Tuesday, September 21, 2010

CiM 957 -1 and -2: Desert Pink Uniques

CiM Desert Pink is a soft dainty pink, a very pretty pink.

-1 Unique is, for all practical purposes, appears almost indistinguishable from the original color.

-2 Unique has a brownish cast to it, just enough to push it out of the realm of being pink. Although it's a subtle difference, in the world of pretty pinks, it's enough to turn it into a more of a tan or a taupe colour.

This segmented bead is, from left to right, a base of

  • -1
  • original
  • -2
Each segment has two rows of dots, which are, from left to right
  • original
  • -2
  • -1
  • -2
  • -1
  • original
If that seems confusing - try this:

The -1 dots on the original base, and the original dots on the -1 base are virtually invisible. The -2 dots show up on the -1 and original base. And the -1 and original dots show on the -2 base.

The -2 probably has it's own uses as a soft, fleshy tan colour.

I notice that the distinction between the -2 and the original seems really subtle on this monitor - and less so on my other monitor - so if they seem very close here - the difference is more obvious in real life.

Monday, September 20, 2010

CiM 874-1: Unique Admantium

Isn't this bee-you-ti-ful? Ok - ignore all the reflections and reflect on this - this is only 2 colours of glass.

This is Admantium Unique 1, on the base on the left, and the dots on the right, with the original as the base on the right, and the dots on the left.

Don't they go beautifully together? I really hope that CiM keeps this variant around - they work so well together.

The Admantium -1 stays much more the color of the rod - while the original get's substantially darker. And it is a wonderful warm grey brown, and really lovely neutral.

And a little streaky too.

This is a strong buy, in my recommendation. ;-)

Sunday, September 19, 2010

CiM 703 -4 and -5: Butter Pecan Unique 4, 5

This is Butter Pecan Unique -4 and -5. It's something of a disappointment to me, as it is, well, grey. It's not an un-useful colour - and would make a lovely neutral, especially for someone whose work is define by those quiet, tasteful sets of beads, beautifully matched and with intricate patterns - the kind I can admire, but can not do. Oh, I suppose if you put a gun to my head, I could pull it off, but really - I'm more of a wild and woolly type.

This is BP-4 on the base on the left, with Original base on the right, and the dots reversed. (Above)

This is BP-5 on the base on the left, with Original base on the right, and the dots reversed. (Above)

I can't really tell the two uniques apart - and to demonstrate that they are not the same bead and I didn't mix them up - here you can see the identifying marker dots that I put on them. Unique 4 may be slightly lighter.

Anyhoo - they are grey. Which, if you've been using Butter Pecan for say, Angels, skip the uniques 4 and 5 - unless you are going to make stone angels. Or weeping angels.

In which case, don't blink. Whatever you do - Don't Blink!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

CiM 402-2 Celadon Unique

Another variation on Celedon, this is Unique 2.

Shown here, Unique 2 is the base on the left side, and the dots on the right, with the base on the right and the dots on the left being the original Celedon.

The Unique 2 is lighter, and less of a blue green, more of an apple green.

It is nicely streaky. It's a nice leafy green. Ribbon cane made out of the two together would probably make nice leaves. Or maybe not dramatic enough.

Still - I would say it's a nice, useful green.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

CiM742-2: Sepia - the "Blue Variant"

Wow - talk about not getting the same results!

This is CiM Sepia Unique-2 - the so-called "Blue Sepia" - see Beads by Laura.

Well - I sure didn't get Blue.

In fact - this is the only glass I've ever had from CiM that I have actively disliked.

Maybe it came from a different batch or a different part of the pull.

Maybe I burned the snot out of it - but I didn't work it any differently from any other CiM glass.

As you can see - it went grey, (normally Sepia is a pale brown)

This variant boiled - like an alabastro. Actually - worse - I could not get it to stop boiling. I switched to the smaller torch mid-bead - I kept trying less and less heat - just endless bubbling. You can see the result in the finished bead.

It certainly looks burned - but I couldn't get it cool enough to not burn.

No idea what happened.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

CiM 586-1: Mermaid Unique

Mermaid -1 Unique - quite a bit bluer than the original Mermaid. The original mermaid is a truly nice colour - filling in a gap in the 104 colour palette.

Mermaid-1 is also a very nice colour - and I think maybe worthy of keeping. It is a very streaky teal.

You can see here, the left side of the bicone is the unique for the base, with dots of the original, and the right side is the reverse - the original on the base, etc.

There appears to be a reaction between the two as well - nicely defining the dots.

I may have to stock up on this one too.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

CiM 795: Adobe Limited Run

This is a promising color. This is Adobe, and it is a limited run - which means it is deemed too similar to another colour to put into production.

Not sure what that colour is - Ginger, maybe. I'll have to find some and compare.

I rather like it - it is a nice warm brown, a very comfortable dark flesh colour. I think I'd like to try some sculptural figures in this one.

