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December 27, 2009

Test Results :: Tamarind Unique #1

I wasn't lucky enough to get any of the "real" Tamarind, but I did get some of the CiM Tamarind Unique #1, and I really like it.  I'm sad that there won't be much of it around, and I really wish CiM would reconsider Tamarind not being a permanent feature.  Judging from the newness of the colour and the number of uniques, I'm going to guess that the reason it won't be permanent is because it's hard to make consistently... but I'm not sure that bothers me.  Having a bunch of unique, fun browns is almost as appealing (or maybe even more appealing) than having one really consistent one.
1 - Plain, 2 - Reduced, 3 - w/ Silver foil, 4 - w/ Silver foil - reduced & encased, 5 - w/ Triton, 6 - w/ Striking Color frit, 7 - w/ Black, 8 - w/ Ivory, 9 - w/ Copper Green

Colour Range
Depending on what it's with and how much it's struck, CiM Tamarind Unique #1 seems to range from a slightly greyish tan (Bead #8) to a rich, chocolate brown (Bead #5, Bead #6).  Making a spacer with a minimum of fuss, shaping or striking resulted in a creamy caramel colour.  (Bead #1, Bead #2)

Reducing Tamarind Unique alone (Bead #2) doesn't really seem to have any effect on the colour.

I used silver foil instead of silver leaf with the Tamarind Unique, and I had a kind of 'silver crust' form on the bead.  (Bead #3, Bead #4) A lot of colours try to absorb silver, but Tamarind Unique isn't one of them.  I'm not sure if this would be as evident with silver leaf, since there'd be less silver to form the crust, but I guess I'll have to try it now.

Reducing and encasing the silver just turned a lot of the attractive crust that you can see in Bead #3 to black.  (Bead #4)

I'm having trouble deciding if the darkening of the colour is due to the silver or if it is entirely temperature-related.  I don't think it is just the silver, because there's no silver on some of the half 'n half beads (Beads #7, #8 & #9) and a few of them struck to a darker colour as well.  I guess a little more careful experimentation is required here.

Striking silver glass is ok on Tamarind Unique, but I don't really like how Triton blackened.  (Beads #5 & #6)  The blackening of the Triton is similar to all the black gunge that showed up when I reduced with silver on Bead #4.

Ivory on Tamarind Unique separates a little and develops a thin translucent line in stringerwork and a fine translucent dot in the middle of dots.  (Bead #8) The Tamarind Unique on Ivory doesn't reciprocate that effect, which is interesting.  Often, if one colour has that reaction, the other one will do something similar with it.  The edges of the Tamarind Unique against the Ivory do look a little undistinct, as though they are bleeding into the Ivory a little.

The Tamarind Unique also looked a little more greyish in this bead than it did in the others.  I'm not sure if that's related to the Ivory, or if it was a difference in how thoroughly it was struck, but the fact that the tonality is so different seems to indicate that it's due to the Ivory.  I'll need to play with this a little to be sure.

I think out of all of these test beads, this one with Copper Green is my favourite.  (Bead #9)  The Tamarind Unique dots on top of Copper Green develop an outline that looks almost Teal, and the Copper Green on Tamarind spreads a little and develops a soft brown line that looks almost like a shadow.  The reaction is subtle, but I think its really attractive.

General Impressions
I really love the colour of Tamarind Unique, and wish there was going to be more of it - and I wouldn't honestly care if more of it came out exactly like this batch or if it was really different and I had do do my tests again.  Browns are something we don't have enough of and this is a particularly cool one.

I have been using this colour a lot as a way of end-capping my beads because the colour complements a lot of silver glass colours and reactions between colours really well.

Here are some other beads made with Tamarind Unique:

December 26, 2009

Test Results :: Anise White


1 - w/ Black, 2 - w/ Dark Violet, 3 - w/ Copper Green, 4 - w/ Ivory, 5 - w/ Striking Color frit, 6 - w/ Triton, 7 - w/ Silver leaf - reduced & encased, 8 - w/ Silver leaf, 9 - As a floral - Copper Green core, 10 - Reduced, 11 - Plain

I'm having a little trouble figuring out what to say about Anise White because it's not an offensive colour after its been melted, but I have real hatred for it.  If it wasn't so completely anger-inducing to work with I might even prefer it to regular white, but since it does deeply piss me off, I'm never using it again.

