Saturday, February 25, 2017

Comparison - Transparent Pinks

I was struck by the sudden desire to make stuff in a tourmaline pink. When I reviewed the Double Helix RO (Rubino Oro - Ruby Gold), I compared it to the Bullseye 1342 Cranberry Sapphirine. It suddenly stuck me that the BE colour was exactly what I needed. But, of course, I had used the one rod that I had. So off to the supplier, (Nortel - which, dangerously, is only 5 minutes drive from me), and they were out. Of course.

Jean suggested I try the Effetre Veiled Rubino - which is a layered cranberry glass. The original Effetre Rubino is a layer of color over a clear core, quite intense in colour, and rather persnickety to work. The Veiled Rubino has more layers, more clear, a more accessible price point, and is rather easier to work - but not as intense in colour.

Well - I didn't think it would be right, but I said I would try. Scrounging around at home, I came across two sample packs of Bullseye, and a stash of Caliente Cranberry (not compatible with anything else I have.) I pulled out an unlabeled transparent pink rod from the Bullseye (which is not the Cranberry Sapphirine, which starts as a pale lavender blue colour. Hey-ho striking colours!) and a couple of rods of the Caliente - which are stringer thin.

OK, here we have, left to right, the Caliente Cranberry, the Bullseye whatever, and the Effetre Veiled Rubino.
And here, just the pieces, same order, L-R: Caliente, Bullseye, Veiled Rubino.  They are variations on a theme, but the Veiled Rubino, much to my surprise, is quite a bit darker. You can see also in the pic above, that the Veiled Rubino has changed the most from the original rod colour, and that there is a rod next to the worked rod with the melted tip, that is also V.R., but a very different colour. It is from the same batch, and as of yet - I have no idea whether it will prove to me a different shade or come out all the same.
 So here are the three again, (BE, Eff, Cal) plus the pony made earlier from the BE Cranberry Sapphirine. Pretty much an exact match for the Veiled Rubino. Maybe a little denser, as it is the same shade in areas that are thinner, but really - pretty effing close. So I was wrong on that.

And one last comparison - the addition of, below the pony, the Double Helix RO - which, as I said before, is a little redder. More strawberry, less raspberry.

So, in the absence of a stash of BE 1342, I can go with the Veiled Rubino. Thank you  Jean!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Effetre 069 Electric Yellow

Effetre's Transparent Electric Yellow is a striking color. Again - for those of you who have wandered into this blog by mistake and don't know what that means - it means that the glass changes colour with gentle re-heating after the initial process of heating and shaping.

Generally - when I teach, and I explain that one of the appeals of working with soft glass is that it is largely wysiwyg - and then I have to explain that transparent yellow, orange, and red are the exception to this.

At that point - they are into information overload and it doesn't stick, and it's not until the rod of light amber starts to go red at the tip that they ask "What is going on here" that it does stick.

You can see here that the unworked rods are very pale indeed. Often with the striking transparents you will be able to see just the thinnest of cores - like a tiny thread down the middle of the rod. Looking at them end-on will also help you sort them out from the other colours that you have accidentally mixed them in with. 

Anyhoo - the striking colours tend to vary oodles from batch to batch - so it really pays to approach a new package with an open mind and a sense of adventure.

Generally - I don't find that the Effetre colours need much in the way of a conscious striking process. They just strike naturally with the working process, or in the kiln after. This batch would appear to be an exception.

 These two were the first up, and I was concerned about the lack of color development. I popped them into the kiln, but as I added a few more - they weren't developing much more in the way of colour. Hmm.
 The tips of the rods, sitting, as they do, on my metal assistant (rod rack) that keeps the tips in or near the flame, were striking - so it wasn't that I had a pack of something else.

So I started making an effort to strike them. I fiddled around for a bit, and found that they needed quite a bit of heat, and sustained heat, to strike. Holding them in the flame until they blushed and developed a layer of fog on the surface seemed to be the best approach. How much heat they got before being laid down did not seem to make a difference (soupy hot vs barely moving).

Holding them in the flame long enough to get the haze to develop without them losing their shape and texture was the next challenge, and so I turned the oxygen down and reduced them. The reduction flame was softer, and I worker further out. It had no nasty effects like sootiness or black streaks or anything, it just gave me a softer, bushier flame. So I then got much better colour developing.
 Quite the range, eh? One thing that did not happen was any kind of opacity or cloudiness in these. They have stayed sparklingly clear.
And that sparkling clarity definitely shows when compared to other yellows. It has a juicy, liveliness to it.
 

