Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Raven Sky = Sardonyx

Raven Sky - totally looks like Sardonyx.

These are a black base, roughly encased with Raven Sky, some with a trail of white, and mashed.

For comparison - here's what the real deal looks like. Less blue, but the shading of the banding is a nice match. 

As to why I'd want to imitate a fairly inexpensive stone with my expensive time ... ? Because it's cool, that's why.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Effetre 758 Raven Sky

Effetre Raven Sky - a streaky very dark colour that looks like Sardonyx (the stone) when worked. I really like this colour - despite it looking very dark in these photos - it is much more obvious in real life. Black and white and grey streaks.

I can totally see doing entire jewelry pieces in this - using it like you would a stone bead, but in shapes, or in sculptural pieces.

Anyhoo - I like this one a lot.

Those photos aren't actually out of focus by the way - it's just such a glossy glass!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Comparison Effetre: 739 Bonnie Blue, 738 Capri, 227 Caribbean Sea

A comparison of these three gorgeous streaky glasses from Effetre. These are specially designed rods of glass constructed in layers with an opaque core, a transparent layer, and a thin opaque skin. Sure - you could make your own - but frankly - this is a much better use of your time!

The top mandrel - with the purple marker - is Bonnie Blue. The middle and bottom mandrels are Capri, and the middle mandrel has a Caribbean Sea at each end - dramatically greener.

All are fabulous!

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Effetre 739 Bonnie Blue

Bonnie Blue - another lovely streaky blue from Effetre - again achieved by making a cored, encased rod - much like a filigrana, but with an opaque outer layer. The core on this one seems larger than the Capri, and the overall effect is paler and a little more like Eff Light Sky Blue.

Very attractive, and I think that spacers made in either Bonnie Blue or Capri will sell like mad. You could just sit there and wind these off all night and not have to struggle or engage your brain in any way, and still have a perfectly lovely pile of beads in the morning.

And some days - you just need that.

Monday, December 23, 2013

CiM 426 Muskmelon

CiM Muskmelon - a super-subtle, desaturated green. Like a very pale sage or a - well - you can't quite call it a grey-green, but leaning that way.

Only the barest hint of a reaction with the turquoise too.

Another one of those "supporting" colours - not the main attraction - but still with an important role to play.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

CiM 714 Antique Lace

Antique Lace. I believe CiM is trying to make an ivory - and this might be part of their quest.

If I wasn't already imprinted on the Effetre Ivories, I might have identified it as an ivory colour. Certainly - it is an "off-white." I'm just having trouble identifying which it leans - as it seems to pick up the colours from what ever is around it -  but if I had to say - slightly pinkish?

From the turquoise dots on the right hand bead, you can see that there is only a minor fuzzing at the border, not a true reaction.

So if you are looking for an ivory/bone colour that is not particularly reactive - this might be your answer!

Friday, December 20, 2013

CiM Limited Runs

As you probably know by now - CiM - Creation is Messy - has their primary line of colours - which they are committed to keeping in production all the time - and their auxiliary line - which is colours that, as they say: 

Ltd Runs are either colors we mis-melted (cannot intentionally re melt) or colors we are not committed to keeping in stock because sales are slower (in which case, we will only melt them intermittently).

Consequently - these following colours are being moved to "Ltd Run" status - which means that your supplier may run out and you may have to wait to find restock or scrounge through all your short pieces. 

511109 Bordello Ltd Run
511407 Cardamom Ltd Run
511413 Peacock Green Ltd Run
511478 Oz Ltd Run
511481 Split Pea Ltd Run
511492 Sherwood Ltd Run
511550 Chalcedony Ltd Run
511562 Ming Ltd Run
511589 Zachary Ltd Run
511742 Sepia Ltd Run
511788 Mink Ltd Run
511807 Linen Ltd Run
511915 Pink Champagne Ltd Run 

I like Chalcedony a lot - any of the translucent colours, really, and Mink - which does interesting things with silver. I will have to stash some of these two. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Effetre 738 Capri

Eff. Capri - Streaky Blue.


