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January 31, 2010

Winter Colour Diet - Status & Progress

I need to consolidate where I am and where I am going with this Colour Diet exercise of mine so that I can stay focused.  Since I'm using this blog as my 'official record', I'm posting it here even though I am likely the only person who cares about it in this much detail.  I only have somewhere between 7 and 10 sessions left (depending on how much torch time I get) before this colour diet madness is over and my next phase of anal-retentive glass usage begins.

The (number) in the 'Current' column before the colour name indicates the number of rods I still have to melt of a given colour before I'm allowed to move on from it.  It's likely that I won't get to some of the colours in the 'Next Up' column before I hit my end date of March 14th, but that's ok... they're not going anywhere.

Starting PointCurrentTime Permitting...
EFF Red Copper Green ...(2) no changeREI Mystic Pink
CiM Adamantium ...(1) no changeLAU Cocoa
CiM Tamarind Unique ...(3) no changeREI Caramel
REI Mystic Beige ... EFF Anise White ...(5) CiM Khaki ...VET Pearl Grey Odd
EFF Okey Dokey Artichoky ...(3) LAU Thüringen Herb...EFF Uranium Yellow
CiM Mink ...(3) CiM Mermaid ...CIM Celadon
EFF Copper Green ...(1) no changeCIM Kryptonite
VET Seashell Swirl ...(5) EFF Avocado ...LAU Steel Blue
EFF Dark Violet ...(8) EFF Fossil Dark ...VET Pajama Blue
EFF Light Brown ...(4) no changeREI Rosalin
EFF Pale Green Apple ...(3) no changeEFF Kelp
EFF Pale Emerald ...(9) REI Aqua ...EFF Light Aqua
EFF Pale Aqua ...(4) CiM Leaky Pen ...EFF Tidepool
EFF Pale Ink Blue ...(2) no changeCiM Simply Berry

EFF = Effetre, CIM = Creation is Messy, LAU = Lauscha, REI = Reichenbach, VET = Vetrofond

I have not gotten around to testing Pale Aqua on this journey, because I ran out of it before I got a chance. I am skipping Pale Emerald because I'm not really very interested in seeing the results, and I didn't run special tests for Copper Green since I used it during the testing of all of the other colours. Everything else in the "Starting Point" or "Current" column is either on my testing schedule or has already been done.

I decided that even though I'm not finished with my Pale Emerald, I should retire it in favour of Reichenbach Aqua because I really want to get my Reichenbach colours tested before I run out of time. I sort of want to save what's left of my Pale Emerald anyway because it is the hand-pulled variety, and what I've seen of the machine-made stuff indicates that the colour just isn't the same.  *sigh*

My testing plan for the next few weeks looks something like this, provided I can make myself use up the right colours:
  1. Pale Ink Blue
  2. Pale Green Apple
  3. Thüringen Herb
  4. Aqua
  5. Cocoa
  6. Kryptonite

January 27, 2010

Test Results :: Fossil Dark

I lost my test bead wire again... that pesky thing hides in the stupidest places. These are all on a mandrel, instead, but I miss my piece of wire. Now, I know what you're thinking. "Cutting a piece of wire isn't all that difficult, is it?"

Well sure... I could have cut another one, but the reason I can't find the curvy test bead wire is because the light bulb blew out in the laundry room where I keep all my beady stuff -- including curvy test bead wire AND all of the pristine uncut wire. I've also lost track of a number of socks and a container of shards, but a new lightbulb is coming to save the day sometime soon.  In the meantime, I'm making do.

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain - reduced, 3 - w/ Silver leaf, 4 - w/ Silver leaf - reduced & encased, 5 - w/ Khaos frit, 6 - w/ Frit blend (Gaia, Nyx, Elektra) - reduced, 7 - w/ Black, 8 - w/ Ivory, 9 - w/ Copper Green

Unsolicited Advice
If you're new to lampworking, RESIST the temptation to buy large quantities of any colour you don't already know for sure that you love. For the first year or so after I started torching regularly, I -needed- to buy glass. It was compulsive, like a crack habit. I was absurdly concerned that if I didn't at least try every single colour I could get my hands on, I would probably be missing out on something fantastic.

