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December 6, 2009

Test Results :: Mink

1 - Plain, 2 - Encased, 3 - w/ Khaos Frit, 4 - w/ Elektra2/Gaia/Kronos2, reduced, 5 - w/ Silver Leaf, 6 - w/ Copper Green, 7 - w/ Black, 8 - w/ Ivory, 9 - As a Floral (Copper Green core), 10 - Reduced & encased.

This is my initial run of test beads for CiM Mink.  You can see that beads #9 and #10 had some issues and split themselves in half somewhere during the annealing process, and Bead #2 has the same problem, although it is still holding itself together by a thread.  The issues I've been having lately are bigger than just the split beads you see above and I'm still trying to get to the bottom of them.  The current theory is that I have a bad batch of Clear, but the jury is still out.  In any case, I think in these beads that the main problem was  my annealing temperature.

While taking the mandrel out of Bead #1, a large piece of the bead snapped off, and it felt brittle.  The kiln at the studio was annealing at 930, but I found out after that Mink needs to be annealed between 990 and 1100F which explains the issues I was having with it.  I am now annealing my beads at 980F, which is the highest I could get the studio to turn it up.  I think it's helped, because the beads I made with Mink yesterday look sturdier and not inclined to crack, even when encased.

I was going to repeat all of my testing, but I feel the test results for colour are valid in spite of the few issues I had, so I am going to share those, as well as some pictures of other beads I have made with Mink.

Colour Density
While Mink is slightly translucent, it is substantial enough that you can make flower petals out of it and still be able to see them.  (Bead #9) It's also opaque enough that you can barely see the mandrel through it. (Bead #1)

Under Clear
Encasing Mink brightens it a little. (Bead #2)

Reducing Mink doesn't seem to change it much at all, except maybe to bleach a little of the colour out of it. (Beads #4, 10)

Out of the beads above, there are a couple of reactions that are really eye-catching and intriguing.  First is the way silver and silver glass play with Mink.

Silver Leaf turns blue and green on Mink (Bead #5).  Silver Leaf turns blue and green on Mink!  Cool.  I love this reaction a lot.  As it turns out, you can even encase this reaction for neat effect:

In Beads #3 & #4, you can see that silver glass and Mink have an interesting relationship.  The edges of the reduction frit I put on Bead #4 have a curdled, light brown outline.

The Khaos frit on Bead #5 struck in a way that Khaos frit has never done for me before.

I've already shared a picture of this tube bead, but I'm still amazed by the reaction.  TerraNova2 just bled all over it:

Those are some pretty cool effects, so using Mink as a base for silver and silver glasses makes a lot of sense to me.  And since it seems that the issues with brittleness and with encasing it go away if you just anneal it at the right temperature, I think it might be fun to play with Mink and silver glass some more.

The other reaction worth mentioning is what Mink did to Copper Green in Bead #6.  Check out the weird, muddy webbing:

It also made the Copper Green separate into dark and light, and I like it when Copper Green does that.

General Impressions
I am a little wary of Mink after my tricky annealing temperature experience last week, but for the way it plays with silver, alone, Mink is definitely worth the trouble.  More experimentation required, but Mink, I think I love you :)

Here's a little more Mink eye candy:

I repeated my testing for encasing Mink by attempting to encase another really large lentil focal really thickly, and the bead cracked.  Since I otherwise now have my cracking problem mostly under control, I am forced to conclude that while Mink will accept some casing, it's not a good idea to encase it really thickly -- at least not in a really big bead.

Here are some other interesting things other people have discovered about Mink (I love the interwebz!)
- Mink with White and Mink with Ivory (Dwyn Tomlinson)

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