Monday, January 30, 2017

Another thought on copper green ...

A couple of days ago - I showed you this ...

And in my file of commercially made beads (which I shoot for the website over at BeadFX), I just spotted these:

There seems to be some sort of resemblance. Makes you wonder, doesn't it.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Video: Making a Bead

What does it look like to make a bead? Well - a little like this. Show this to your friends that you haven't managed to convince to come into the studio. Show it to your customers. Explain about the glass and the temperatures and the shocking. You can even explain that dots look a lot better when you make them, because I was kinda rusty doing these.

This isn't so helpful as a teaching video - but it really has a nice dramatic punch with all the non-filtered light and the gooey glass.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

CiM 874 Admantium

CiM's Admantium, a deep grey - but a warm grey - with a hint of brown, rather than a cold, blue grey.


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Effetre 219 Copper Green

Copper Green - usually used for it's reactive properties, not it's own particular beauty, which on a smooth bead - can have it looking just greasy and nasty.

Bet you never looked as it like this before. 

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Double Helix Thallo, and taking better pictures.

Generally - the primary problem with photography is the light, and getting enough of it. But in the case of iridescence or lustres or reduction effects - less might be more.

Another run at Thallo has netted me some very nice looking pieces, with a rich rainbow lustre.

The fuming of the glass from the reduction turns some of the green glass to a topaz colour - which you don't really notice in real life, but can look odd in the photos.

 This just does not accurately portray how the glass looks when you see it. It is technically accurate, but not, because that is how it is, but not how you see it.
 Time to try something different. The same exposure, with a black background reveals that cleaning black velvet is a lost cause.

But, crank down the exposure and bingo - the dust and dog hair disappears, and the glass comes to life. 
 Wowsers. Nice, eh? And when you look at these - that's what you notice, the rainbow lustre.

 So these pictures are darker, and a little moodier, but definitely more attractive.

Hmmm - that gives me an idea ...

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Mixing your own color

I needed a transparent wild-lime green - a yellowy green - and couldn't find anything in the palette that was working for what I needed to transition from one color to another. So that left me in the position of mixing my own color.

For those of you who have stumbled across this blog who do not know anything about glass, you should know that when you see glass in different colors - like on a bead - it starts in different colors. So while the painter might start out with a dozen colors of paint and mixes them into hundreds of hues and thousands of shades - the glass artist has to start with hundreds of colors, and then, with some luck, rely on layering transparents or interesting chemical reactions. One does not simply "mix ones own colors."

However - I needed a transition color - so this is a blend of a transparent yellow Laucha colour that is generally quite tolerant of being worked without developing too much opacity, and the transparent version of the Effetre Kiwi.

I encase the end of the rod of Kiwi with the yellow, for about 2-3 cm - as much as I can without losing control of the kiwi from heating, using around the world encasing. I then make the item - which is why they tend to be simple, because at that point, I'm out of glass. I am pleased that this rather inexact method is giving me fairly consistent results, a nice key-lime green.  Which makes a nice transition from the pieces in the yellow to the pieces in the kiwi - so it's not like the color choice was particularly tricky. ;-)

But other than melting the encasing down, I'm not particularly stirring or pushing the colors together - which I have done in the past. Which works, but adds a great deal of time to the process.

Maybe it's not fair to call this blending - it's just encasing, but encasing before you make the piece instead of after. If you were to use this on a bead, it could enable you to make smaller beads in a blended colour, because you could go smaller than two layers of encasing.

Anyway - it's one more tool in the toolbox of choices.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Effetre 023 Mosaic Green

This is one of those colors that lurks in your stash, waiting to be rediscovered. The reason that it is particularly effective at lurking is that it looks like rods of black. And you think - oh, a stash of black (if you have lost the label) - and then you use it, and blammo - not black.

Which may or may not mess you up. 

You see the green as it cools when you are working it - so it doesn't come out of the kiln a complete surprise. The rods might be all black, or they may have some green streaks. It is a creamy, soft color to work - which is your first indication that you do not have a black on your hands.

It is, apparently, a copper-laden green - judging from the red patches of reduction that can form accidentally if you are not working in a balanced flame. 
 And it doesn't alway convert fully to green, with some areas staying quite dark. I have not yet successfully figured out if this is a function of heating, whether I can control it, or if it is due to heterogeneity in the glass (uneven mixing).
 If you reduce it deliberately (cool, reheat in the tip of a low oxygen flame) - you get a rather interesting antique copper lustre, reminiscent of some of the Devardi glass photos. (I tried the devardi glasses - never got the results.) However - these went into the kiln with extensive, all-over reduction, and came out with mere traces - so whether that is the glass, or just my reduction eating kiln, I'm not sure.