The problem with Anise White isn't that it's shocky.  The problem is that it is so shocky that it's unusable.  You can hold a thin rod of it just beside your flame, gently heating it, and have it all shoot off like deadly popcorn, "POP!  POP!  POP!"  in rapid succession.  I went to the studio with a little more than six rods of Anise White.  I made the beads you see above, and then finally gave up in frustration and threw a rod and a half of it into a waste bin.  Everything in between was in pieces all over my work table.

I had glass in my face, glass up my sleeve and glass all over the damn place.  I will put up with a lot from glass, but this was just a little much.  I think I'll have a permanent scar on my left forearm, and predict that it will burn vengefully whenever Anise White is nearby.

General Impressions
If only it was workable (and who knows... annealing the rods may well help), it might be fun to play with it some more and compare it to regular White or CiM Peace.  I haven't done these kinds of experiments with regular White, so I don't even know if the results are similar.  I should do that, but I'm not using White right now so I can't.

Even if Anise White was workable, though, it still wouldn't have a lot of draw for me.  I'm more of an Ivory person.

Colour Density
In a thin layer, Anise White is fairly translucent, and would be a good choice for making ghost-like florals or trying to create wispy whiteness in a bead.  It might be interesting to use it with a white that is more opaque in a floral design.  (Bead #9)

Reducing Anise White turns it a greyer/pinker version of itself.  (Bead #2)

When Anise White is paired with silver, the silver fumes the surface of the bead to a caramel colour which is  attractive.  (Bead #8, Bead #6)

I also like that when the silver is subsequently encased, it hasn't been taken over by a reaction between the silver and the Anise White.  (Bead #7) You'll see an example where this doesn't happen so nicely when I post the results for CiM Tamarind Unique.

Anise White is silver-friendly.  I don't think it's a first-tier choice as a base colour for silver glass, but it's definitely one that works.  Triton turns green rather than blue on top of Anise White, and seems to separate with the fine, shiny line in the middle. (Bead #6) This seems like the exact opposite of what I saw in my testing of CiM Great Bluedini.  Please excuse the fingerprint... I really need to get better at not photographing those.

The only other thing really worth mentioning is that Black and Dark Violet bleed into Anise White in a sort of attractive way.  (Bead #1, #2)

As I mentioned, I don't have any "real" beads to show you that use this colour.  Just melting enough of this colour to make the test beads pictured above nearly drove me nuts.

Winter Colour Diet - Session 6

Session six of my colour diet wasn't exactly a shining success... but I did learn some stuff, and I made my test beads for Anise White (grrr) and Tamarind Unique #1 (yum) which I'll post sometime over the next few days.

I'll get right to the beads.  I experimented with some new-to-me colour combinations, and I'm not all that jazzed about some of the results.  There were some interesting surprises though.
This is CiM Mermaid with Striking Color frit and SiS scribble end decoration.  The ends are Adamantium.  I'm not telling you this because I want you to be able to reproduce this bead - I think it's better if that never happens.  I'm not really enjoying these colours all together like this.

This one is on a base of CiM Adamantium and I think I used some silver glass/mermaid twisties on it.  Frankly, it's hard to tell now since the whole bead went mostly black.  It came out way too dark.  I haven't done my tests for Adamantium yet, so I don't know how to predict its behaviour with silver glass.  I'm not really sure if the problem here is that I didn't strike the silver glass properly, or if there's something else going on.  Chances are the problem is mostly me, and I'll test Adamantium soon so I have a definitive answer.

Now this is more like it.  This is one of my new favorite colour combinations... one I've already talked about in other posts.  It's Seashell Swirl, rolled in silver leaf and then Striking Color frit, end-capped in Tamarind Unique, scribbled on with SiS and then swirled.  It got a brief bit of reduction before going into the kiln.

The inside of this bead looks awful, but I've come to terms with that and am now figuring out what more can be done with the way I've decorated the outside of it.  The swirling thing is getting really out of control, but I think I like it like that.  The decoration on the exterior is just Ivory and SiS.