Striking colours - you're never quite sure what you'll get next. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

CiM 346 Ghee

I have blogged about Ghee before, rather a lot actually, and in this instance, making these bits on wire, it comes out rather well behaved. A streaky opalescent with colours ranging from butter to honey, with streaks of caramel.

That's alright - I can like that.

You know - not making beads, and not making beads for sale, is really liberating.

Plus - I hate bead release and cleaning beads. With a passion.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Still More Glass History - ASK

The aforementioned North Star Precision 104 glass, and the TAG - Trautman Art Glass - both lines of exotic, high-end art glasses manufactured by Boro glass companies, should not be confused with ASK glass. That is a story unto itself.

ASK was originally an Arrow Springs - Kugler joint venture. Arrow Springs is one of the largest lampwork glass and tool suppliers in North America (don't let the web site fool you), and Kugler is a venerated German manufacturer.

The ASK glass was manufactured by Kugler and shipped to Arrow Springs. But after the initial runs, it came to light that they were some issues with compatibility - especially with subsequent batches. Arrow Springs, being well plugged into the bead-making community, knew that incompatibility issues were not acceptable at all to the average bead-maker, and started rejecting batches of glass. (Because it is deeply discouraging to find an entire days worth of production beads cracking. Ask me how I know that.)


However, Kugler does not come from the same tradition of glass-working as the bead-making community. They make primarily 96 COE glass and glass for production glass manufacturing (i.e. pressed glass beads), architectural applications. They possibly thought the North American market was being too picky. They were loathe to toss out manufactured glass, and they re-branded it, and shipped it to another re-seller in the US. This glass has a wide variation in COE - from 98 to 108. There are even variations within a colour, meaning that a colour may not necessarily be compatible with itself. In some cases, the Kugler glass is more compatible with the System 96 (96 COE) glass, or Spruce batch (COE 98). After all - Kugler makes 96 COE glass - so it is reasonable that is where their expertise lays.

While there is still ASK glass kicking around, and some of it is pretty darn cool - you can imagine that this did not bode well for the Arrow Springs - Kugler relationship. 

So - two things to bear in mind.

  • Glass labeled as ASK has passed through the Arrow Springs quality control and is a consistent 104 COE.
  • It is easy to complain about a manufacturer's decision, without knowing the full story behind what happened. Why is this out of stock? Why is it out of production? Well - for a very good reason. 
Making glass is tricky business. Natural raw glass - a slightly greenish bottle green colour - is one thing. When you make a paint, you take your base mixture of oil and filler and add some pigments and tweak it a bit and you have your colour. When you start to change the colour of the glass, you don't just throw in pigments - because whatever you add it going to be heated very hot, and who knows what will happen then, but also, because whatever you add to change the colour can also effect the COE. Not a problem when you are slapping paint on a canvas.  But a huge problem for us.

I know I have had students in the past (back before Creation is Messy colours) that have taken a lampwork class because "there are no good pink beads. I really want to buy pink beads and nobody makes them, so I'm going to learn to make beads so I can make pink ones." I leave that to your imagination.

But the raw materials aren't the only part of it. I have heard stories of colours that can not be made in certain climates, or in one season versus another, or with the humidity high or low. (Hey - that big air conditioning system we just installed so that we're not dying in here - turn it off - we can't get the same results that we used to - actual example!) Changing the source of the compounds being added to the glass can introduce or eliminate some vital element that influenced the colour or workability.

So, anyway, as I think I said before, one does not simply mix colours. ;-) 

And I'll try and dig up some ASK colours from my stash so you can see what I mean.

Friday, February 17, 2017

More Glass History: Precision 104 & TAG

I mentioned recently that Rocio Silver Mist was a colour made by Northstar - a company probably better known for their borosilicate glass. Northstar calls their 104 COE glass Precision 104. Likewise, with the rise in popularity of the exotic, high-end colours, Trautman Art Glass, another primarily boro-focused glass company, also produced some 104 COE colours, like the Golden Emerald and Lake Geneva still listed on their site, and the arguable more famous Dali Lama, Tibet, Fire Lotus, etc. Trautman's offerings are known as TAG.