It did have a lot of surface air bubbles in the rod when I used it - I could see them popping as the rod melted. However - there is no trace of them in the beads, and the rods were not at all shocky.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Devardi Metallic Coppery Black

Couldn't do it. Couldn't get it to work.

This is Devardi Metallic Coppery Black - which is supposed to go a rich metallic copper.

Now - fair enough - Devardi states on their website that you need to use a non-oxygen torch to get this to work - like a hot-head or similar.

They have added that some of their customers have been able to get it to work with gas/oxy torches, and give instructions. I suggest reading it, and watching their video. (Go here, and scroll about a third of the way down. Or hit control+f and search for coppery.)

I did read those instructions, and tried to follow them - but just could not get it to go coppery. All I got was the red that they caution you that you will get using a gas/oxy torch.

Like this.

Otherwise, all I got was black.

Not to say it doesn't work - but I couldn't get it to go. Now - one thing I saw in the video that they didn't mention and I didn't do - is the rapid cooling of marvering or mashing. That might make the difference.

While I do have a Hot Head around here someplace - I'm not motivated enough to dig it out for this. Or any reason, I think.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Leonardo Tools: Featherbone Mashers

When I saw Karen Leonardo's tools online - it was lust at first site. Gotta get me those.

But which ones? There were different tools, and different sizes? Which ones would be best? So I solved that problem in my usual manner. I bought all of them.

She has a number of tools, but two main types caught my attention. Both are mashers, but one is shaped - called a petal puller - and the other is intended to leave a pattern - the fishbone mashers. The leave a raised pattern on the glass that is reminiscent of a fishbone - you know, the cartoony spine and ribs - or a leaf vein pattern. She must have then decided it would be good to have the same thing oriented in the other direction, like a feather instead of a fish bone. These are called, logically enough - featherbone.

Shown here are the featherbone mashers. They come in Large, medium, and fine.

I personally like these for making leaves, as it works with the way I make leaves, which is to make a gather, mash, and that rounded bottom end of the gather is now the top of the leaf, and the part that pulls out to a point and is still attached to the rod - that is the point of the leaf. I seem to be doing it the reverse of everyone else - but that would be normal for me.

How to Use 'em

Karen Leonardo has videos of how to use them on her website - www.justleonardo.com. Whatever you do - do NOT go to this website using Firefox. MSIE works - Firefox and Chrome do not. The videos just won't play in Chrome, but in Firefox - they all load automatically and start to play - so there are a half dozen versions all talking to you at once. It is quite frightening. ;-)

They are useful to watch, however.

Karen suggests using a small amount of beeswax as a lubricant on the tools. Small amount that is - and I have no idea about small. Let me just say - I have bee's wax on my graphite marver, the torch marver, the torch, and some of the glass - oh and it burns quite nicely.

To use these - make a gather of glass, and let it stretch a little. In her video's Karen mashes with the tool, and then pulls off the leaf from the rod and drops onto a hot plate.

When I make them, I let the gather droop, flatten it first with flat mashers, pulling it slightly to elongate, then reheat and press with the pattern mashers. At that point - it is still attached by a narrow piece of glass to the rod. I heat the rounded end and a rod of glass and make the loop, and then warm a pair of tweezers to hold them with while I melt through and disconnect from the rod.

I'm sure that there are many different approaches to using these, and they all work better or worse depending on your own personal style. I did find that if I did not pre-flatten - while I got a deeper and more dramatic pattern - I had to let the glass and the tools cool significantly before the would release from each other. And with the fine tool - it just took too long - the glass either would not release or was breaking. With the fine tool - eventually I had to give up straight mashing and pre-mash. I believe I am working larger than she shows in the video however. What a surprise!

You can see how the three sizes look comparatively from the photo.

I think the medium and large sizes are the best for my own working style.

I did notice some quality control issues. Most of them come together flat like this, but

one set had mis-aligned plates like this. I'm not sure that it is a big deal and makes much difference. By the time you have squished the glass - I'm not sure that you will actually notice any irregularity in the pattern. Still - it's not really the sort of thing you want to notice when the tools arrive.

Here's another observation on the way the tools come together - and again, it may be completely irrelevant. The paddles are welded onto tweezers for handles. They are fairly flexible, and, as you've probably observed by now - anything that uses this approach is only ever parallel in one place in the squeezing process. Hence the appeal of the "Truly Parallel Mashers."

It occurs to me to wonder if, when mashing the glass deeply - as the glass moves up into the gaps that make up the pattern, if there is some bending of the glass (to accommodate the changing arc of the mashers) that is making it hard to get the glass off the mashers after it cools and stiffens.

Or, if the scale of it is all just too small to make any difference.

Maybe I'm over squeezing. Anyhow - I have more success with the medium and larger ones. And I do like them - They make lovely leaves in next to no time.