Fun, eh? Lovely little color, this one.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Double Helix Skylla

Double Helix Skylla - I had a fair amount of success getting gorgeous colors - but I'm still not sure that I have the process really nailed.

This piece - I did not put in the kiln. (And it cracked.) This is freakin' awesome. This is the back.  This I would be happy with to get on a consistent basis.

And this is the front - with the spiral pressed into it. The back is nicer. I left this one out of the kiln to see if I would get different results from the ones that I annealed. (As I have been finding that with the reduction glasses.) (FWIW - for this striking glass - I can't see any difference between the annealed and the unannealed - that I can lay at the doorstep of annealing, anyway.)

My basic approach was to get it melted to clear, so hot that it was drippy and out of control. I would then make the whatever I was making, let it cool to no-glow-at-all, and then strike it gently in the edge of the flame. This worked fabulously as you can see above. However, because I was heating it gently - I never got enough heat into it to firepolish out the chill marks from the mashing - and that makes me crazy!

Here is a the grouping, you can see I got quite a variety! The rods themselves are a light tawny brown. When heated to clear - it is a slightly greenish clear that you get.

And the rods do hint at the possible colours.

With this style of piece, there is less opportunity to get it so hot. There is a lot of colour there - too bad about the mud puddle in the middle.

The other side is nicer.

This one, I didn't strike at all - I just put it in the kiln a greenish transparent. You can see, it struck on it's own, but mostly it's just black.

Double Helix says of Skylla:

Skylla is a silver striking and copper ruby glass. The silver strike produces bright blues, purples and teals while the copper ruby produces reds when applied in thin layers all the way to black if thickly applied. (See above!) Skylla has several improvements over our previous silver/copper striking colors. The colors are brighter, the reset is complete, the nucleation is heterogeneous and the copper ruby is redder.
For best results follow the striking sequence; Reset in a hot flame, Cool until the glow fades, Reheat at the tip of the flame.

This was made the same as the first above - but kilned. I would venture to say that this shows a nice example of the Copper Ruby. 

Again - not enough heat during striking to polish out the chill marks.

And backlit.

This one is quite opaque. And more of the light sagey green.
and the flip side.
Blobs (I won't dignify them with the word "dots") of clear - it does brighten and lighten the colours.
And the other side. Could be useful for saving a very dark piece.

Don't know what happened to this one. Maybe I over struck it.
And the other side.
This one has a base of clear, and the Skylla, and a cap of clear on top. The fuchsia is nice, but why is it in a band and not all over?
And here is the back, which I frankly like better.
And this one, over white. Very dark.

Skylla, at first glance, seems capable of some extra-ordinary colours. How you work them into your bead without losing control or over-striking seems to be, as usual, the issue.

I think that I am frequently happier with the back of pieces than the front is telling me something, but I'm not sure what. Am I striking the backs less or more? I'm not sure. More testing might reveal an answer.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Double Helix Thallo

Double Helix Thallo is a medium transparent emerald green. It is a reduction glass, and Double Helix calls it a "super lustre."

I found it to be quite subtle in it's effects - although it easily produces a nice gold lustre, and some blues and purples possible.

Note - the smooth leaf shape to the left was not annealed, and appears to have retained more of it's lustre than the annealed shapes.

Significantly more reflective.

Strongly backlit. 

If you want to retain some of the character of the original colour of the glass - the green-ness - or if the very strong reduction effects overwhelm your designs, then you might appreciate the subtlety of this one.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Double Helix Melia

Double Helix Melia is a reduction glass. Double Helix says it is "a satin textured, iridescent luster glass."
They also say that is is related to Arke, Iris, and Iaso and that it has at least three types of luster effect: silver, iridescent, and a textured satin finish." 

They also say that super heating Melia will cause separation in the components, giving you striations and veining when reduced. I have observed that, but at this point, I can remember if it was with Iris or Melia - as I wasn't in testing mode at that time (i.e. writing things down.)

The unworked rod is a very attractive teal green, and the reduced items do seem to have a greenish overtone. 

 I do think it is prettier and easier to use than Iris - a little more colour to the reduction.

 Strongly backlit.

Only more usage will reveal if I continue to prefer it. 

The "textured satin finish" that they refer to - I have seen it once or twice - Usually when I am making something that I am about to encase, and so it gets encased and I don't get a chance to photograph it. Whether it would survive annealing - I don't know. I have always assumed not, but maybe I should not encase it next time I see it.