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October 15, 2014

Test Results :: Soft Rose

1 - Plain (reduced), 2 - Plain, 3 - w/ Silver Leaf, 4 - w/ Silver Leaf (reduced & encased), 5 - w/ Silver Glass Frit (reduced), 6 - w/ TerraNova2 Frit, 7 & 8 - w/ Tuxedo, Copper Green, Opal Yellow, Ivory & Peace

Kugler Soft Rose (B151) is a gorgeous light to medium pink colour.  I really like some of its reactions, and it was buttery soft to work with.  I was looking for similarities with either Effetre Silver Pink or Lauscha Faded Rose, but apart from its tendency to fume yellow with silver, I didn't really find much similarity with either colour.  This isn't a bad thing at all -- variety is good!  I often find my expectations turned around this way with glass, and it keeps me on my toes :)

It is not a good idea to encase this colour -- like Golden, its transparent cousin, this colour does NOT do well underneath other colours.  It is, however, moderately reactive and has tons of potential in organic designs.

Soft Rose is sensitive to flame chemistry, and as you can see in the bead on the left, darkens and deepens in colour when it is reduced.

Like many pinks, Soft Rose fumes yellow when silver is added to it.  I'll say it again - don't encase this colour. There are crazy cracks all through the other side of the rightmost bead, and as you can see, a giant crack right through this side of it.

I'd say that Soft Rose is average as a base colour for silver glass.  The leftmost bead got some interesting colour and shine, and I got a little colour from my TerraNova2 frit.

I won't be able to talk about what Opal Yellow looks like on top of Soft Rose, because apparently I accidentally picked up my Ivory stringer when it was time to do the stringer dots and lines with Opal Yellow, and did Ivory twice instead of Opal Yellow and then Ivory.  Oops!

Tuxedo spreads out and causes a purplish halo reaction when used on top of Soft Rose.  When Soft Rose is used on top of Tuxedo, the edges of the Soft Rose stringer lines and dots get a three-dimensional puffy look to them.

Ivory spreads out and does really interesting mosaicy (that's a word, right?) things on top of Soft Rose.  You can see that in the space in the leftmost bead where I was supposed to do Opal Yellow dots and lines, and also in the usual spot.  The Ivory has separated the Soft Rose so that it rises up in halos around the Ivory, and then the Ivory has gone sort of brownish around its edges, and then where it has remained Ivory, gone sort of 'fluffy' for lack of a better word and developed interesting curdling/reticulation effects to boot.  Three reaction effects for the price of one... it really doesn't get much cooler than that.

Here is a goddess bead made with Soft Rose.  You can see some yellowish blushing that I guess is the result of striking the glass during its construction.  My flame is a little reducing since I only have a 5 lpm concentrator, so that may also be part or all of the cause.

October 8, 2014

Test Results :: Flax

1 - Plain (reduced), 2 - Plain, 3 - w/ Silver Leaf, 4 - w/ Silver Leaf (encased), 5 - w/ Silver Glass Frit (reduced), 6 - w/ TerraNova2 Frit, 7 - w/ Silver Glass Frit Stringer (encased), 8 - Over Silver Foil, 9 & 10 - w/ Tuxedo, Copper Green, Opal Yellow, Ivory, and Peace

I was so excited when I first saw CiM Flax, because I have really been wanting a nice, cool, pale yellow.  I was a little less excited when I found that Flax will strike with repeated heating and cooling, but after doing some sculptural work with it I felt happy again because it seems like this is a controllable thing, although I don't yet have many useful words for you about how you might control it.

What I can say for sure is that sometimes it struck to bright yellow on me, and sometimes it did not. In the beads where it did, the common factor is that I pressed them with a cool tool. I am guessing that it is repeated, dramatic heating and cooling that will move it away from its beautiful, pale, champagne colour into a more 'electric yellow' hue range. So, if you want to keep it pale, keep it cool!

As you can see here, unstruck Flax is significantly lighter in colour than Effetre Straw Yellow.  It stayed pale in this bead, and between this and the spacers in the group shot, I am able to tell you that this colour is way less prone to strike than its Effetre counterpart, Electric Yellow. I made and garaged this bead pretty quickly, and so the fact that it stayed light may be due to the short duration of its exposure to the flame.