I played with frit stringer last week after reading Dwyn Tomlinson's Blog, and I am addicted!  Although the bead is a bit of an eyesore, the frit stringer part of the core looks pretty neat, so I am going to continue to play with this.  The core of this bead is half Striking Color frit stringer and half TerraNova2 all over Light Brown Transparent.  It's encased with Pale Aqua and Clear.  The TerraNova2 didn't even try to strike, no doubt because I didn't get it hot enough.

Fortunately, not all frit stringer experiments are made equal, and I am really happy with how this one turned out.  This is frit stringer with the very last crumbs of my Striking Color frit with Light Brown, all over Light Brown, encased with Clear.  The end deco and the 'leaves' on the front are SiS, and the swirl on the front is overdotted with Pale Green Emerald.  I think I had more luck with this one because it's smaller than the monstrosity above.  I may take a break from making gigantic beads for a while.

In any case, the Anise White's stint in the palette was shortlived.  And do you see any beads here where I've made a point of saying that there's Anise White in it?  No... you don't.  And I'll tell you why when I post my test results about Anise White.  Since I don't have any more Anise White (oh darn) I'll be replacing it with CiM Khaki when I go back to the torch next week.

Here's the status of the palette heading into Session #7.
  • EFF Red Copper Green
  • CiM Adamantium
  • CiM Tamarind Unique (-1)
  • EFF Anise White CiM Khaki
  • EFF Okey Dokey Artichoky
  • CiM Mermaid
  • EFF Copper Green
  • EFF Dark Violet
  • VET Seashell Swirl
  • EFF Light Brown (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Green Apple (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Emerald (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Aqua (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Ink Blue (Transparent)
  • Staples:  Clear, Black, Dark Ivory, Ivory
  • Silver Glass:  Assorted Silver Glass Colours, rods & frit
  • Metals:  Silver Mesh, Silver Wire, Copper Mesh, Silver Leaf, Silver Foil
  • Dichro:  Dichro on Clear (various colours)
  • Goldstone:  Gold Aventurine Chunks
I'm almost completely out of Dark Violet and Pale Aqua, and am pretty close to kissing Seashell Swirl goodbye as well, but what's left will last me at least one more week.  I'm trying to figure out what to replace them with.  If you have any suggestions, let me know! Some colours I'm currently contemplating as replacements are REI Mystic Grey Blue, EFF Tidepool, CiM Lapis Light Unique, VET Pajama Blue, EFF Bubblegum Pink and EFF Orion.  It's not an easy decision at all.

My Striking Color frit is completely *sniffle* gone.  No more.  Finished.

Since my test beads for Anise White and Tamarind Unique are done, I need a new testing plan.  Here's what I'll likely cover over the next few weeks:
  1. Khaki
  2. Red Copper Green
  3. Adamantium
  4. Whatever replaces Pale Aqua, Seashell Swirl and Dark Violet

December 21, 2009

Test Results :: Dark Violet

1 - Plain, 2 - w/ Silver leaf, 3 - w/ Khaos frit, 4 - w/ Triton, 5 - w/ Ivory, 6 - w/ Black, 7 - w/ Copper Green, 8 - Encased, 9 - w/ Silver leaf, reduced & encased, 10 - as a floral, Copper Green core.

This colour doesn't fill me with joy, but I can't exactly hate it, either.  Effetre Dark Violet is just a fancy name for purple.  It's really, really purple.  It's also really streaky and I don't find it very consistent.  These aren't necessarily terrible things - I like a lot of glass colours that are streaky and unpredictable, but I think what it comes down to, for me, is that when I look at these beads (with the exception of #4 and maybe #10) I feel like I can taste Hubba Bubba grape bubblegum.

I haven't been able to chew grape bubblegum since I was seven years old.  I still remember why - I went to a sleepover birthday party, and we stayed up super-late playing monopoly or some other board game and listening to songs like 'Monster Mash' on the RECORD PLAYER (god, this is making me feel old) and we all covertly went to bed chewing our gum as a form of secret 7-year old rebellion.