Who knows... maybe that was a necessary part of my experience, but seriously, if I'd known how much glass I'd accumulate and had any kind of realistic understanding of how little of that glass it takes to make a single bead and the YEARS of annoyed slogging through glass I'd be facing to get rid of it all, I might have slowed down or at least bought far smaller quantities of everything. My new policy is to buy the smallest quantity I can get away with (3-4 rods seems ideal) of anything I haven't already tried myself, no matter how appealing it might seem.

Boy, am I ever chatty today.  I don't really feel like it, but we should probably talk about Fossil Dark.

General Impressions
Fossil Dark might as well be Dark Ivory with dark streaks built right into it, and I'll be frank... I prefer the original. I'm not really feeling this colour yet, which is going to make it difficult to get through almost eight more rods of it. And even after I finish that, I think I have more than 1/2# of Fossil Medium to deal with at some future date.

It's soft like Dark Ivory, and shockier. It's not unusable-shocky, but it is unpleasant when the rod keeps popping off just as you have a decent gather built up, and that's what my Fossil Dark has been doing to me.  Fossil Dark doesn't seem to craze and marble the way Dark Ivory does, which might be why I'm not really enjoying it.

I guess Fossil Dark would be good to use if you wanted the streakiness but you didn't feel like doing any super-heating or using any silver... I can't imagine ever being in that frame of mind, but if you sometimes are, you just might like this colour.

Fossil Dark reacts with silver similarly to how Dark Ivory reacts with it -- it turns black. (Beads #3 & #4) I haven't yet made any silvered Fossil Dark stringer, but it's the next thing on my list to try because that might be the only way I can happily use this stuff up. If that works, and I get a new-look silvered stringer out of it, I'll be much happier with this colour.

The reactions with silver glass are also similar to what Ivory does.  (Bead #5 & Bead #6) The silver glass fumed the surface of the Fossil Dark a little bit, and the reduced silver glass looks far prettier on it than the struck silver glass does, which is exactly how I'm accustomed to feeling about Dark Ivory.

This was a little weird. Copper Green in Bead #9 got so dark that it's almost not recognizable as itself. Fossil Dark forms the same dark line reaction with Copper Green that Ivory or Dark Ivory would.

... and that's all. I debated saving these results until I had more to say, but then I realized that I might never have more to say about this colour, so I decided to just post it.

I have one bead using Fossil Dark, and I'll post some more as I trudge through my bundle of it.

Please excuse the nasty picture... I usually take my pictures in the laundry room, too, and sometimes I even remember to wipe the fingerprints off of the beads.  The mental conversation went like this "Mel... that picture sucks.  Go take another one."  and then, "Are you kidding?  That's just the stupid Fossil bead.  Take it yourself."  So, here we are.

January 25, 2010

Test Results :: Light Brown Transparent

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain - reduced, 3 - Over reduced Black and silver leaf, 4 - w/ Terra frit, 5 - w/ Khaos frit, 6 - w/ Frit blend (Gaia, Nyx, Elektra), 7 - As a floral, over Ivory, 8 - w/ Copper Green, 9 - w/ Ivory

I'm not really sure why, but ever since I started lampworking I've been a little intimidated by transparent colours. I'm feeling just about over it, now, but for a while I really had to bear down and force myself to use them at all. 

Well, Light Brown Transparent sure as heck doesn't scare me, and after making these beads, I don't know how I can live without it. I'm going to cry a little when the five rods I have left are all gone and my stupid colour diet rules make me switch to another colour in its place.  What an awesome colour, in terms of how it enables silver glass performance... and it's reactive, so it is sure to do way more fun things than I've been able to discover in such a short time.

General Impressions
Light Brown Transparent is somewhat lighter than Pale Topaz and a little less saturated. It looks almost pink when it's hot, but it gets over it and settles back to brown when it cools down. It clearly has lots of interesting metal content, because silver glass absolutely loves it. It doesn't react strongly with Ivory, making it a perfect colour to add a little interest to Ivory in floral designs.  (Bead #7)

This is really the first transparent colour I've used on this little journey of mine other than Clear and Great Bluedini that I would give a rating of 'indispensable' to. Because the colour of it is so neutral, I imagine it can be used with just about anything... and because it is so fun and reactive, I fully intend to try it with as many different colours as I can manage as I move forward with the knowledge of how totally awesome it is.