So far as I know, both of these companies are not currently producing 104 COE glasses, as they are focusing on their core COE 33 boro lines. There was something of a kerfuffle in the art glass industry last year around EPA regulations and emissions, principally driven by some reports of finding higher than usual levels of heavy metals in industrial areas that have glass factories in them. This had the result of shutting down some of the manufacturers for a while, and, as you might imagine, small manufacturers of art glass materials live pretty close to the edge in terms of finances. Shut them down for a week and tell them they must spend thousands on scrubber equipment, and you can easily kill them. Especially annoying when spending thousands on scrubber equipment is something that you have just done.

This even created runs on some Boro colours, as the fear was they they would never be produced again. So I suspect that they are concentrating on their core business, which strikes me as a sound business decision. And heaven knows, I want to see all the glass companies succeed. It's better for the artists, artisans and craftspeople (depending on how you see yourself) all around.

Northstar primarily named their colours for people and famous artists:

SPC401 Rocio Silver Mist
SPC402 Picasso Silver Blue
SPC403 Chagall Dark Silver Blue
SPC404 Monet Silver Amethyst
SPC405 DaVinci1 Transparent
SPC406 DaVinci Dble Amber Purple
SPC407 Van Gogh Caramel
SPC409 Kandinsky Green Exotic
SPC410 Matisse Red Exotic
SPC411 Rembrandt
SPC412 Sashas Silver
SPC413 Garzoni Giovanna
SPC414 Black Pearl
SPC415 Abes Ivy


TAG's glass names have a more eastern influence, such as Dali Lama and etc.

They have a wonderful working tip resource on their site, which I will also reproduce here, just in case.

Working Trautman Art Glass (COE 104): Color by Color Soda-Lime Color (Soft Glass): COE 104; Anneal at 945 Fahrenheit (Juno [TAG-104-10] at 975)


DALAI LAMA (TAG-104-01)
An amber-purple glass, similar to our Caramelo, but in a soft glass. Opaque. Most batches respond well to deep heating in the gather, before applying to your bead. Dalai can appear to boil a bit when white hot, but those bubbles disappear as it cools. Shape in a hot neutral flame, and cool until no longer glowing; it may even blush amber. Then strike in a neutral-to-oxidizing flame for beautiful effects, generally ranging from light Painted Desert or jasper (especially if not deeply heated first) to dark reddish purples (when first activated by deep heat.) Or reduce for a different, earthier look. Colors range from tans and ambers (particularly when reduced) to blues and greens, and gorgeous pinks and purples when struck hot. If you are not getting purples, you’re likely not cooling the glass enough between heating and striking. Dalai encases well, and retains reactive effects under clear.

ZEUS (TAG-104-02)
This glass appears crystal clear in the rod, but changes dramatically when reduced, then struck. Zeus turns amber by itself and over light colors. Over black, it’s reduction film can be struck to a range from royal blue to turquoise to green. Can also be reduced further to amber brown opaques. Encases well, and the reaction often gets more opaque under clear. Try it over oranges or reds for a great electric purple! On striking gold-ruby, Zeus can make a peachy color. It’s turquoise over purples.... etc etc!

BLUE BUDDHA 2 (TAG-104-03)
Discontinued. (See Cezanne.)

CLARITY 4 (TAG-104-04)
The holy grail of bead makers is a perfect clear. We think we are close! Resists scumming and is optically superior to many commercial 104 clears. Clarity 4 likes a neutral to slightly oxidizing flame; play with your torch settings if you get scum. Clarity 4 is designed to be quite soft for easy encasement, but softer glasses don’t always like to be on ‘top.’ You may want to make a core of Clarity under your opaque 104 if you intend to heavily encase with Clarity to eliminate the chance of cracks.

OXBLOOD (TAG-104-05)
A self-striking dark grey/brown rod that can make at least three colors when flameworked. It oxidizes to black, reduces to a grey, and, with super-heating and further reduction can produce subtle terra-cotta and brick reds. Very earthy. Also makes a good base for silvered colors. Oxblood makes a very nice black on ivory, which resists “bleeding.”

BLACK CHERRY [Kiln-Strike Red] (TAG-104-06)
This red glass kiln-strikes into a range from light red to super-dark antique ruby red. Can be reduced. For best results, bring red back up to a high, even heat (transparent) to “reset” the strike before placing in the kiln. Kiln striking is dependent on a relationship between time and temperature: in general, the hotter the faster. But too long and/or too hot can cause livering. Rods come red; they have been pre-struck for color verification at the factory.