Fortunately, no one died in the night choking on their gum, but what I did find out (and why I can't stand the smell or taste of the gum to this day) is that Hubba Bubba only has a certain 'mouth life', and that if you chew it for too long, it turns to strange, stringy slime in your mouth.


Anyway, back to Dark Violet.  Dark Violet seems to be a relatively stable colour that doesn't let too many colours get in its way, but it did do some strange things.

In these beads (Bead #1, #2, #3), I think I must not have kept the ends quite as hot as the centre, and the ends seem to have struck so that they look almost as though they have a bit of brown sludge on them.  If I was doing something sculptural, I might think this is kind've cool... as it is, I will take it as a friendly reminder to be as careful with small beads as I am with large ones in terms of even heat distribution.

Apart from that, Dark Violet seems not to be all that interested in striking, either in a neutral flame or a reduction flame, although in Bead #9, putting silver leaf over Dark Violet, reducing and then encasing it resulted in a sort of interesting silvery, snowy blanket on the Dark Violet.

I made the bead with the Khaos frit (Bead #3) before I made the bead with Triton (Bead #4) and I was muttering curses as I tried to strike the Khaos frit on this bead.  Khaos frit eludes me at the best of times, and on this purple there was just no way it was going to cooperate.  I've had this exact problem with CiM Poi as well, perhaps for exactly the same reason.  I tossed the little traitor bead into the kiln and debated "forgetting" to test Dark Violet at all before stiffening my spine and forcing myself to make Bead #4.

I was still tense from my battle with Khaos, so when I tried to make my test lentil with Triton dots, I really badly overfilled the lentil press and made a huge mess.  Determined to polish all of the little purple turds, regardless of how futile it felt, I let this bead morph into a rounded barrel shape and reduced it before putting it away.

Imagine my surprise when I pulled the beads out of the kiln and the purple one with Triton was actually a pretty nice bead. On Dark Violet, after being super-heated, maltreated and reduced, Triton is awesome.  It spreads and makes a bit of a rainbow, and goes all kinds of iridescent.  Who knew.

I also kind've like Dark Violet with Ivory.  It spreads a little over the Ivory and develops a dark line in the centre.  The Ivory does the opposite, going a little darker around the edges and more translucent/lighter in the middle.  I can see how this might be kind've fun to play with.  (Bead #5)

Apart from those little kernels, the only other thing I really learned about Effetre Dark Violet is that when you put dots of it over Clear, all of the dark purple colour flees into the middle of the dot.  I wonder if Dark Violet is acrophobic?

The last challenge of this colour test was to try to dig up some non-test beads that contain Dark Violet for you to see.  I've used up almost six rods of it in the last four weeks, but I seem to have mostly been hiding it as a base colour.

Here's a couple:

December 20, 2009

Test Results :: Great Bluedini

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain with silver leaf, 3 - Over clear, 4 - w/ silver leaf, reduced & encased, dots over Ivory, 5 - w/ Khaos frit, 6 - w/ Triton stringer, 7 & 8 - w/ Ivory

I don't even know how to find the right words to describe how deeply I've fallen in love with CiM Great Bluedini after melting only three rods of it.

Before I ever got to the torch, I found myself wondering where the heck the strange name came from, so my friend Google coughed up some links for me.  If you're interested, you can read the story of the Great Bluedini here.

General Impressions
Great Bluedini is not as green as Effetre Dark Teal, but is greener than CiM Leaky Pen.  If I had to relate it to already-existing 104 palette glass, I'd say it's similar to Effetre Dark Aqua, only without the fireworks and a few shades darker.

I'm a girl who is normally pretty afraid of transparent colours, but wow, do I ever love Great Bluedini.  This is a must-have colour.  I'm totally drinking the Kool-Aid :)

Not much happens when you reduce Bluedini all by itself, but the silver leaf in Bead #4 was reduced and subsequently encased on a base of Great Bluedini, and I think that looks pretty neat.  The Great Bluedini underneath the silver seems to be bleeding up on top of it, which is also very interesting.

