Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Carousel Ponies

I took a class with Joy Munshower back in November - which I have to  recommend. Cancelled flight, sick students, etc., I was starting to feel like the class was cursed, but it all worked out. I definitely enjoyed it, and it was totally worth it for all the insights into how she makes her beads. She was kind, generous, down-to-earth, and completely prepared and organized (even if the airline wasn't!)  If you have a chance - definitely you should take a class with her.

I'm focusing trying to make carousel ponies - I love Joy's work, but don't want to seem imitative, so I'm going for the flamboyant, exaggerated, stylistic carousel horses of the turn of the century. I've long been fascinated with the art of the carousel horse. There was an oh-so-brief moment in history when the fascination with the mechanical and the craft of the artisan stood side by side as equals - and it produced some stunning works of art - IMHO.

Anyway - here is where I am so far - these are shot "hot" before going in the kiln - and I have to say - I like some of them a lot less once they come out. (Damn those kiln fairies.) Also - the failure rate is currently above 50% - some of them are so butt-ugly (not pictured here) that I am actually just throwing them in the garbage - a completely unprecedented move. If it wasn't for wanting the mandrel back - I wouldn't even pull them.

I'm also learning that some colours don't really stay the same after an hour of flashing it in and out of the flame. My favorite so far is CiM Adobe, which, is, of course, discontinued. Figures.

Anyway - it's a process.

Just remember - when someone asks you how long it takes to make a bead, the answer is "time at the torch" + "number of years of practice."

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Fire Lotus is back

After a lengthy break - Trautman is again making COE 104 Fire Lotus. Hallelujah!

Fire Lotus is the one of the easiest to get reliable purples out of -  heat it to clear, let it cool, strike in the flame.

Hello Fire Lotus, I've missed you. Welcome back.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Effetre 765 Rooster Tail

This is a super cool looking rod - but not quite sure what to do with it yet.

The rods are striped with colour, and each one is different, and different diameters - the top rod is about 10 mm, the next one pictured is more like 6. (This is the one I used.)

The effect is pretty cool when looking at it up close like this,  but the overall effect is pretty dark. I don't think it will stand on it's own - but good make a cool background for something else.

 See  - like staring into the bands of Jupiter. I encased this - hence the bubbles. I did find the Rooster Tail boils a little if you work it hot.
 Any attempt to do anything other than just lay it down results in mud-mixing - not pretty. The base of it appears to be a super dark garnet red - which you can just barely see here - indicating that using it with silver glasses might get you some unexpected and potential ugly results.

 Sort of a novelty glass, as far as I can see, but I might be missing something fundamental.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Pink that Doesn't React with Silver!!!!!!

Look at this! This is Double Helix Rhea, over silver foil! 

Every new lampworker tries, at some point, to make a pink bead using Effetre Rubino Oro (Ruby Gold) over silver foil - to their sorrow. They then learn to encase the silver foil in clear or pale blue, and then put the rubino on top - because Rubino is tricky - it reduces to an ugly dull lead colour if the oxygen is even slightly low, and it reacts with silver and looks like mud.

But after a conversation a few weeks ago with Jed at Double Helix - he told me in passing that because Rhea is made with a different formula - it would not react with silver. "Holy crap," I said - "that means I can layer it over silver foil."" I guess," he replied, "I never tried."

So here it is - still hot and headed into the kiln - I haven't seen them cold yet - but here it is. A base of crappy Effetre clear, rolled in silver foil, and encased directly in Rhea.

Attempt #2 - base of black (CiM Hades), encased in Rhea (with a few spots and swipes of Zephyr, because I ran out of Rhea - it's a big bead! 

So - all of you who wanted pink over silver foil - here you go - this is it!

Thursday, November 30, 2017


Stumbled across this photo I took in a class with Lucio Bubacco. Can you believe how delicate he gets those fingers?

That is soft glass folks.