If you put Light Brown Transparent over silver, you will turn the silver a rich gold colour completely out of proportion to the native 'goldness' of the light brown glass. If you happen to have used a base of Effetre Black rolled in silver leaf and then reduced lightly before encasing it with the Light Brown, the result will be both gold and a strange, organic green. (Bead #3)

Silver glass on top of Light Brown Transparent is gorgeous. (Beads #4, #5 & #6) The Light Brown accelerates and enhances the silver glass in a way that really made me happy, and it clearly helped to mitigate some of my uselessness in striking the silver glass colours that need to be struck in a neutral flame.  People like me need colours like this.

Additionally, not long ago I used Light Brown Transparent to encase a bead I had done some stringer work on with Sasha's Silver.  The bead is sort of embarrassingly ugly, but it's really interesting how the Light Brown Transparent turned the Sasha's Silver lines golden and shiny.  I can't tell you not to look at it as that would sort of defeat the purpose of posting it, but you could look at it with compassion... it's not an easy world for a bead as sad-looking as this one.

And finally, look what it did to Copper Green! (Bead #8)  I like the woody yellow-green colour it turned and fully intend to do this in a floral next weekend.  The Copper Green over Light Brown Transparent is equally interesting, but sadly not nearly as attractive.  But I'm sure there's a use for that bicolour metallic striping in someone's designs.  I need to noodle it and see if I can think of an application for it that I think will look nice.

Here are some other beads that have Light Brown Transparent as one of the core ingredients.  You can't always see it, but it's in there doing its thing.

January 24, 2010

Winter Colour Diet - Session 10

I made a decision about how far I'm going with this colour diet last week, and picked an end date for my last post about it. Since I'm an orderly kind of person, I'm going to use the calendar hanging up in my kitchen, and my winter colour diet will be over (at least all of the beads will be made) by March 14th, and I should have it all posted as of the weekend before spring officially begins on March 20th this year.

I'm enjoying the process too much to end it earlier than that, but I have an awful lot of odds and ends of other glass that I'm itching to use up... so as soon as the colour diet is over, Spring Cleaning will begin. During Spring Cleaning, everything that I possess less than 5 rods of is going to get used up so that my glass stash is ready for its next phase of evolution.

Now that I've let you in a little bit on how anal retentive I am, I'll just show you the beads. Last weekend was a little up and down for me, and I was having trouble getting into a groove so the beads are a bit all over the place.

Well, would you look at that.  In both this bead AND the one below it, I got TerraNova2 to strike. I don't want to cry "mission accomplished" prematurely, but it just might be that I am over my striking silver glass hump. I'm really hoping so, because it's been driving me batty.

This bead (and the next one) is TerraNova2 over Light Brown Transparent. The flowers are Ivory, as are the dots I put on it.  The swirled stringer decoration is goldstone encased with Aurae. I'm not sure why I tried this, but it was a really interesting experiment. This bead and the one below were lightly reduced, but before I reduced them, the Aurae had gone an odd creamy colour that was partially translucent and I could still see the goldstone winking through. After reducing, they are shiny and opaque, but different from Aurae used all by itself.  I rather like the effect.

This bead is identical to the bead above, in terms of what's in it.

A monster, this bicone bead is 91 mm long. I'm still struggling with the shaping of these super-long beads a little, but this wasn't a bad effort.  It's Mermaid with silver glass frit and a little TerraNova2. The ends are Adamantium (although I'm wishing I'd done them with TerraNova2 for some reason) and there is SiS on the ends in a scribble. The picture doesn't really communicate how alive this bead looks... the silver glass is all shiny and mottled and looks really neat.

Woo hoo! The Dark Violet is ALL GONE. This is Dark Violet with some silver glass frit (Gaia, Nyx, Elektra). The ends and surface decoration are SiS, and it was reduced lightly before putting it in the kiln.

These Plasmablossoms are a little addictive. The base is Ivory over Pale Green Apple, and there are dots of Intense Black on it as well as the encased Goldstone stringer. The flowers are Dark Multicolor, which makes really pretty flowers in my opinion.

A set!! Well, as close as I generally get to one, anyway. The focal is a base of Black wrapped in frit stringer (Light Brown Transparent, Gaia, Khaos, Nyx), encased, and then end-capped in Adamantium and decorated with SiS. There are also some Ivory dots around the top of it. The spacers are Adamantium and SiS.