Colour Density
In rod form, Great Bluedini looks dark, but I didn't fully grasp how very dark and dense it was until I made the solid lentils.  (Bead #1, #2, #5 & #6).  Once I started to melt it, when I saw how dark it is when applied in a thick layer, I was pleasantly surprised by how much less boily/sparky it is than the other dark transparent colours I've used.  Effetre Dark Teal and CiM Leaky Pen, for instance, are both really sparkly.

Great Bluedini, while really dark and dense, lightens up beautifully over Clear  (Bead #3) or Ivory (the dots on Bead #4).  If the dots-on-ivory are melted flush, they change colour and there is a reaction (see section on Reactions) but if left raised, they stay pretty and crisp. (Bead #4)

Just like Dark Aqua, when melted flush to Ivory, Great Bluedini takes on a greenish hue. (Bead #7)  It also acquires a thin dark outline, the same way most other blues and greens would.  I'm not sure how well you can see it in the picture, but when Ivory is placed over Bluedini, the Ivory separates slightly, developing a really fine line down the centre of stringer lines or a small circle in the centre of dots.  (Bead #7 & #8)  The close-up to the right shows both of these reactions.

The yellowish line along the border of the Ivory and Great Bluedini seems to be the Ivory separating and curdling, which makes me really want to try this colour with Dark Ivory to see what happens.

I am also really excited about how Great Bluedini behaves with silver glass.  I am terrible at striking Khaos frit, but over Great Bluedini, even I can strike Khaos frit without difficulty. (Bead #5)

Triton just LOVES it, and when applied as stringer and lightly reduced, it's super-shiny and has a lighter, mirrored edging around it that is incredible.  Reducing the Triton on the Great Bluedini also fumed the surface of the bead to a mottled, blue-purple iridescence in places.  Wow.  (Bead #6)

I didn't get to do as much testing as I might like because I didn't have all that much of the glass. I'm sure the world will hear more from me about Great Bluedini once I get my hands on some more.

Until then, here are the only 'fun beads' I got to make with Great Bluedini.  I didn't even get to stare at them for a whole day before they were snatched up as mother-daughter baby gifts on a pre-Christmas visit with friends.

Winter Colour Diet - Session 5

Session 5 was very productive! I got two sets of test beads made (CiM Great Bluedini and Effetre Dark Violet) and even made quite a few focals. The bad news is that one of the beads I made cracked, which means I have NOT gotten to the bottom of my cracking issue... which means I am way less happy than I otherwise might have been. A few days ago, I blogged about what I thought was the solution to my problem. Since it clearly isn't, I've removed the post until I have the right answer and can write something that won't be misleading.

In any case, let's get to the rest of the beads.

This one was made with the last stubby bit of Mystic Beige I had left last week, and has Sasha's Silver stringer work on it. Its ends are decorated with SiS, and there are a couple of silvered Dark Ivory shards melted onto the surface. The Mystic Beige is a little weird in this bead, having fumed a yellowish colour.

Now, this is really not the most attractive bead. In fact, my first instinct was to pitch it into the garbage. The only thing stopping me is a reaction in here that I've never seen before. The core of the bead is Seashell Swirl with a little Striking Color Frit. Then, there is Sasha's Silver stringer work. That was reduced, and then for some unknown reason, instead of encasing it with Clear, I encased it with Light Brown Transparent instead. All of the silver glass stringer design turned a shiny copper-gold colour. I've never seen this before, so I was pretty excited, once I got past my first impression.

In the first picture, there are two different beads (top left & right), and their back sides (bottom left & right). I made these as an experiment to see if the design I've been repeating in the larger 1.5" lentils is shrinkable to a Med+ Nugget. It turns out that it totally is, which makes me really happy. And it might even inspire me to practice with that darned Med+ press a little more than I have been.

The other bead is an XL Straight-Sided Lentil. Both beads have a base of CiM Great Bluedini and have been rolled in Striking Color frit. There is fine silver mesh in there, and SiS around the ends. The big lentil also has some silvered Dark Ivory shards along one edge. It's difficult for me to not just blurt out all of my feelings about Great Bluedini, but I am restraining myself so that I will still have enough to say to post the colour tests I did.