TO DETERMINE STRIKE TIME FOR YOUR BATCH OF BLACK CHERRY: Bring empty kiln up to your usual annealing temperature. Make a small bead, then torch it up to high even heat for “reset”, and cool it enough to place in the kiln. After a half-hour or so, check it every ten minutes. When it reaches the color you want, make a note of the time. That’s how long you will want to anneal your Black Cherry beads to achieve the perfect red! We suggest you make your Black Cherry beads at the end of your working session, and then run the anneal cycle long enough to kiln-strike your red at the same time. Sorry, out of stock at this time!

TIBET (TAG-104-07) TRANSCENDENTAL (TAG-104-01-Trans)
Just like the classic reactive amber/purple boro, now in a 104 soft glass! A transparent version of Dalai Lama, this amber/purple glass strikes easily in a neutral flame, producing greens over black, or blues and purples alone. Tibet can go pinkish over ivory glass or other light colors. Solo, struck Tibet looks reddish when held to the light. Best results come from striking in a neutral to oxidizing flame. This glass can also be reduced for a different look. Try it on Moretti copper green! Tibet does not generally require deep heating, just light striking. Transcendental is a darker version of Tibet; it can have a skin that is translucent, or even opaque. It also strikes easily and does not require deep heat – however, Transcendental can become cloudy with long hot working. It can be cleaned up a bit with cooling the bead, then burning off the silver haze in a strong oxygen flame.

CEZANNE (TAG-104-08)
A more reactive cobalt-purple relative of “Blue Buddha.” Reduces easily. Gains a beautiful mirror-like finish with full reduction in an un-oxygenated flame. When reduced with oxygen, Cezanne tends to give more greens. The reduction finish is encaseable. Occasionally boily; if so, add a pinch more gas and work higher in the fire.

TAXCO SILVER TURQUOISE (TAG-104-09) TAXCO LIGHT (EXP-102808)
Pronounced “TOSS-ko”, this glass is named for the town in Mexico renowned for combining silver and turquoise. A transparent reactive glass that produces a shiny mylar surface when reduced without oxygen, or gives a mottled oil-spot look when reduced lightly with some oxy in the mix, particularly over black or other dark colors. Alone, Taxco can reduce to a silvery sheen over the blue-green base. Heavy reduction gives white clouds with copper and terra cotta patches. Taxco likes to be reduced when still barely glowing a light orange – but too hot and reduction burns off, and too cool it won’t stick in the kiln. If it’s a tad boily, turn up the gas & work higher in the fire.

JUNO (TAG-104-10)
Note: Does not work with every brand of clear104 glass; we recommend TAG Clarity for encasement of Juno. She also requires a higher anneal (975 to 980 F) and slightly longer soak time. The wife of Zeus, Juno is pretty and pink; a reducing glass that also strikes. When reduced alone, she can go amber, and can develop a metallic sheen. But, like Zeus, Juno’s reduction haze can be intensified, brightened and made more opaque by striking it. Her reduction haze ranges from greenish to bluish to pink/purplish, depending on the batch and the background color. The reduction haze is enhanced with encasement. Juno also strikes in a neutral to oxidizing flame, with an unusual yellow glow. For an interesting effect, try simply striking Juno on a base of Moretti dark ivory, for a range of colors from pink, purple, periwinkle and even coppery hues! However, overworking Juno can burn out her color. In general, “3 strikes and you’re out.” Also, applying Juno cooler gives more purples over ivory, while heating the rod more in advance tends to produce more copper colors.

GOLDEN EMERALD (TAG-104-11)
This is a pale green transparent reducing glass, similar to our Taxco. Golden Emerald’s effects also differ over a light or dark base glass, and by how much oxygen you use in your reduction flame. When reduced with little or no oxygen, by itself, the Golden Emerald takes on a golden metallic sheen over its transparent golden green. When reduced with some oxygen, on a dark base glass, Golden Emerald produces strong metallic oil-spot colors of purple, blue, electric green, and more. It is difficult to encase the reduction on Taxco and Golden Emerald.

LAKE GENEVA (TAG-104-12)
A pretty transparent medium blue reducer, Lake Geneva can make super-metallic effects when reduced with little or no oxygen, and a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. In general, the Lake Geneva makes blues, greens and some purples when reduced. The reduction can be made more opaque by ‘striking’ it. The reduction can also be encased for Mother of Pearl effects.