This bicone is made with the last of my Seashell Swirl (well, the last before I bought a new pound of it and put it away for safekeeping) and it is rolled in silver leaf, Terra frit and then capped with Adamantium ends. There is SiS decoration, and it was reduced lightly before being put away.

I think I'm getting in the mood for spring, because all of a sudden I feel like making flowers. The base is Ivory, and is encased in Pale Green Emerald. The Vine Cane was Artichoky with Intense Black and some Goldstone stringer that I guess got pulled so thin you can't see it at all. The coloured flowers are Dark Multicolor (overstruck) and the little ones are Ivory.

If I could do it all over again, I think I would have used black for the base, and I would have tried not to heat the flowers so much. Next week I'll get another chance!

Test Results :: Avocado

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain - reduced, 3 - Plain - encased, 4 - w/ Silver Leaf, 5 - w/ Silver leaf - reduced & encased, 6 - w/ Khaos frit, 7 - w/ Double Helix frit blend (Gaia, Nyx, Elektra), 8 - w/ Ivory, 9 - w/ Black, 10 - w/ Copper Green

Effetre Avocado.  Nice colour!  It reminds me quite a bit of the Tamarind Unique I tested, with a few notable exceptions.  I didn't realize I was going to like this colour as much as I do because lots of other people have told me that they don't like it at all.  Well I have a plan that will fix that... they should just send it all to me!  I'll send them whatever Dark Violet and Anise White I can scare up in return.

I just had a conversation with Holly outside, and told her I was blogging about a colour called Avocado. She asked me if it was the colour of the inside of an avocado, or if it was the colour of the skin of an avocado, but the answer, of course, is neither. If anything, it's the colour of the inside of an avocado after you've forgotten you bought it and left it on the counter for too many days.  Rotten avocado is no good to eat, but so far, I'm enjoying making beads with it.

The other interesting thing about Avocado is that I have three different-looking varieties of it. I have one lot that is more or less the same colour in the rod as you see in the beads, above. I also have a lighter coloured rod that is a little silvery on the outside, and then, really strangely, some rods that look like a beiger version of Dark Ivory that have a rough feel to them.

I'm currently only using the brown ones and the silvery ones and so far they are more or less the same colour when melted. I'm not sure if I will get to the rough ones on this pass through my stash, but here's a picture of all three of the glasses I have whose labels claimed that they were Avocado.

Reducing Avocado reddens it up a bit, turning it into more of a terracotta colour that I think is appealing, however it darkens and reds up this way when repeatedly struck in a neutral flame as well, so it may not be the reducing flame that is responsible for this.  (Bead #2)

Under Clear
Avocado looks exactly the same under clear encasement as it does all alone. Lots of colours look lighter when they're encased, but Avocado isn't one of them. (Bead #3 & #5)  I am afraid to encase Avocado very heavily.  Both of the encased beads I've made so far are fine, but they are pretty thinly encased. It feels like a colour that will crack, like Coral or Silver Pink, if too much Clear is wrapped around it.

Of course, you shouldn't let my paranoia stop you from trying it.  I really should have tested it myself, but until summer comes and I am able to make more than a dozen or so beads per week, I'm having trouble forcing myself to waste glass and time on things that I feel pretty certain just won't work. 

I was surprised that Avocado wasn't more reactive with silver. Pleasantly surprised, because I think it means I can safely use Avocado as a base colour for my crazy organic silver-laden bicones and lentils.

The silver stayed more or less intact, lies on the surface in a sort of interesting way and didn't go all black the way Tamarind Unique did when I reduced it with silver on it.  (Beads #4 & #5)

I used Khaos frit for the striking silver glass test, and the results weren't the stupidest or most boring that I've yet had, but they aren't making me dance around either.  (Bead #6)

What I love, though, is the fun and interesting things that the reduction frit blend (Gaia, Nyx, Elektra) did on the Avocado. The frit got a silvery light border around its edges and really shines.  (Bead #7)

Ivory and Black don't really do much in the way of reactions with Avocado, but Copper Green looks really dark and a little shiny when used with it. (Bead #10) Like, really dark.  I've never seen Copper Green look this dark before and still look like itself. Usually, when Copper Green darkens, it does so with a disgusting grey scumminess that you can't see much of the colour through.

