Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Colour Illusion

Not really a beady post - but a wonderful example of "colours may not be as they appear"

Check out this article on the effect of adjacent colours - specifically amazonite/seafoam/turquoise green next to orange vs magenta.

How cool would it be to pull this off in a bead?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Colour I'd Like to See

Hello - anybody out there making new glass colours and looking for inspiration?

Here ya go. Magenta. I'm sure that I am not alone in wanting a super-saturated opaque magenta.

Not just a red purple - but capital M Magenta. As in the three primaries in printers' ink (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow - CMYK - the 4th colour is the Key colour - generally black. How's that for trivia? )

The pic on the left is the a pair of pliers, and the wristband from the GAS wrap party - Glass Artists Society - that I was at - geez it was only two weekends ago. It seems like a lot more now! Anyway - I thought it looked like an awesome colour - and it looked fabulous w my turquoise beads - and I don't have anything remotely like that colour.

So - Magenta please. I'm sure others would agree!

Vote with your comments!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

CiM 569 - Smurfy

Apparently - someone at Creation is Messy shares my love of kids' cartoons. Either that or they have kids - which is probably more likely. Can we expect to see Barney the Dinosaur Purple anytime soon? "I love you - you love me - I'm going to eat your family."

This is an obvious turquoise - so I thought I would see if it does all the usual things that turquoise does.

It is a little streaky - but developed very little of the kiln induced "rash" - the silvery/lead coloured wash that develops on the Effetre turquoise after you put it in the kiln (which, btw - you can remove by soaking your annealed beads in CLR - Calcium Lime Rust remover - for 10-30 minutes. Or all week if you soak it in Coca Cola. Because at this point - someone is sure to point out that you can use Coke. Go buy some CLR and leave the Coke for drinking. Mine you - if that's what it does - why do you want to drink it?)

Anyhoo - in this regard - Smurfy is more like the Lauscha turquoise.

And, like the Lauscha turquoise - it is very reactive with ivory - more so than the Effetre.

Love that grey line that develops between the copper colours (opaque turq-blues and greens) and the sulphur colours. (Ivories and yellows.) (With a few notable exceptions. ) Have loved this effect from day 1 of lampworking. Some of my earliest beads were ivory and turquoise.

Another turquoise trick is to make it go brick red. For this, turn down your oxygen and work the bead from the start in a soft, bushy flame. Not so far as a reduction flame, just fuzz up the candles a little by turning down the oxygen.

This is a good indicator colour too - if you get red on your turquoise - you aren't using enough oxygen in your flame!

So - this is a Smurfy nice colour - very smurf-errific.

Smurf on!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CiM 570 - Grumpy Bear

Grumpy Bear is a Care Bear - He's blue. And so - this is Grumpy Bear blue. But there's nothing to make you grumpy about the colour. This is a lovely, well-behaved blue.

It is slightly streaky - see the close up of the two beads on the mandrel by themselves. It reminded me of Effetre Periwinkle - and you can see, in the blue on blue spotted spacer - that the base colour is Grumpy Bear, and is a little darker than the Effetre Periwinkle spots on top. That blue on blue is a nice effect, btw.

The other dot bead is Effetre Light Ivory on Grumpy Bear. A little bleeding/fuzzing at the edges, but not much.

Very pretty blue.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Raku Frit

Raku Frit - also known as Iris Orange - is probably one of the most used and most written about frits from the furnace glass world. Not sure that I can add much to that body of knowledge - so I'll just recap what I consider to be the most obvious features:

  • It looks dramatically different on different colours. Try it on black especially, and on ivory.
  • Rapid cooling brings out the colours - so a bead design that is mashed is particularly effective.
  • It does reduce - sometimes too dramatically - and may not be attractive.

OK - here are some of my test pieces.

Raku on Ivory (Vet 204).

Raku on Triton, reduced - Dragon's Breath. Dig the silver edges to the dots.

Raku on black, not reduced.

Raku on Ivory, mashed. Front and back of bead.

Yep - that really is an ivory base - check the far left side of the bead. The black apparent base is the reaction between the raku and the ivory.

Some nice colours here.

This cylinder is Light ivory on the left, black on the right,
roll in silver foil, melt in
add raku, marver, melt out the chill marks.

Also some nice colours.

And finally - this monstrosity - which looks convincingly like granite - is:

raku frit
silver foil, melt in
raku frit
Triton goobers
silver wire, melt in

Sometimes, all the work just doesn't get you any where. ;-) meh.

PS - in Canada - email Jean at Nortel for the Raku frit. In the US - try Frantz. It is also known as Iris Orange.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Blooooo. What a beee-yooo-ti-ful shade of blue. And such a b_tch to reproduce on a computer monitor.

This is very similar to the Effetre Medium Lapis in colour, and also in other characteristic. It is a medium, opaque cobalt blue, and looks lighter on the monitor than it does in real life.

Slightly streaky, and the bead on the left is slightly darker in real life. The glass gets a little darker if you shape it and then work it w/o reheating to molten. The bead on the right I had to reheat to flowing as it needed to be rounded up again.

Dotted with light ivory. You can see there is a little bleeding of the colour - but it's not too bad.

