Sunday, October 28, 2012

Just for fun: Obsidian + Silver

Another, just for fun, eye candy sort of a post. These beads are a core of CiM Obsidian, a layer of fine silver, melted in,  reduce, and encase with clear.

 This one has spirals pressed into the clear. There is also a cubic zirconia in there.

This one had some fine silver wire as well, just for fun.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Double Helix Terranova

Either the search function on this blog is not working worth 5h1t, or I haven't reviewed Terranova before. Which strikes me as weird. Cuz I've been using it for a while. It's a great glass - I've been using it in the Dragon Eyes for a long time.

Anyway - I was just making some beads for fun - something that I haven't been doing very often and something that seriously needs to change - and I made these. A core of Terranova, marvered, and encased in clear.

The droopy one was deliberate, btw.

Large range of colours, purples and reds. Very dramatic. Easy to get the colour too. I like this glass a lot - can't think why I haven't talked about it before.

Or, as I said, the search function is just broken.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Experiment: Hadar's Quick Fire Clay - Rose Bronze on a Lampwork Bead

 Ha - I told you I would try the bronze as well. 

This is a metal clay product. In case you are completely new to jewelry, or have been living under a rock for a decade or so, you can buy clays that are largely metal. When you fire them, the binder clay burns off and they "sinter" and become all metal pieces. It's very, very cool. There has been lots happening in the last couple of years with non-precious metal clays being made - that can actually be afforded by mere mortals. The sky-rocketing price of silver has forced the price of the silver clays into the stratosphere, and that they are distributed by the manufacturer in a manner that is much more like multi-level marketing than it is like regular wholesale/retail process hasn't really helped either.

Anyway - I thought I would try some of this on a bead. As I did in my previous experiment - I made a core bead, rolled it in the powder, and applied heat. This one was not quite as difficult to get the bronze to stick as the copper. But the end result - well - it puts the ugh in ugly.
 For my next attempt, I did the same, base bead white, roll in powder, but I encased this one. Some cool hints of red in there! This one did not crack either.
 With the first experiment, I encased the bead and it cracked all to pieces - but just the encasing. This is the copper powder again, but not encased. When it was hot, I could see some hints of green (on the right, below the mandrel) - and while the bead did not break - lordy - it ain't purdy.

So - I tried it - meh. Not getting anything I think is worth pursuing. I can get nicer results using pieces of copper metal.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Effetre Silver #1

 Another Silver glass from Effetre! This one labeled "#1."

Again, I had no idea whether I had a striker or a reducer on my hands.

This is a core of clear, heat the #1 to clear, and encase. Cool, and strike. I thought I saw some purple on it at this stage - but it disappeared. I reduced it, and no change. I encased it in clear - no change. I mashed it, and used the spiral press.

This one is a clear core, encased in #1, cool. Heated to clear, cool. Kilned - I notice that it struck to this dark amber colour as it cooled. It has a slight haze to it, hard to spot in these photos. 
I don't know. Did I over heat it? It's a nice smokey topaz, but am I supposed to get excited over it? Maybe it would be better combining it with something that reacts with silver. Maybe trails of ivory.

Not unattractive, but rush out and stock up? Needs further research before going there!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

CiM 405: Emerald City

 Don't know how I missed this one - this is CiM Emerald City.

It's a very dark green - lovely colour once spread thin.

The two beads on the left are self coloured, the 3rd from the left is over white, and the one on the right is over clear.

Lovely shade of green - but so dark it is almost black. Use for encased stringer or other thin applications.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Effetre High Silver #4

 Looks like Effetre (Moretti) is taking a run at the high-silver or silver-saturated glasses. And why not, why should they miss out on all the fun?

This was labeled "#4" - so I don't know what the name is.

What I can tell you is that reducing it hot or cold makes a big difference!

This is a clear core, encased in #4. At this point - I didn't know if I was dealing with a striker, or a reducer. So I heated it to clear hot (mostly, anyway), and then struck it. Didn't do anything. So then I tried reducing it. It quickly developed a metallic surface. I reduced it again. Et voila!

Still checking for striking, I made the two on the left, heated to clear, then made bead, and the two on the right, I made much cooler. I struck all four, and then reduced the two on the right. Which you would never guess from the colours.

 Here, all three have a clear core, and encased with #4. The one on the left was reduced hot (while the bead is still glowing) and the two on the right were reduced cool (wait for the bead to stop glowing before introducing to a reduction flame.)

In cross section, the rod has multiple layers (rings) - so I'm not sure how that effects the colours you get either. The colours I got are interesting, but I think further practice with this one is in order to see if I can get anything brighter, less moody-broody.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Goldstone Stringer

If you make your own goldstone stringer - have you tried making it with an encasing colour OTHER than clear?

This is handmade goldstone stringer, encased in Rubino.

Who'd a thunk it?

I got this from a couple of different classes I've taken. Maybe everyone but me knew about it.

To make your own goldstone stringer, buy a chunk (or chunks) of goldstone. Select a piece about the size of a walnut, or perhaps a little smaller if this scares you.