That is all.

That is enough.

An opaque core, transparent layer, opaque outer skin - you could slice it up for murrini if you were so inclined. Some variation in rods - but if you are loving this, it's not because you are into consistent results.

Dreamy and effortless! Love it.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Effetre 723 50 Shades

50 Shades of ... Mud.

Not really a bad colour - very organic - but you couldn't call it grey. Or Gray.

Streaky, which is nice, and really a very warm grey if you are being charitable, otherwise it's 50 Shades of Taupe.

Looks like it might get a little darker the more it is worked. Or lighter. Or something.

Monday, December 16, 2013

CiM 306 Honey Mustard

Yep - CiM Honey Mustard is just that colour - or maybe Dijoinaisse. Certainly not the virulent yellow of French's (gack!) Mustard - but a soft, warm beige. Like antique paper.

The bead on the right was not struck before going into the kiln - it was significantly lighter, but has come out of the kiln functionally the same colour as the bead on the left, so while it looks different going into the kiln, apparently it will darken up by itself.

Nice creamy organic colour. Try this for ponies or a substitute for Ivory. Don't know if it reacts with turquoise. Might be interesting to try fuming it or working with silver with it.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Effetre 752 Antique Green

Hmmm - reminds me of Copper Green. Paler - but similar family.

Oh, and look at those ivory dots on the right bead. That's some serious copper/sulphur reaction going on there.

Streaky too.

Nice - bet there are lots of reactive possibilities here.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Effetre 066 Intense Black NOT!

I was just asked to test some Eff 066 Intense Black rod - pulled into stringer - because someone was getting some odd results.

My conclusion. Intense Black this is not.

Intense Black should NOT go purple.

And black rods priced at an arm and a leg shouldn't go purple.

From the top - core of clear, layer of black, encased clear; white cylinder base, trails of black, black on ends; white base, trails of black - heat till it starts to rotate, mash. All of these show purple - this is pretty definitive - this is not intense black.
 Same beads, different view.
 And on dark ivory - there's that purple again.

If you recently bought Intense Black Rods - do a test bead before you do a production run of 30 beads, m-kay?

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Just sayin ... ;-)

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Intense Black Stringer

Intense Black - a true black. A black that is supposed to stay black. The trade-off is its higher price and that it does some funny things when reacting with other glass - particularly when given a lot of heat.

But this batch - or rather two batches - seem different.

These two are a white base - sorry, don't know which white -  but it's not Anice, with intense black dots. Batch 1 on the left (which was unpackaged) and Batch 2 on the right - which came packaged and labeled. Both have webbed quite spectacularly, and both are showing rather more colour than I expected. Both of these got a lot of heat. I noticed that the packaged Batch 2 glass is a lot softer, and melts faster - even though they were both the same diameter.
 Here, on ivory, Batch 1 on the left, Batch 2 on the right. Oddly - very little webbing - just a smidge on the left bead, and these got a lot of heat.
 This bicone tablet bead is an ivory base with the batch 2 glass streaked, heated and swirled. Again, oddly less webbing than I would have expected.
 I am really digging the Grumpy Owl image that appeared, however.

 I dunno - have I gotten rusty? Are these some subtle variant of Intense Black? Is my memory playing tricks on me?

Which is ultimately why I write this blog - so I can look stuff up on it!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

CiM 209 Alleycat

CiM Alleycat is a vibrant, opaque orange that reacts very strongly with copper-based colours. It is slightly streaky and qualifies as a happy, bright colour!

Monday, December 02, 2013

The Elements of colour

Here's a nice little article about what metals are used to colour glass. Remember - this is geared towards collectors of historical pieces. Cobalt is not used to colour modern blue glass, neither is uranium.


Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Ultimate Glass Art Creation ... The Glass Fashion Show

This is a bucket-list item. If you work glass, hot, warm or cold - at least once in your life you should attend this. Even better - would be to participate!

Going to this will make you feel like you are partying on the Riviera. Nevermore will you be awed by celebrity events. You will watch Fashion Week and the Oscars and Emmy night and Ecstasy Raves and Lady Gaga Concerts and think to yourself - "Ha! I've been to the Glass Fashion Show!"