This one is a base of Seashell Swirl, with a Twistie, Adamantium end-caps and SiS scribbly decoration. The Twistie was made from Mermaid, Artichoky and a striking silver glass colour. I wish I remembered which one, but I don't know for sure. It could have been Van Gogh Caramel or DaVinci Double Amber Purple. Either way, it doesn't really matter. I'm pretty sure that another striking silver would do more or less the same thing - all of the ones I have used have behaved similarly.

What's really interesting about the interaction between the twistie and the rest of the bead is the way it has pushed all of the Seashell Swirl's streakiness into a kind of warped honeycomb pattern. I really love this effect, but have to admit that the colour combination in this bead isn't really making me happy. I am going to need to do something about the colours in the Twistie in order to do something nice against the pink background.

This one is a bit of a re-run... I found a combination I like so much that I keep wanting to repeat it. It's a base of Seashell Swirl, rolled in silver leaf and then Striking Color frit. It's end-capped with Tamarind Unique, and then has some bands of SiS which I've violently swirled. There are some Ivory dots on this version of the bead as well, which I've been told don't really improve it. I gave it a flash of reduction before parking it in the kiln.

This one is a base of Tamarind Unique, rolled in Silver Leaf and then Striking Color frit. The end caps are Red Copper Green (Yum!) and then there are SiS scribblies on the ends and around the centre.

I really love Okey Dokey Artichoky. That's what the base of this bead is, and it's really neat. There are two different Twisties on this bead. One of the Twisties is the same as the one already outlined above. The other one was Artichoky, Seashell Swirl and the same striking silver glass as the other recipe.

The bead is a mottled green and blue, and because Okey Dokey fumes from Silver, there's some subtle fuming that almost looks like tea-staining. I stuck some silvered Dark Ivory shards to this bead and did my customary scribble around the ends with SiS.

I've completely run myself out of Mystic Beige, which makes me sad because I'll miss it, but happy because now it's gone and out of the box. I replaced it for the rest of the session with a few rods of CiM Great Bluedini to do some testing, but I've runout of that now as well.

For next session, I'm replacing the Mystic Beige/Great Bluediniwith Anise White. Everyone hates Anise White because it's shocky and not as stable as regular white, so I'm going to try to love it. We'll see how that goes :P

Here's the status of the palette, after Session #5.
  • EFF Red Copper Green
  • CiM Adamantium
  • CiM Tamarind Unique (-1)
  • REI Mystic Beige CiM Great Bluedini EFF Anise White
  • EFF Okey Dokey Artichoky
  • CiM Mermaid
  • EFF Copper Green
  • EFF Dark Violet
  • VET Seashell Swirl
  • EFF Light Brown (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Green Apple (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Emerald (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Aqua (Transparent)
  • EFF Pale Ink Blue (Transparent)
  • Staples: Clear, Black, Dark Ivory, Ivory
  • Silver Glass: Assorted Silver Glass Colours, rods & frit
  • Metals: Silver Mesh, Silver Wire, Copper Mesh, Silver Leaf, Silver Foil
  • Dichro: Dichro on Clear (various colours)
  • Goldstone: Gold Aventurine Chunks

I am also running really low on Seashell Swirl, Pale Aqua and Dark Violet. I made an executive decision last weekend that I'm not going to buy any more of any of the colours for the palette (although I may buy a few just to stash away for later) and am going to force myself instead to experiment and use other colours I've been accumulating. I don't mind getting rid of the Dark Violet because, frankly, it's one of my least favourite colours in this palette so far... but losing the use of Seashell Swirl and Pale Aqua is going to hurt.

December 17, 2009

Test Results :: Mermaid

1 - Plain, 2 - Reduced, 3 - w/ Silver Leaf, 4 - w/ Striking Color Frit, 5 - w/ Triton, 6 - As a floral, 7 & 8 - w/ Dark Violet, 9 - w/ Copper Green, 10 - w/ Petroleum Green, 11 - w/ Ivory, 12 - w/ Black

O Mermaid... how vivid and streaky you are!  How beautifully greener than turquoise yet bluer than petroleum!