(If your piece is too big, wrap some sturdy fabric around it, a chunk of leather is great, and put it on the floor and hit it with a hammer.)

Pop it in the kiln to warm up - you don't have to put it in a cold kiln, just put it in the kiln at your regular temperature, and let it warm up for a while. 15 mins or so - longer is ok. (I once put a piece in the kiln, forgot about it, was reminded when I emptied the kiln, left it there, forgot it again, kept doing that for a week! It was fine!)

When you are ready - punty onto the chunk in the kiln. To do this, take a nice long piece of clear, melt the end, reach into the kiln with the clear, and stick it onto the chunk. Take it out of the kiln and go to the torch. Start way out at the end of the flame, warming it.

You want to warm it enough to soften the goldstone and refine the shape before encasing, as it is probably pretty lumpy and irregular. Warm it slowly and keep it moving. Don't let it start to glow red, especially on the edges. As soon as it is soft enough to shape, squeeze it into a brick with your mashers. As it approached the right temperature to work, it will look dull and dark - but it will be soft enough to move, BEFORE it starts to flow and glow. This is important. If you get it all flowy and glowy before encasing - it will not have as much sparkle. Continue to work up in the cool, end of the flame. Patience is key here.

As soon as it is mashed into a shape that is reasonably regular and that you can encase, go ahead and encase it. As I mentioned, it doesn't have to be with clear. These pics show Rubino Oro over goldstone and it is pretty fabulous.

Once it is encased, add another punty (handle) to the opposite end, and now you can start heating. Again, the appearance of the glass will be deceiving. It will stay looking dark for a long time while you drive the heat into it. (It's ok to go for glowing now.) Be sure and wait until it is soft right through the middle before you pull - so that you get a nice, even stringer.

Don't use goldstone beads that you might find. While these are the same thing - Goldstone - you don't know if it is the same COE - if it is compatible or not.

Why make your own? Other than cost? Commercial goldstone stringer tends to be less sparkly, and of course, doesn't come in colours. It can be hard to find too. Goldstone rod - also encased, but a thicker rod - sort of like filigrana - tends to be as shocky as all get out. The flat ribbon is fabulous, but, colors, cost, etc.

So, if you have that chunk that you bought a while back, and haven't worked up the nerve to use, it's time to dig it out, warm it up, and encase it to make something fabulous!

Sunday, October 07, 2012

Nice, eh?

Nice, eh? What is it?

Not sure.

My NOTES say that it was Belladonna Aqua Splash - but I'm not seeing ANY hint of the underlying transparent aqua - so I'm not sure I believe it. Might be the wrong mandrel.

Anyway - they are pretty cool - so I thought I'd share them any way. ;-)

Saturday, October 06, 2012

Belladonna: Aqua Splash

Belladonna is a Boutique glass - just offering a few, select, specialty colours. This is Aqua Splash. It is an intense aqua colour that reduces.

These are 5 self-colored spacers - all reduced. 

This is a base of white, with stripes of Aqua Splash, then reduced. The white has fumed to a dark ivory colour. The Aqua Splash kept going muddy on my, and I had to unreduce it a number of times. Finally, I got it to reduce in a manner that I didn't hate.

It's not so much a metallic reduction as more a misty/cloudy type effect. With some hints of iridescence.

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Torch Test: Bethlehem Alpha: Second Impression

I wanted to see how the Alpha would perform with a single oxygen concentrator.  Not everyone has two of them under the table!

This is the Alpha on a single, 5 litre oxy con. While it does melt glass and make beads - I would find it frustrating to work this small.

  And here - the bead has struck - it's Rubino.

You can get a wicked sharp flame - so if 10 mm x 6 mm beads are your thang - there you go. Personally - I would be gnawing a leg off with frustration.


These were both done on the Alpha using just the 9 litre oxygen concentrator. There was easily enough heat for this small sculptural bird skull, and also enough to make the 4 rather lumpy - deliberately lumpy - spacers. My intention is to sand-blast these for an even more bone-like look.

I thought I would see how it does with boro too. For this, I turned the second concentrator on - so this is a 9 litre plus a 5 litre. I'm not sure how much difference the 2nd concentrator actually made. Anyhoo - this is a boro icicle. It's not very large - see second picture for scale - and it's not particularly wonderful, because - well - it's Boro - and I don't do boro - so what the heck do I know. But it did seem to be melting it adequately.

Overall - the Alpha pumps out a lot of heat - concentrated into a small area. The reversed controls from the Nortel torches that I am used to are annoying to me - I have to think very deliberately before turning the torch off - but that's just because of what I am used to. It has the capacity to make a very focused, tight flame, without it getting turbulent. I think this is a good choice for those interested in detail work. It really does want the bigger concentrator, though.

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Making Better Flowers & Leaves

Want to make your flowers and leaves more realistic looking? Here's a video that will give you a deeper understanding of how petals and leaves grow and form patterns.

It's not glass - but it's good stuff and anything that helps you understand the world is a good thing. ;-)

Plus, I think it's just really, really cool.