And you might not want to put it off - because Laura keeps swearing that each one she does will be the last.  

Two years - that is long enough to make the costume. What would you do ... if you were to make a fabulous wearable art piece - in glass? Glass Corset? Cinderella Slipper Hat? Medusa Snake Dress? Crocheted Wire Ballgown with a Handmade Bead in every stitch? Think of the possibilities - then email Laura and pitch your idea! (Email address in the graphic below.)

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Photography Trick

Here's a kind of fun little trick for photographing beads outside in bright sunshine - always good for showing them off, but keeping a nice clean, uncluttered background.

It looks like I'm holding them up to the sky, right? And then messed with the exposure to get a dark sky for contrast.

Actually - I am shooting them against the backdrop of the windows of my van. The tinted side windows reflect a darker version of the sky, giving me a clutter free backdrop, with nice contrast. I was holding the beads about 18 inches away, making it easy to find a position where I am not shooting my own reflection.

Easy. And if you don't have a van with tinted windows, surely someone on the block does. Way to get funny looks from the neighbors, wandering around taking pictures of someone else's vehicle. ;-)

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Sundered Heart

Just a little eye-candy tonight. I don't get much play-time on the torch these days - heck - I don't get much time on the torch at all - so just sharing these.

The sundered heart, you may remember - is a tribute to heartbreak - pain and sorrow and having to carry on.

Kind of a heavy burden for glass.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Emergency Bead Rescue

Don't you just hate it when you spend a lot of time on a bead, and then, after it is out of the kiln, something dumb happens like you crack the end pulling it off the mandrel. Argh.

This was an flamework and enameled, sculpted goddess figure that I cracked and chipped the bottom bead hole on. I had it on my bench when I was trying to figure out what to do with some left-over 2-part epoxy clay. I fashioned a quick tail and turned the bead into a pendant, added some swarovski rhinestone scales, and the brushed gunmetal loop at the bottom was a bead that happened to match the grey glass of the bead perfectly.

In order to pull it all together, I think I might have to go back and do something at the top of the bead, but you can see, the mixed media approach has some potential for salvaging an otherwise scrapped bead!For sure I will glue a looped bail into the top to hang it from.

Two-part epoxy clay - there are various brands, Apoxie, Crystal Clay, and Ceralun (Swarovski's house brand). They are all good. My personal preference is the Ceralun - it has the nicest colour and working characteristics. Not the most colours - but the colours it has are awesome. Apoxie is my second favorite (well, my fave until I found the Ceralun), good working characteristics and a fair range of colours. Crystal Clay has more colours, but I find it a bit gooey to work with. But I'm talking subtle differences here. They are all strongly adhesive, so they stick to the glass without any additional product, and that's what is holding the rhinestones too. It cures overnight without any additional heating. Read the instruction on the box - it's dead easy to use.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Effetre 227 Caribbean Sea - Old batch vs New Batch

 Caribbean Sea is a layered colour, a transparent core with an opaque outer layer. The result is a lovely, streaky look when worked. The more you work it, the better it looks.

The new batch is a little different, so I tried them side by side. One end of the bead is the old batch, and one end is the new, BUT, I'm sorry, I lost track of which was which.

But they are both really pretty. If you love blues and greens, you'll love this glass - whichever batch you get! 

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Effetre Ebony & Ivory

Just a quick note - find this glass and buy all of it that you can!

This is Ebony and Ivory, and appears to be layered rods of ivory and intense black. There are different batches of it - I think I might have gotten some "D" batch.

It is freakin' awesome - it looks like - well - check out the photo, which I shot on my phone because I was so excited about these - it looks like silvered ivory.

No idea how long this will be available or if it will be a regular item.

Get this. Stockpile it. You've been told! Freakin' Awesome!

Monday, September 30, 2013

Pot-Melt - using Ceramic Dams

In the past - I've been asked about "something about using a flowerpot to melt glass ... . " This is the technique.