MONTREUX (TAG-104-13)
Pronounced "MON-tro", this glass is named for a town on the shores of Lake Geneva, Switzerland. A lovely transparent medium purple reducer, Montreux can make super-metallic effects when reduced with little or no oxygen, and a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. The reduction can be made more opaque by ‘striking’ it. The reduction can also be encased for MOP effects. In general, Montreux’s reduction colors range from blues and greens to purples, but the base color can also vary from amethyst to light raisin to medium ink purple. Inky blue-purple is now standard for Montreux.

DEEP PURPLE (TAG-104-14)
A luscious deep dark transparent purple, Deep Purple reduces with super-metallic effects with little or no oxygen, and gains a thicker, more opaque reduction film when reduced with some oxygen in the mix. The reduction can be made more opaque by ‘striking’ it, and it can also be encased, trapping a beautiful mother of pearl. Deep Purple generally reduces with blues and greens, but can also create purples, pinks and even bronze-like tones in the metallic sheen. The density of the color also lends itself well to thin applications, including stringers.

DALAI LOTUS (TAG-104-16)
Our Lotus recipe brings the Dalai Lama striking 104 into even more beautiful territory. Dalai Lotus rods range from opaque tan, to translucent amber, and, like any striking amber-purple they produce the amber-to-purple-to-blue transition.... but THEN they keep going! To green, and yellow and orange and magenta and violet.... and??? This recipe likes more heat than the regular Dalai recipe, both in the initial gather and in the repeated strikes. It also likes to be cooled much more before re-striking. In other words, this is a glass that really likes long, hot working and cool marvering. Encases well, but also keeps color well in the kiln, even if left un-encased. For best results, bring the gather to WHITE hot, then add Lotus to your bead base, cool until no longer glowing, and then – wait more! You should see the glass ‘blush’ amber. This is what will continue to strike. If you overstrike, you can reset Lotus by reheating back to transparent.

FIRE LOTUS (TAG-104-15)
This is Dalai Lotus, with the addition of a kiln-striking red. So, you work this glass just like Dalai Lotus, lots of heat, and a significant cool-down, then strike away... Generally, Fire Lotus beads look the same at the end of a normal, 950 anneal as they did going into the kiln. But a boro-hot anneal cycle can change ambers into pinks. You can also put your beads into the kiln at 1000 degrees, and hold at the hotter temperature for an hour or so, then drop to a regular 104 anneal cycle, to further develop the reds and purples in this glass if you did not like your initial strike colors. This gives you more control over your final look. Like Dalai Lotus, Fire Lotus likes a WHITE-hot start, and significant cooling between strikes. You can also reset the strike by returning the bead to transparent with high heat. This is particularly useful if your colors begin to look washed-out or overstruck. But in general, Fire Lotus doesn’t overstrike, it gets “poo” colors from not allowing the glass to cool enough between strikes. The amber blush is your friend!

BLUE LOTUS EXP
These blue-grey rods strike in flame like their Lotus-family cousins, above – work hot with longer cooling periods in between strikes and the Blue Lotus will reward you with blues, turquoise, greens, and purples. Not a kiln striker. Just like the other Lotus colors, best strikes come after the glass cools then ‘blushes.’

GREEN JELLY OPAL (TAG-104-EXP-041510)
A milky green rod that really likes it hot. Jelly Opal is a striking glass that primarily strikes amber, but also gives wispy opalescent blues and greens, especially with cycles of striking and reducing. This glass generally responds to repeated deep heating, followed by long cooling cycles. Benefits from rapid cooling, too, with brass tools. Try heating the gather until white hot, wrapping your bead, deep heating again on the mandrel, marvering into shape, cooling, and then striking. You can get different effects from striking right on the candles of your torch, or with encasement.






















































Monday, February 13, 2017

More Thallo

Just more eye candy. Did these at the studio at BeadFX. Does the reduction ever pop! Wish it would stay like that in my kiln at home.


Sunday, February 12, 2017

CiM 450 Chartreuse

Juicy, juicy, juicy. Juicy Chartreusey.

Quite a break from the greys, eh?

This is a new colour from Creation is Messy  and it is de-lish! An eye-popping translucent spring fresh shoots kind of green. An antidote to winter.

Yum. Just Yum.

Whole bunch of yummy new colors coming through from CiM - lots of nice greens. But just had to share this now because - so juicy!

Interestingly - when it is in the kiln - it appears yellowish, whereas the other yellow-greens tend to look bright orange. FWIW.