembered, or out-right forgotten. New emphasis, and yes, a little new information where items need to be updated. (For instance, the Zimmerman line of frits is no long in production.)

Lots of good solid info and helpful suggestions.

If you already have the first book - I see no need to buy this one, just go re-read the one you have.

If, however, you are contemplating purchasing one or the other - I would suggest this version. It lacks nothing and is a little tighter in the presentation.

And, if you are just trying to figure out what to do with your frit to make it look awesome, well - that is the whole point of the book, and it does it well!

The author says, "If there is one idea to take away from this book, it is to use less frit." Less is more, and so it is with this version.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

CiM 891: Hippo

On the topic of Greys - here is another grey - an opaque grey from CiM. Hippo - what a perfect name. Mind you - I haven't spent a lot of time with hippos - I understand that they are quite dangerous for one thing, far more so than lions and tigers - but I suppose that anything that lives in crocodile-infested waters needs to be a fairly mean mother... . Anyway - where I was going with that is that I am not intimately familiar with the colour(s) of hippos - but I imagine them being this colour. Rhinos too, for that matter. In my head - hippopotamuses and rhinoceroses are intrinsically linked together - like Jeeps and Hummers - one being the more squarish and slab-sided version.

Elephants too - I see elephants as grey too. Never pink.

And this is a medium, opaque, slightly streaky grey.

From left to right, with Double Helix Triton, which has been raked and reduced. Notice the fuming from the silver in the Triton on the grey has shifted it more to a Khaki colour. (Let's not start the Khaki colour debate again!) In the centre and on the right are two self-coloured beads.

Hippo is not a unique, but it is a limited run. I'm not entirely clear on what that means - whether there is just less of it, or it will only be made again if there is a demand for it.

Hippo - a nice "large-African-wild-animal" colour. Suitable for sculptural hippos, rhinos, elephants, and possibly Jeeps and Humvees too.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Effetre 084 - Light Steel Grey

Lately, I've been on a bit of grey kick. Odd - as colour - deep, rich, super-saturated colour is usually what does it for me.

But watching Lucio work with a lot of grey gave me a new appreciation for it. Unfortunately - as I am not familiar with the greys, I didn't really pay attention to which one it was. So I was surprised to find that Effetre has three! transparent greys. I thought there were just the two.

This is 084 - Light Steel Grey, and it is not a completely neutral grey. In life, it is actually more of a soft blue green/grey - a sagey kind of grey. Although, it is showing a little on the aqua side on my monitor right now. Actually, it shows closer to it's actual colour on the IBM monitor on the left side than it does on the Samsung monitor on the right side. I have two monitors - so I can get more "real estate" for all the programs I have open at one time.

From left to right, over light ivory, over white, and by itself.

It's surprisingly attractive - and far more complex than just a simple, neutral grey. Quite a sophisticated grey.

I like it!

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Essential Tools: Graphite Stump Shaper

And - one more "don't leave home without it" tool. I have quite the kit of tools that I routinely schlep about, actually.

This is the Graphite Stump Shaper. For this, as it is lighter than the brass stump shaper, I prefer the larger size. This is the 2 x 2.5 inch size. I appreciate that the handle is wood+metal. I have to admit - the rubber handle of the brass stump shaper can definitely smell of much-too-hot rubber if you let the head get too warm.

Here is the head, from various angles, so you can see the planes and curves and etc.

The beveled plane at the end is particularly nice for shaping bicones.

So - why do I have both a brass Stump shaper and a graphite one? Well - I find brass and graphite move the glass in very different ways.

Because graphite is slipperier, it slides more over the glass. The brass is a little "grabbier." So - if I am putting on dots, and flattening them with a tool - instead of just melting them in by themselves, if I want to "steer" them into position - i.e. I'm doing something that requires more precision (as unlikely as that seems!) - then the brass tool is better, as I can tweak the dot into the best position as I flatten it with the brass dot - by sliding in one direction or another. With the graphite tool - it's just going to flatten it.

And, as subtle as that distinction sounds - it's enough to justify both tools.

Also - I don't use the graphite tools for the heavy duty cutting and separating that I use the brass Stump shaper for.

The graphite Stump shaper is also large enough, and being flat on one side, to function as a flat paddle for marvering. If you are just starting out, I would suggest skipping the flat paddle and going for this instead, as it is more versatile.

Monday, August 02, 2010

Val Cox Frit: Straw Fire

Well - here we go again - a new selection of frits. By now - you know about me and frits and my questionable relationship with them. But I am starting to get somewhere - and lord knows, just because I'm bad at something - doesn't stop me from doing it.

Unless it is parachuting. I realized that being bad at that could kill me - so I stopped after the first jump and only a broken ankle. But that is another story.

The working notes for this blend say:

Opaque: Firey tones of red, orange and earth ignite this blend of frits. A hint of some cool tones gives it complexity and depth. Don't pair with silver foil or dark rimming will occur.

So, here we have it on white. It was shades of pink when it was hot. But, orange and red it said, and orange and red, and yellow and a grey violet is what we get.

From the left we have: 1) clear gather, dip and wind. 2) On Hades. 3) And on Hades, and encased. Apparently, that one could have used more frit and less heat. I've swirled the frit into total obscurity on that one.

Then I tried two implosion flowers. I was quite pleased with these, but then - I noticed that they both cracked.

Big, honking cracks through the clear. I used Lauscha clear for this. I was pretty disappointed. But I suspected that the fault was mine - not the frit or the clear.

I went back and tried again. Much better. For what it's worth, this is a much flatter profile, more like a button than a snow globe, and I like it a lot better. And no cracking. I've bashed this and whacked it a few times too - so I think it would have cracked if it was a compatibility issue. Hey - maybe I should look at these under the polariscope! (Update: I did - inasmuchas it's hard to see on the side - it looks fine.)

This is a nice, happy blend of summery colours. The light mauve stops it from being too over the top and adds a little sophistication.