The calculation he gives for quantity is really interesting, and the end result would look totally amazing sliced into thin layers and turned into pendants, or wrapped around a bead like an encasement layer. Or even bent into bracelets ...

If you are using ends of rods, you can toss them in, or arrange them standing upright, sorted by colour.

Having a tall enough kiln is really the biggest issue for most of us. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

And in other glassy news ... 2 D Glass

And in other glassy news - the thinnest sheet of glass ever made - by accident, of course - was photographed to reveal the arrangement of the atoms in the glass. The glass sheet is only one molecule thick - or about as thick as a plastic grocery bag. ;-)

Science still doesn't understand glass completely.

Maybe someone will invent transparent aluminum ... ?

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Room temperature glass is not a liquid

I've said this before. Glass at room temperature is a solid. It shares some interesting characteristics with fluids, but it's a solid. It is not slowly flowing and that is absolutely not why old windows are thicker at the bottom.

It's more solid than lead.

Read this:

Does Glass Flow?


 and this

A Common Misconception


Monday, August 12, 2013

Nothing New ... 2000 year old technique

Just in case you thought silver in beads was something new ... Analysis of Ancient Beads from Germany dating from 30 - 60 AD, shows a layer or silver, encased with more glass.

Click on the link to read the original article.


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Thoughts on Scum on beads

Recently - I got a phone call from someone who has just set up a her own home studio. Naturally - she is enjoying the freedom to torch when ever she wants, the luxury of not having to tidy up (as opposed to a shared, commercial studio), and the instant (well, almost) gratification of being able to see her beads as soon as the kiln has cooled down.

However, what she was not enjoying was that instead of the sparkling little gems that she was used to making, each bead, though perfectly formed and the envy of many - was a little dull, a little lifeless. Close inspection - with magnification - revealed a faint, subtle but visible, scum over the transparent glass, with a little pitting. She was at her wit's end trying to figure out what was happening. We discussed gas to oxygen ratios, her concentrator, the difference between natural gas and propane - adjusting the flame - nothing seemed to be the solution.

Finally - I said I would drop by  and take a look at the set up - to see if I could diagnose it in person. When I got there, she told me, "well - this is embarrassing - I fixed it."

And indeed - the latest crop of beads were sparkly and delicious.

What changed?

She changed to a fresh tank of propane.

That was it - the only difference.

So next time you are struggling with scum - consider your fuel source. Maybe a new tank of propane is in order?

Couldn't hurt.

Friday, July 05, 2013

Delightful Glass Blowing video

This is an absolutely delightful video of production glass blowing.  From another time. When glass blowers lit their cigarettes off the glass ...

Worth watching.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

How It's Made: Millefiore Paperweights

How It's Made - a Canadian "reality" show - is one of the best things on television!

Here, they show millefiore paperweights.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CiM 711 & 712: Cookie Dough and Hazelnut Mousse Comparison

Cookie Dough, as I mentioned a few days ago, looks a bit greenish, and Hazelnut Mousse more creamy.

On the left, the Mousse, and on the right side of the bead, the Dough. Here, you can easily see the greenish tone to the Dough.

And with the rods - Dough on the top, Mousse below. The difference is more obvious in the bead than on the rod - which look very similar.

Interesting colours. Definitely warrant more investigation.

Monday, June 17, 2013

CiM 712: Hazelnut Mousse

CiM 712, Hazelnut Mousse, a warm, pale cafe au lait colour - almost an ivory, but a little warmer than the colour (from Effetre) that we have come to know as ivory.

I'm sure this one bears more experimenting with.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

CiM 711: Cookie Dough

CiM 711 Cookie dough - a taupey beige colour, with a hint of green to it.

Two self coloured beads. Just a hint of green. A strange colour - wonder if it is like opal yellow or stone ground. Need to try with silver. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

CiM 521: Eventide

CiM 521 Eventide is a nice, dark, transparent grey. Transparent grey is generally a lovely colour to work with - and this is no exception.

I wish there was a colour that is the colour that transparent grey is when it is hot though, that lovely purple. Now that would be a colour to have!