General Impressions
CiM Mermaid is a perfect teal opaque.  It's creamy and smooth, it is pretty stable, and it's got an interesting streakiness to it that many of the CiM colours have.  It reminds me of a just slightly bluer version of the  Elphaba Dark Unique that so many people are having trouble finding right now.  Most teals and turquoises spark and pit in the flame, but Mermaid seems for the most part to resist this.

The picture below shows a close-up of Bead #9 (Copper Green and Mermaid) and Bead #10 (Mermaid & Petroleum Green).
There are slight reactions in both cases, but what is most interesting to me about this is how much more pitting there is on the Copper Green vs. the Mermaid in the same bead, worked in the same flame for the same length of time.  I really expected it to pit easily, because if memory serves me, Fremen and Celadon both pit fairly readily.  It will be nice not to have to worry as much about those little holes, although I don't technically mind them - I make mostly organic beads and I'm happy for the glass to do whatever weird surface thing it fancies, most of the time.

Reducing Mermaid (Bead #2) results in a brick-red coating.  I don't like it, so I'll probably never do this again.  Some people might think it's attractive, though, and it's a deeper red than the coating that forms on turquoise.

With silver, Mermaid is pretty stable and while I got a slight reaction with Silver Leaf (Bead #3), it was just a slight yellowing of the glass colour.

Mermaid seems to make a good base colour for silver glass.  I want to play with it some more, but the Triton I reduced on Bead #5 looks a little greener than Triton usually does.  I think that Mermaid will look really great with Raku.

With Ivory, Mermaid develops the customary Green/Ivory dark line reaction.  (Bead #11)

With Dark Violet, Mermaid doesn't seem to do much at all apart from make the Dark Violet lighten ever-so-slightly around the edges.  I was pretty disappointed because usually green + purple = weirdness.  Not with Mermaid - or maybe just not with Dark Violet.  I was craving some crazy reaction action so much that I made two beads with this combination instead of just one.  I'm really not a big fan of these two colours coexisting in the same bead without any buffer. (Bead #7 & #8)

I feel like I should have more to say about this colour, and I guess I probably will as I go along.  I will definitely be buying and using more Mermaid, even though it isn't ideal for the kinds of beads I customarily make.  It stays put, which I'm sure I can find a use for.

This bead is made with Mermaid as well:

December 15, 2009

Winter Colour Diet - Session 4

Session 4 marks the halfway point of this colour diet, if I actually decide to stop it at eight sessions.  I may well decide that I just want to keep working this way, it's that fun.

Overall I had a pretty good day last Sunday, but the studio is only usually open for 4.5 hours on Sundays so it wasn't a really productive day.  It takes a fair bit of time to make test beads, and then the large focals I'm making take a while too.  In any case, here they are.  I am feeling unusually rambly tonight, so bear with me.

This bead is a base of Mystic Beige, rolled in silver foil and some Striking Color frit.  The creased silver glass you can see is Triton, there's silver mesh in there and then SiS on the ends.  After making this bead, I'm even sadder that I have no more Mystic Beige.  I'm not sure how well you can see it in the bead picture, but the base where the silver foil is on the Mystic Beige went all funny.  It's hard to explain, so here's a close-up.  It looks all weird and slimy and not like anything I'd want to touch.

This one is Seashell Swirl, silver leaf and Striking Color frit on the base.  There's also some Aion, silver mesh and a lot of Clear and SiS.  It looks a little yellow by the silver because that's how Moretti 006 clear seems to want to treat my beads.  I do much prefer it to the way the other Clear was treating them though, so I will find a way to deal.

Next up is a core of Light Brown Transparent, rolled in Striking Color frit, encased in Clear.  Then it was wrapped with fine silver mesh and encased again, this time with both Clear and Pale Emerald and decorated at the ends with SiS.  I think this is my favourite bead from last weekend, but I'm a little bothered by how stiff and lifeless the dots are in the right-hand image.  I am awful at surface decoration.  My next class needs to be about surface decoration techniques.

Oddly enough, none of the silver in this bead turned yellow even though I didn't consciously do anything different.  I'm not sure I get what's going on, but maybe I'll figure it out over the next couple of weeks now that I'm paying attention.