Mind boggling.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

DIY Photo-Chromatic Boro

I stumbled across this video on youtube. It's pretty technical, but utterly fascinating. This dude is talking about making batches of photochromatic boro glass. Melting the chemical and making glass from scratch.

Some of the stuff he talks about is stuff that we've learned from working with glass and come as second nature - other things he talks about are - well - just plain cool. I have never thought of glass as corrosive - but I wouldn't have put the ingredients into a mold, heated it up, and expected it to come out. However - I did not know that glass doesn't stick to platinum. (And I was unlikely to find that out by accident ... ).

I've had to watch it multiple times to get my head around some of it.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Effetre 764 Martini Olive

A nice, new green from Effetre, Martini Olive is a streaky opaque with super creamy handling. It melts nice and handles beautifully. It has slightly yellowish overtones, and would be a nice background colour or foliage colour.

You can see from the layers in the rod why it is streaky! 

It reacts with turquoise (copper/sulfur), not with ivory - and does bleed a little - pretty normal for a soft, opaque colour. This bead is a base of clear (to extend the rod), encased in Martini Olive, trailed with Dark Sky Blue, dots in ivory, topped with dots in Martini Olive again.

 Some nice patterning, and you can see that the copper/sulfur reaction is crisp in some place, and diffuse in others.
 A nice varied green leaf.
For sure - I can see lots of uses for this one.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

515nqr from Striking Color

A single rod of this landed on my desk - which is fairly amazing, as it appears to be next to impossible to buy.

Pale, transparent green as an unworked rod - it strikes easily to purples and blues on amber base.

I like it - I'd buy it - if it was buyable.

You can try and track down this glass yourself. I suggest stalking and pouncing at the slightest activity

on Facebook


Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Double Helix - Notos Revisited

I reviewed Notos a while back, but I thought I'd have another look at it, because, you know, I work
differently now; plus, I forgot what it looks like. ;-)

Double Helix says this about Notos:

Notos is a silver saturated super-luster with a subtle blue-grey-green tone.  This color is an enhanced, stronger lustering version of  OK-455, which proved very popular at the 2011 ISGB Gathering.  Reduce and encase with Zephyr for cool blue tones, and with Aether for soft green tones.  Repeated, gentle reduction can yield pink iridescent lusters.

Notos is, in fact, a pale slate blue colour in the unworked rod, and while that makes it easy to identify in the pile of high-silver glasses, you might accidentally leave it on the desk thinking that is was just a light blue-grey.

 It reduces, when cooled first, to a rich, warm yellow amber with hints of rainbow. The fuming from the silver makes the unreduced areas turn green, and the yellow colour overlays the blue.

 For comparison, Notos on the top, and Aion2 on the bottom. While you can talk about both of them being an amber lustre, the Aion2 is much more golden and the Notos is more of a dark honey with stirred-in dragonflies.

Friday, November 10, 2017

More thoughts on identifying mystery rods

Ah - those mystery rods of glass. You were sure you would remember - so of course, there is no label!

For the transparent rods, clear and very pale colours, sight down the length of the rod at a bright light - lightbulb, fluorescent fixture - whatever ya gots - and check the colour you see at the end of the rod. It can tell you a lot.

First up here - from the Double Helix corner, is  handful of Aion2. Looking through the rods at the light, it looks pretty clear, so that's no particular help.

These rods also appear clear - there is no trace of unexpected colour in the light showing at the end. This is Zephyr - the clear of choice for many.

Here, however, are clear rods with a decided aqua colour when viewed end on. This is Aether - another clear from Double Helix, but it responds differently to the silver glasses. The difference between the Zephyr and the Aether is quite striking. Knowing this - you need never get these two mixed up again!

Remember this trick when you have very light transparent rods that you want to positively ID. It is particularly useful for very pale batches of unstruck rods of striking colours like the Effetre Electric Yellow, Orange, and Striking Red. Just sight down the barrel of the rod ... 