The two on the left, self-coloured, and the one on the right, over white.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

CiM 713: Nutmeg Ltd Run

CiM 713 - Nutmeg - is an opaque peach colour - appears to be similar to Coral - it goes dark grey when hot.

On the left, self coloured bead, on the right, dots of Eff. Light Sky Blue. 

The rod has a bit of shimmer to it, so it looks different colours depending on the angle, so that's why the beads look lighter than the unworked rod in one picture, and darker in the other.

There appears to be a slight reaction between the turquoise dots (right bead) and the Nutmeg (which also happens with Effetre Coral.

Nice warm colour - could work as a skin tone or for dog or horse beads.

Sunday, June 09, 2013

CiM 442: Aloe Juice

CiM 442 - Aloe Juice. And Juicy Aloe is exactly what it looks like. A lovely medium transparent green that is not too yellow - a peridot green if you will. Nice.

On the left, two self coloured spacers. Next, over white. (And an all-white marker bead on the end.)

Very juicy.

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Leaf Masher - Finally figured it out.

Here's another tool that I've had kicking around for years - and I finally figured out what to do with it. A shout out goes to Deb M - I'm pretty sure I stole this idea from you - although that's not what I thought at the time! Naturally.

You saw the bell flower bead press flowers? Well - similar idea. Stainless steel wire, ball of hot glass, mash.

Instant leaf!

Some people are making these as headpins, but you know, when I make them, they are more like "as-big-as-my-head pins."

I actually wore one of the flowers and one of the leaves in my hair. Just poked the wire into my updo, and they stayed there all day. Kind of cute, I thought.

 This is the wire I used. I have since experimented and found that the smaller gauges work very well too.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Flower Press: Part 2

Apparently - I should not speculate that something is a one-trick pony, because, dammit - it makes me go out and look for other uses.

What else could a Bell Flower be? How about a fairy skirt?

(Excuse the photos - I washed my photo cube today and it's still not set up again.)

 This lil' gal is a 3 bead person. The skirt is a bell flower headpin - the torso is it's own bead - strung on the headpin, and the head is also it's own bead.

I think she's pretty adorable. And I don't normally "do" adorable.  ;-)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Fabulous New Toy: Carlo Dona Bead Press

Not getting as much torch time in as I would like, but here is a little indulgence I got myself.

Ta da!

What is it, you ask? Well - it makes these:

It is a flower press. A Carlo Dona flower press. Like all Carlo Dona tools, it is ridiculously well made, and ridiculously expensive. Expensive enough to make you feel like you really have to justify it. It's rather like buying a sports car. You have to come up with the damnedest reasons to justify it. 

 But it's sooooo beautiful. And it does what it is designed to do, beautifully.

It is something of a one-trick pony - it makes flowers on the end of wire. That's it. A flower on a  wire. At least until I think of some other creative way to use it. But it does it so well. Who would belittle a pony for having only one trick? It's like the story of the talking dog - "He ain't so special, he never did any of those things ... ."

In a nutshell, you get a blob of glass on the end of stainless steel wire (I've been using 18 gauge stainless steel wire made by Artistic Wire)

The press has a slit in the side, and hole at the bottom of the cup. Hang your molten gather of glass downward, slip it into the slot, with the wire emerging from the now-at-the-top hole, and press the

 inner part of the press into the outer shell.
 Et voila! A little firepolish - whack in a stamen, and you're good to go.
Rolling the gather of glass in frit (before pressing) is a super nice effect too. Woohoo - finally - a use for all that frit!

If that description doesn't help - try checking out Loribeads video on youtube. I find I have better luck keeping the flower from being lop-sided by hanging the drop down, raising the whole thing up, and peering up to check that it is centred.

This is the largest size I could find - the 6 petal press. You know me - go big or go home!

Anyhoo - spring flowers! Woohoo!

Because I know you will ask - I got it here:

BeadPress.com - Easy to order, easy to pay, shipping was fast and it came extremely well packaged. No fuss, no muss. Very satisfied.