This bicone is streaky, and is a little burned. In fairness, I think I had the oxygen just a shade too low, but I also marvered it with a graphite paddle - and I know from experience that the Effetre Lapis hates graphite.

Apparently - this glass doesn't like it much either.

This bicone was made with a bit more oxygen and marvered with a brass stump shaper instead. The colour is much clearer and has none of that smokey black trail.

Beautiful colour - CiM Cornflower. Stay on the slight oxidizing side, and keep your graphite tools away from it.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Fine Silver Bead Core - Holy C**p, it works

A friend - knowing my interest in cored and lined beads - brought me back some fine silver cores and associated findings from Bead and Button. Imagine my surprise to learn that the point was to make the bead ON the core - hot - not to add it to the bead after!

So I dipped some mandrels and jammed the cores onto the wet bead release - this worked surprisingly well. I made sure that the bead release didn't get splashed up over the end onto the core (on the one that did - I wiped it away while it was wet) - but I wasn't too worried about it on the ends. I dried them flat - wasn't sure that they wouldn't slide if I stood them upright.

I was really worried about melting the fine silver - after all - look at what happens to fine silver foil when you hit it with the flame. Poof! Melted into the surface of the bead.

So I did step down the heat by switching to my top-fire mega-minor (mounted on the top of my midrange) - so as to work cooler. I also let the bead release dry overnight - rather than attempting to flame dry that big cone of bead release that backs up behind the core when you push it on.

BTW - I jammed them on 1/8 inch mandrels - that seemed to be the best fit for size - the next size up that I have was too big.

I googled the melting point of fine silver, and found this rather elegant table, and that silver melts at 1761 degrees F - so actually above the point at which we work the glass. This came as a surprise, but hey - now I know.

My biggest fear was that it would be hard to get them to flow and round out - without melting the silver core.

I started with some dichro - because, well - 1) I was going to be working cool, and 2) even an off-round dichro bead is a pretty bead, and 3) - it's me you're talkin' to here!

I warmed the bead release and the core a little - and went to lay down some glass. I discovered that I hadn't warmed it enough - as the glass did not want to stick to the metal - so I just kept warming it a little more until it did stick.

The first one went down a little wonky - I tried really hard to push the glass into the angle between the flare wall and the tube - and didn't get it entirely there. So after laying down the first couple of wraps - I gave it a little more heat and marvered it to push the glass out to the flare. This worked, and I then added another wrap to make it a rounder shape again.

I then realized that even if I didn't get it smack up on the end - it's not like it's going to fall off, and I was apparently not melting the silver - so perhaps this was going to work after all.

So I got more confident with each one - in the photo of the 4 mandrels together, they are, from the top, Numbers 3, 2, 4, and first in the sequence that I made them. You can see by the fourth, I was getting a little more adventurous - I thought I'd try some ivory - wrapped some silver wire on to it, and then melted it in, and marvered it to shape.

Way cool - I kept thinking - this actually works!

When I pulled them off the mandrel the next day - there was bead release, of course, in the hole - which I realized I did not want to take the bead reamer/dremel combo to - as I didn't want to scratch the heck out of the silver - so I used a stiff brush. Note to self - some sort of round, stiff brush would be ideal here.

In examining them, it became clear that I had gotten the silver quite hot in some places, as the metal surface texture was no longer as smooth and the profile of the flare had changed a little. See top left vs bottom right for the clearest illustration of that.

However, they still looked fairly decent - although in this brutally honest picture - you can see that they are not perfectly round. Ah well, c'est la bead.

pull off mandrel - bead release - didn't want to grind - used brush and scraper. Didn't tumble, but probably can. Instead - used foredom and polishing point to polish. Hang on earring finding and voila - done. Matched pairs easily - as the width is controlled.

Here's no 2 again, still on the mandrel.

Very nice. Must try this with a light, transparent dichro!

And no 3 - you can see - it didn't take long to get the hang of it!

And here are the finished earrings, hanging on the fat little flared posts of the interchangeable earrings.

I did hit them with a polishing point on the Foredom to bring back the shine that I cooked off - and I probably could have worked a little harder at that - but I just used the rubber cone with the impregnated polish to buff them up.

Earrings are a logical choice to make with these, as you are making beads that pretty much have to come out similar in size - due to controling the width. (Which - is a hint for those of you trying to make similarly-sized beads. Use a Sharpie(tm) to mark your dried bead release into regular lengths before you start - to get consistently-sized beads. Yes - a Sharpie brand permanent marker will draw on bead release - and stay visible after heating long enough to be useful. No idea what they make the ink with, but it's amazing stuff.)

These cores and findings are available from Metal Clay Findings now, and I'll go and nag someone in Canada into carrying them too, so I can get a steady supply of them!

Of course - this all taps into the whole Pandora/Troll/Biagi/etc. mania that I keep seeing - with boutiques selling single spacer size beads for $35 - $85 and Chinese manufactures selling them for $20/kilo.

There are "threaded" cores available too - the Pandora bracelets have threaded ends so that if you drop it - all the beads don't fall off and scatter.

So I believe these are sized to fit that style of jewelry. Next time I see one, I'll double check.

Anyway - I was completely, and delightfully surprised that this worked. Work it cool - and you'll be fine! I'm sold!