General Impressions
Avocado is a nice, stable colour with a rich, earthy feel to it that I am happy to use in my organic designs.  It is a pretty soft colour, maybe a 3 or 4 on a scale where Opal Yellow is a 1 and Black is a 10.  I made some silvered Avocado stringer, and I won't bother doing that again because the silver just sits on top of it.  It's really not like Ivory at all in that way or any other... Ivory greedily eats the silver up and excretes magic webbing, but Avocado can apparently take it or leave it.

Here's a bead with Avocado.  I'll add a few more pics to this post as I make more.

January 22, 2010

Test Results :: Red Copper Green

1 - Plain, 2 - Plain - reduced, 3 - w/ Silver leaf, 4 - w/ Silver leaf - reduced, 5 - w/ Silver leaf - reduced & encased, 6 - w/ Terra frit, 7 - w/ Double Helix frit blend - reduced (Gaia, Nyx, Elektra), 8 - As a floral, 9 - w/ Dark Violet, 10 - w/ Black, 11 - w/ Ivory

I don't even know if it's possible for me to have a favourite colour, there are so many gorgeous colours out there. But if it -is- possible, Effetre Red Copper Green could possibly be it.

There are lots of colours these days that can be more than one colour at a time. Many of the specialty silver glasses are like that. But what I didn't even know I was looking for was a colour that is more than one colour at a time without requiring any extra work or stress from me at all the way those colours do.

Red Copper Green is misleadingly named because it is neither really red nor really green -- to me, it's more of a Magenta Turquoise. I guess whoever named the rods named them based on what they look like BEFORE you melt them, not what they look like AFTER you melt them. I only really care what happens after I melt a colour so I've been calling it Magenta Turquoise in my head for weeks.

General Impressions
I used to really love Copper Green, but now that I've met his cousin, I have lost interest a bit. Red Copper Green is more interesting, and it's a lot easier to work with. Anyone with repeated Copper Green encounters knows how sparky it is and how prone to pitting. Well, I didn't experience either of those nasty things with any of my Red Copper Green.

Alone, Red Copper Green is a streaky, soft Magenta/Turquoise mottle colour. (Bead #1) It's gorgeous with neutral colours like Ivory, and it has some affinity for silver and silver glass. Whether or not you reduce it, after working it for a while, Red Copper Green gets a light silvery sheen not unlike the dark gunge you get when you use regular Copper Green or Dark Turquoise, but in a much softer, shinier way.

I used it alone in a floral, and the mottle is really pretty in a petal. I expected it to look silly, but it's actually pretty nice. (Bead #8)

The second flower is a little harder to explain. It is also Red Copper Green, but it was created a little differently.  Firstly, it's over a base of Light Brown Transparent, and secondly, it was heated longer. Either Red Copper Green is a bit of a striker, or the metals in the Light Brown Transparent really did a number on it.  Or both. I am leaning towards it being the metal content of the base colour, which I'll talk about more when we get to the Reactions section.

Reducing Red Copper Green turns it a dark, shiny magenta.  I don't like the colour you get when you reduce regular Copper Green, but I sort of like this.   (Bead #2)

I put some silver leaf on Bead #5 and then reduced and encased it, and I'm not impressed. The silver turned yellow, which I can't really think of a use for aesthetically, and the Red Copper Green got a little darker and stripier, but not in a way that I feel like I need.

I put silver leaf on two Red Copper Green spacers and then reduced one of them, and frankly, apart from the silver on the one I reduced being just a little more yellow, there's not a lot of difference. However, just look at the colour that the Red Copper Green turned the silver. It's gorgeous, and yes, predictably, I am in love again.

These spacers are really dark, but I didn't make any conscious effort to strike them.  This is the main reason why I think that high metal content in an adjoining colour is the main cause of Red Copper Green darkening in colour.  If you look at the big picture at the top of the screen, you can see that every single one of the beads where the Red Copper Green significantly darkened, it was in a bead with high metal content colours or additives.

Red Copper Green also behaved really interestingly with Terra frit.  (Bead #6)  Around the edges of the Terra frit, there's a turquoise outline, which seems to be the metal that forms the red part of Red Copper Green fleeing away from the edges of the silver glass.  Towards the left side of the picture, the Red Copper Green even seems to be turning purple.  Wild.

This didn't happen so much with the other silver glass bead I made, so it might be something specific to the opaque 'strikers'... or maybe even something only Terra does. Clearly I won't know the answer to that until I play with it a little more, so it's a good thing I have a few rods left to experiment with before I run out of it completely.