This last bead is a base of Mermaid with Striking Color frit, Adamantium ends and SiS scribbly decoration.  I really love the designs that the frit made as I was letting gravity have its way with it.  And I will mourn my Striking Color frit like a dead pet when it's all gone... which will be soon.  *cries*

So far, so good... I'm having less trouble staying focused than I feared I might.  And it's feeling really good to use up some of this glass.

Here's my colour testing queue, if you're interested in what's coming up over the next little while:
  1. CiM Mermaid
  2. CiM Great Bluedini
  3. EFF Dark Violet
  4. EFF Anise White
  5. CiM Tamarind Unique (-1)

December 12, 2009

Test Results :: Mystic Beige

1 - Plain, 2 - Reduced, 3 - Encased, 4 - w/ Striking Color frit, 5 - w/ Triton, 6 - w/ Silver Leaf, 7 - As a floral (Copper Green core), 8 - w/ Ivory, 9 - w/ Copper Green, 10 - w/ Black

It's killing me that I only had two rods of Reichenbach Mystic Beige (RL0701), and this colour has catapulted straight to the top of my rebuy list.  I haven't used very many Reichenbach colours yet, but there are a few so far that I really like and this is one of them.

General Impressions
The rods are a transparent yellowish colour and look a little like Effetre Straw Yellow, but they look nothing at all like Straw Yellow once you get them into the flame.  Even though the rods I had were pretty thick (~8-9mm diameter) the glass was surprisingly not-shocky.  Even after reheating the tip of a previously melted rod, there was minimal popping and flying when it was reintroduced into the flame.

The glass melts like butter, is really reactive and has a shiny shampoo-like streakiness deep inside that is different from almost everything else in the 104 palette.  It's unpredictable though... I haven't yet figured out how to get it and keep it looking opaque on purpose.  It seems to make this decision for itself randomly, so until I figure it out, I'll be using it mainly in organic kinds of beads (Ha!  As though I make any other kind) where it's fine for it to just do whatever it likes.

Colour Density
Mystic Beige is a colour that hasn't entirely decided whether to be transparent or opaque.  It is streaky, shampoo-like and weird.  I really like this about it.  It's too inclined to be transparent to be used effectively as flower petals though –– I tried it and they just disappeared.  You can't even really see them in the picture.  (Bead #7)

Bead #1 and Bead #2 are both solid Mystic Beige, but Bead #2 was reduced.  Reducing it seemed to bring back some of the transparency, but then you can see in Bead #3 that encasing it did that too, so maybe it was just the heating and cooling in between initially forming it and then reducing it that made that happen.

Silver glass develops a fine dark outline on top of Mystic Beige, and it seems like the more silver-loaded the glass gets, the odder and shinier that outline becomes.  (Beads #4, 5 & 6) Silver leaf on top of Mystic Beige goes a coppery, metallic colour.  Here's a close-up of these reactions:

The silver glass seems to develop colour well on top of Mystic Beige, but I think that the more it's heated, the more brown it will turn.  It's a little like Vetrofond Yellow Ice this way.  I would love to experiment with this a little more, but as I've already mentioned, I don't have much of this colour left so I probably won't get a chance to do that for a while.

Mystic Beige can either look yellowish or pinkish, but I haven't completely figured out the rules for when it looks one way vs. when it looks the other way.  It looks more pink with reduction silver glass and black (Beads #5 & 10), and more yellowish with Ivory and Copper Green. (Beads #8 & 9).  But that doesn't really tell us very much without widening the testing a little.  Here's an example of what I mean:

Mystic Beige reacts with Copper Green in a way that's really similar to how Ivory reacts with Copper Green, but the reaction is subtly different.  The dark line that develops is really thin, and the way the Copper Green separates is pretty dramatic (and somehow more exciting) than what happens between Copper Green and Ivory.  (Bead #9)

Mystic Beige doesn't really react with Ivory, but it does look almost like pale green when put over top of it. (Bead #8)

All in all, I think this is a pretty great colour.  It's a joy to use and does some fun and unexpected things.  To close, here are some examples of other beads made with Mystic Beige.