Wednesday, November 08, 2017

Identify that glass: Aion2

The label came off (or it never had one) and you have some of that expensive striking or reducing high-silver glass from TAG or DH or somewhere and now you're scared to use it because it was expensive and you don't know which one it is.

OK - if it crystal clear, it might be Zephyr, Aether, or Aion2.

Zephyr and Aether are both actually clear. Zephyr is the clear of choice for encasing, and Aether is a little different and will make a difference if you are encasing silver glasses. We will tackle those later.

But, if you stick it in the flame and it goes golden yellow - you have a rod of Aion2 on your hands.

Seriously. This rod, these pieces. 


 Double Helix says this:

A silver rich color in a clear base, capable of producing blue and green fume effects and soft transparent pinks and purples. ... This new formula will replace Olympia Rain.

 In my experience - it strikes to a lovely gold / yellow luster by itself, reducing it will get you a soft purpleish luster.

Try it over black or other colours to play with the transmitted vs reflected light aspect.

This is an easy, unfussy glass to use.

Monday, November 06, 2017

CiM 728 Canoe revisited

I wanted to check out some more of the reactive (or not) properties of CiM  Canoe.

In this case - I wanted to see what it did with the other reactive colours - turquoise and ivory, and how it faired with silver.

This bead is a transparent grey base (to save glass, as I didn't have much Canoe on hand), covered with Canoe, and then trails of light ivory and turquoise.

At the time it went into the kiln - I noted strong black areas - but I think that might have just been the Canoe while it was hot. You can see typical turq/ivory (copper/sulfur)  reactions. The Canoe bleeds into the ivory and turq, but doesn't form a dark line.

 This one is a base of clear (to stretch the glass), encased in Canoe, EDP on the left, and silver foil on the right. (Heat, mash, firepolish)

There are some interesting things going on around the EDP. You could probably get some interesting effects with making twisties from these two colours.

 The Canoe has fumed darker around the silver - so using it with some of the high-silver glasses could be interesting too.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Vetro 910

A chance conversation while browsing in Nortel the other day led me to revisit Vetro 910. I first reviewed it many years ago - hmm - I think I may have lost track of how long I have been doing this - anyway - I was investigating yellows and it was part of my comparison.

Anyway - the conversation was about Vetro 910 and how it looked green over black - probably due to an optical effect - rather than a chemical reaction between the glasses.

As Vetro 910 is a yellow that goes a goes a cooked squash colour - I thought this warranted investigation.

The rod itself appears to be a transparent with a core and an outer skin. I don't know what happens if you slice it up as murrini, however.

 When you wind off some self-coloured spacers - you get this - streaky cooked squash.

Trails of it over black, (Hades, I think) - give you this, however. Interesting, no?  Lots of webbing too.
 A lot of the webbing disappeared, and so did a lot of the vetro 910!
 This tablet with wider streaks of V910 show more of the webbing effect.

 It might be more interesting to make the base bead in V910 and trail black on it. This bead - the trails were very thin - the webbing was spectacular (when it was hot) and the black has eaten pretty much all the V910.

Ah - the nice safe, security of making my monochromatic bits on wire - no worries about colours playing nice together and I can just enjoy the streakiness!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

CiM 911 Venus - over Silver foil

CiM Venus - as I suspected, turns silver foil to a golden hue. Actually - more of a rose gold or a bright copper appearance. As with encasing silver foil - do your best to keep the encasing cool and keep the silver foil out of the flame until it is completely covered.

Very pretty.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

CiM 911 Venus

CiM Venus reminds me exactly of Effetre 068 - a pale transparent pink that comes out a salmony rosaline after heating.

The Effetre is famous for it's ability to turn silver foil into a rich gold colour when encasing it, so the first thing I would suggest is to try that.

You can see here, there is a significant difference in colour from the rod and the worked glass.

I did notice it forming small bubbles too, although not as pronounced as Siren. 

Definitely need to try it over silver foil.