I didn't get much strike out of the Terra, and I'm going to blame myself. But since I think I've sucked at it in equal measure for every bead I've made, I'm going to say that I think Red Copper Green is probably not a bad base for silver glass, but that if what you want is vibrant rainbow colours, there are probably better bases to use.

With Black, Red Copper Green seems to just lose its mind completely and writhe all over the place. It's gone all funky and curdled and patchy. I've seen regular Copper Green do this with TerraNova2. I wonder if Red Copper Green will too?

And with Ivory, Red Copper Green behaves very similarly to how regular Copper Green behaves with it.  The dark line that forms between the colours is a little finer than I remember the line between Ivory and Copper Green being, and of course, regular Copper Green doesn't get the magenta blushing.

Did I mention I'm in love?

Here are a couple of beads made with Red Copper Green:

January 20, 2010

Winter Colour Diet - Session 9

Gah, this is late.  I've been trying to post earlier in the week, but things have been crazy around here... and tonight's commute nearly made me cry.

Vancouver is the worst place in the world to drive when there's an accident on either a bridge or a tunnel (doesn't matter which) because this city and all of the little cities around it are full of people who can't mind their own business and just have to look.... and there's no way to get anywhere without navigating either a bridge or a tunnel, and the bridges and tunnels all require lane reductions.

I will never understand why people think the fastest way to go is to speed up and head down a lane that's ending to butt into line and slow everything down.  Too bad my rocket launcher is only in my imagination.

If you're coming here for the Olympics next month, bring your helicopter and a bazooka.

In any case, I have some beads!

This is a base of Avocado, with a silver glass twistie (Van Gogh Caramel, Artichoky, Triton, Intense Black) and some SiS. The swirling on the ends is silvered Avocado stringer.  I think there's some silver glass frit under it all - the same blend I'm using in a lot of other beads right now.  (Gaia, Elektra & Nyx)

A Plasmablossom. This one is Sasha's Silver over Pale Ink Blue, with encased gold aventurine and Ivory accents and Ivory florals. The florals are encased with Reichenbach Clear.

Another Plasmablossom. I used Light Brown Transparent for the flower 'beds', which I'm not sure I'll do again. The base is Double Helix R170 over Light Brown transparent, and it has Ivory and encased gold aventurine accents.

More lentil. This one is a twistie (Triton, TerraNova2 - which didn't really show up, Intense Black and Artichoky) over Dark Violet (pretty much the last of the Dark Violet) with SiS accents and swirls. I'm not fond of this bead. *shudder* I think I dislike almost everything I've made with Dark Violet.

Yet another Plasmablossom. I'm working on trying to get this design where I want it. This is a Double Helix Ekho test batch over Light Brown. I only struck it well on the ends, but it is an interesting colour anyway.  The flowers are Ivory with Leaky Pen over them which turned out better than I thought it would, and the Leaky Pen developed a really interesting redness over top of it that I can't explain but sort of like. There's encased gold aventurine and Ivory on this bead as well, and some Clear dots melted flush to add some surface variation.

I love Red Copper Green. This crazy bicone is a Twistie of Triton, TerraNova2, Intense Black and Artichoky over Red Copper Green. The ends are Red Copper Green and there are SiS bands, which I relentlessly swirled.

And more lentil. I don't remember what the base of this one was, but I added silver foil, Terra Frit, ends of the twistie from the bead above and some encasement of a dark Triton odd lot. The ends are swirled SiS.

And this last bicone is a frit blend (Elektra, Nyx and Gaia) over Dark Violet.  The ends are black and the transitions are covered in Artichoky. The Artichoky fumed copper in a few places, which I am going to need to investigate more thoroughly at some point. It's a neat effect, but I don't know if the silver did it all by itself or if the Black helped.

Sorry this was so rushed. And I know it looks (for anyone keeping track) like I didn't completely use up my Dark Violet, but the truth is that these beads are a mixture of stuff I made last week and stuff I made this past Sunday when the Dark Violet was well and truly used up. So it was a combination of sessions 9 and 11. I didn't want to jump to 11, so I just threw it all together and called it 9.

The beads for Session 10 are at the Studio, and they contain the last bits of Dark Violet and Seashell Swirl. Avocado and Dark Fossil have now taken their places.

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.