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January 15, 2010

Test Results :: Leaky Pen

1 - Plain, 2 - Reduced, 3 - Over Clear, 4 - w/ Silver Leaf, 5 - w/ Silver glass frit (Gaia, Elektra, Nyx) - reduced, 6 - w/ Terra frit, 7 - w/ Seashell Swirl, 8 - w/ Ivory

CiM Leaky Pen is super-dark, and lots of other people have already written about that.  I've also already read quite a few reports about how Leaky Pen is very sparky and prone to boiling when worked hot, which has definitely been part of my own experience with it. That means that this might be a relatively short post, which isn't very fair to Leaky Pen because I really do like it.

What I haven't seen much of is any discussion about how it reacts in combination with other glasses, so I'm hoping I can add a little to the general body of knowledge about this colour.

Colour Density
Even over Clear, Leaky Pen is very, very, very dark. (Bead #3)  It really needs to be put over a light opaque colour to shine.  I used it over Seashell Swirl in Bead #7 because it's one of the only light colours apart from Ivory that I'm using at the moment, and that helped considerably.  There's a bit of a reaction with Seashell Swirl, but we'll talk about that in a minute.

If you happen to boil Leaky Pen while you're melting it as I did in Bead #2, and then you reduce it, the boily parts will turn red.  The rest of the bead didn't seem inclined to get that brick-red reduction film but the bubbly part sure did.

Temperature Sensitivity
During my torching session, I observed that if I pressed a bead (cooling the surface significantly) and then reintroduced it to the flame, the whole boiling thing got worse, perhaps because of the extra travelling to extremes.  If I make another pressed bead with Leaky Pen, I'll make sure I either go REALLY slow with the heating, or I'll encase it before I press it so that I can avoid the issue completely.

I used silver leaf for my silver test with Leaky Pen (Bead #4) because it was easier to get at when I decided at the last minute that I needed some silver.  I did get the bead too hot, and it did boil for this particular test, and look what happened to the silver!  The result is that the silver is all webbed and weird, and that it's turned an interesting shade of turquoise. I wish I'd remembered to do the bead with the silver reduced and encased.  Grrr.

Leaky Pen is a good base for silver glass.  I had decent success with striking Terra frit on it, and the other silver glass frit that I reduced worked out just fine.

There's some fun to be had with Seashell Swirl and Leaky Pen.  Around the blue stringer and dots, an outline of pink formed that is at odds with the rest of the bead's streakiness.  This is sort of cool, and worth remembering.  I wonder if it does this with other pinks as well?

And look at the difference between how Leaky Pen looks over Seashell Swirl and how it looks over Ivory.  On Ivory, it goes a dark, denimy, more greenish blue.

It also develops that dark line the same way all of the blues and turquoises do with Ivory, and the dark line gets all oozy and strange.  I don't know if I like this or not, but it's definitely interesting.  I made some flowers on a bead last week with Leaky Pen over Ivory and I'm expecting them to look hideous.  I guess we'll see.

General Impressions
In general, I think Leaky Pen is a great addition to my palette, but it requires extra attention when working it or the results aren't very pleasant.  It's a colour I NEED, but not a colour I LOVE, if that makes sense.  I'm certainly not done playing with it.

In the past, I've had success striking really stubborn silver glass when using Leaky Pen as a base.  TAG Jelly Opal, for instance, is one of the most stubborn striking colours I've yet used, but over Leaky Pen it got all kinds of interesting colour.  Since it's the only notable bead I have with Leaky Pen, I'll go ahead and show it even though I made it months and months ago (last April, to be exact) and looking at it makes me wince.

For contrast, here's a bead that I made around the same time with TAG Jelly Opal without the Leaky Pen as an additive:

Here are some fun beads made with Leaky Pen.


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