Friday, July 01, 2011

TAG Fire Lotus - a work in progress

I had another go at TAG Fire Lotus this week. I actually spent some time on the phone with Jenny at TAG - because I was struggling with it so much.

She told me to get it clear-hot in the gather before applying to the bead - and bring it down close to the torch face - down into the candles - and look for the white rectangle that forms on the bead. After that - apply the glass to the bead, shape and cool. Really cool. Once you've gotten the glass that hot - it's going to take a while. So let it cool until you're sure the bead will crack when you bring it back to the flame.

The glass will go amber once it has cooled - a pale, possibly wispy amber. But wait.Wait some more - it will go darker. Then reheat to red hot, cool again. Repeat the cooling and heating cycle for more colours.

And, she said, if it gets stuck in the "poo zone" (sh1tty brown colour) - re-heat to clear and start again. Love that. The "poo zone." Yep - know what that means!

My other question was - what should it look like when it goes into the kiln? and the answer is - it's going to come out looking like it went in. (Use a strong, local light, like a desk lamp, so that you can really see the colours, and override the effect of the heat on the colours.)

I thought I had been getting it really hot - with the mid-range - you tend to get things hot - but I was loosing control of the glass before it went clear. I was getting translucent amber with an opaque, wispy core. So - for this round - I used a mega minor and tanked oxygen for a tighter, more intense flame (that wasn't going to burn through the mandrel!)

And this time - I really did get it to clear hot. And I brought it down in the flame, and whoosh - white, opaque rectangles bloomed where the flame hit the glass at it's most intense. And I slapped it on the base bead (clear) - and then I heated it some more, and it truly did go clear. Then I let it cool. It cooled enough to crack the bead, but as it hadn't fallen off the mandrel - I kept going. It really did go amber, and then a darker shade.

Not sure how many time I cycled through the cooling and heating, but this is the bead I got. This is a clear base, Fire Lotus in the center, and black ends added.

Well, that was fairly dramatic - let's try that again. Let's have something to do while the bead cools - let's make another beside it. Hmmm - that went all wonky. Fill in the middle, mash it. Aw, heck. This is clear, with Fire Lotus, and black in the middle, and a funky shape.

Again, Fire Lotus over clear. Honestly - no idea what happened here - this looks like some sort of copper reaction. Kind of interesting.
Can we work it small? Three small spacers, made at the same time, base of clear.
Well - this is all well and good, but what can you DO with it. Let's try making a dragon eye. This is a dragon eye, the lids are Fire Lotus, with Clio dots.

Here's another, a plain one. The iris is Fire Lotus and clear - I was going to make a cabochon, but I just couldn't resist turning it into an eye, so I stuck a pupil into it (Eff. Black - bad idea. It bled. Oh well.) The lids are Fire Lotus.
This bead got away from me - I had to reheat it back to clear and the whole bead turned liquid and the Fire Lotus got mixed in with the clear in the process of rebalancing and getting the shape back. It's pretty cool - although in real life - it's quite dark.

So - better success this time. In a nutshell:
  1. Really, really heat it. Clear.
  2. White Bloom.
  3. Cool to amber,
  4. dark amber.
  5. Reheat.
  6. Cool and reheat for more colours.


  1. I had some luck heating a gather until it turned clear then pulling it as a stringer. I laid the stringer on a base of Effetre light violet and heated the snot out of it. Then I let it cool way down then reheated it just until it developed some color. Then I encased it. Encasing seemed to bring out more color.

  2. Wow - your beads are stunning. Love the colors!

  3. You are getting some great colors there, thanks for the explanation.