Although this colours strikes to a bright yellow like Effetre Electric Yellow, its reactions with silver and other colours are significantly different.  Firstly, while Electric Yellow turns grey when used with silver, Flax seems not to.  The silver spread out on top of this colour and developed a bit of a blueish haze, but did not blacken at all.  This colour's reactions are more consistent with Straw Yellow's behaviour, but not exactly the same.

While the silver foil in this bead does look sort of golden like it might have colour-changed under the Flax, it could just be that the Flax struck to bright yellow and so it is a reflection rather than a change. This last idea is sort of reinforced by the fact that the whole encasement layer looks a little yellow when you look at the bottom edge of the bead, however a reflection might also make it do that since glass is so light-sensitive.  I apologize for the number of words you had to read there to find out I didn't really have much in the way of useful things to say about this test.

Flax seems to be an interesting base for silver glass.  There is one fritty bit in the leftmost bead that is particularly interesting looking, with both a black line AND a halo around it.  If only I knew what silver glass that piece was, we would really have an interesting discovery.  I know for sure that it is either Psyche, Triton, Kronos, Aion, Elektra, or Gaia which narrows it down a little if you feel like experimenting further. Flax was pretty friendly to my striking silver glass as well in the bead in the middle, and I was able to get some pretty blues from the TerraNova2 without much effort investment.

In the rightmost bead, I got an interesting effect by pulling frit stringer with Flax and my silver glass reduction blend.  I wrapped the stringer around a Flax core and then encased it with Clear. There are glasses that do this effect better, but way more colours that don't work to get this interesting streakiness at all.  In the bead where I did this test with Effetre Electric Yellow, the stringer mostly just turned an icky grey. I would categorize Flax as a pretty silver-friendly colour, overall.

Here the Flax really struck to bright yellow.  In the construction of these beads, I make the base, and then I put all of the decoration on.  I heat the bead and mash it, and then I heat it gently to firepolish the chill marks out.  The steps were the same for both beads.

In terms of interesting reactions, I got a light separation line between Flax and Copper Green on the Copper Green side of the equation in both beads, although the effect looks very different in each.  I also got some fairly interesting separation with Opal Yellow which bears further exploration because I think that the yellow-on-yellowness of it has interesting design potential.  There was a little separation of Peace as well, but not as significantly.

My Tuxedo seemed to thin out and looks sort of blue where I used it on top of Flax.

Here is a sculptural bead with Flax.  It is interesting to note here that the Flax has just barely started to strike in this bead in spite of it being repeatedly and thoroughly heated and cooled during its construction.  I am going to attribute this to the fact that I use very few tools in the construction of my goddess beads and that as a result, the bead did not receive the same dramatic quick-heating/cooling cycles as the beads that I used metal tools on did.

October 3, 2014

Back in Action

It's been a while since I posted anything at all, and this last year has been very slow for this blog in general for a variety of reasons.  My dad was really sick with cancer and he passed away in May of this year, work has been hectic, and as a result, my creative energy has been pretty low.

The good news is that I am starting to feel like myself again, and am coming back to the torch with a vengeance.  You can expect to start seeing colour testing posts in this space in the very near future.

The final thing that has been slowing my blogging down is that I have started a new business.  I bought Gail Joseph's 104 COE frit blend recipes and a really large quantity of 104 COE frit, and I will be selling both her frit blends and recipes that I develop myself under the brand name FrittyBits™.  

My new business is called 'Melanie Graham Studios', and you can find my new website here.  I am selling both beads and frit mainly out of my Etsy shop, which is also feeding my website.  It is all very integrated, which was way easier than I thought it was going to be.

If you like the idea of frit that is all 104 COE so that you can use as much of it as you want with your 104 COE glass, then these are the frit blends for you.  Here are a few pictures of the frit blends that I have for sale.  I have 37 different blends at present, which I will be expanding over the next few months leveraging my colour testing results.