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February 29, 2012

Test Results :: Auburn

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

CiM Auburn is a dark, rich, "barely transparent" transparent red. It is similar in colour to Valentine (maybe just a touch darker), and equally difficult to photograph, because it is much redder than the pictures really show. On the CiM website, Auburn is listed as a brown, but it is not brown at all - it is very decidedly red.

When I say that CiM Auburn is '"barely transparent", what I mean is that it is so saturated that it looks just like an opaque when you use it alone. For one reason or another, I didn't try using Auburn over Clear, so I'm not sure how much lighter it would appear that way. I do know that it thins out nicely over white, looking quite a bit lighter.

Silver darkens / greys the colour of Auburn. On top of Auburn, the silver leaf has spread out and misted a little, but has also turned a bit greyish brown. When the silver leaf is reduced and encased, it just sort of looks like a dirty, webby crust over the Auburn. Blech.

Reducing silver glass is nicer on top of Auburn than striking silver glass is. My silver glass frit blend in the bead on the left came out fine. The frit didn't spread or turn the Auburn iridescent or do any of the other super-fun things, but it held its colour well and the reduction flame made it shiny. It's quite different though, from my results with Valentine and Marashino, where the frit spread out quite a bit more and doesn't have such a strong blue colour to it. It's also quite different from how the exact same frit behaved on Obsidian. Glass is so interesting.

In the bead on the right, my TerraNova2 frit got some nice colour, but the colour is so obscured by the blackening of the frit's edges that it is not very evident and a little disappointing. There's hope for using larger swaths of striking silver glass on top of Auburn, but the frit seems to be a no-go.

I'm not sure what's going on with my latest batch of Tuxedo. Whereas previous batches have been pretty stable with Copper Green, this one seems to really like to bleed into it. You can see some heavy blueness where the Tuxedo and Copper Green meet in this bead, and the Copper Green is behaving oddly, too. Not sure if that's all Tuxedo or if the Auburn has something to do with it, but it is strange.

Auburn and Copper Green have a dark line reaction, but that reaction is only really evident when Copper Green is used on top of Auburn. In addition to the dark line, it has also made the Copper Green separate so that it is lighter around the edges. I like it when there is more than one reaction between two colours - very interesting!

Auburn seems to make Opal Yellow curdle - there is one place on this bead (look towards the top) where the Opal Yellow is coming apart. In the bead on the right, where I've used Opal Yellow over Auburn, The Opal Yellow has developed brownish orange rings around itself, which has to be my favourite reaction out of this bunch. Well, maybe it's tied with the Copper Green dark line/separating thing.

Both Ivory and Peace separate when used on top of Auburn.

I have a hard time using red, so I don't have any other beads to show this week. I still have almost a whole rod of Auburn left and if I can think of something creative to do with it, I'll come back and put a pic in.

February 23, 2012

Sherry Bellamy Class

I am grateful for all of the time that I have gotten to spend in class with Sherry Bellamy. Her no-nonsense approach to beadmaking and the innovative techniques that she has to share always leave me feeling inspired and I was lucky enough to get to take my second class with her the weekend before last.

My class beads are never as nice as I'd like them to be because I rush through them and don't really think my colour selections through as carefully as I ought to, however here are the focals I made in Sherry's class. I'm wincing at all the bubbles, in addition to all of my clumsy class-time surface decoration. This particular batch of Effetre Clear that we were using in the class is not very nice, but certainly good enough to practice with. I'll use up the rest of mine coring beads and find something else to encase with.


These beads were a tremendous amount of fun, measure approximately 1.75" in diameter and are about 1" thick. Ouch. I thought that I would go into the studio last weekend and make more lentils, but I think there are too many lentil things busy percolating in the back of my head. In spite of how excited I am after the class and how many ideas are spinning around, I don't feel like making encased lentils at all. But can I stop thinking about them? No, which probably means that something needs to ripen in there before more lentils will come out.

This happened to me in 2010 after I took a class with Melanie Moertel, too. I made two penguin beads in her class and became obsessed with the idea of painting with stringer, but had no idea what I wanted to paint. It took months for my belaboured brain to give birth to my mushroom design after that class. I wonder how long this pregnancy will take?

I like to look back at the progress I've made each time I re-attempt the same techniques. In case you are interested, here are pictures of my class beads from my last class with Sherry, which was in October 2009.


February 17, 2012

Test Results :: Obsidian

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

CiM Obsidian is an obscenely dense, dark warm grey transparent. Even over a core of clear, it is impossible to see through it, although it does thin out when used over Peace so that its true colour can be observed. It is gorgeous with silver glass, and it melts like a dream. I am very sad to report that Obsidian is a Limited Run. The reason this makes me sad is that it is almost exactly what I had in mind when I requested a transparent version of Adamantium, although I wish it was just a touch less saturated and a bit more brown. If CiM could find it in their hearts to make an only slightly less densely saturated version of this colour and add it to their line of production colours, that would make me very happy. You'll see why. Also, "I still want the dark brownish grey," she said, sounding like a broken record.

When Obsidian is rolled in silver leaf and then the silver is burnished in and burnt off, the result is a sort of dispersed silver film and it isn't really very interesting to look at. However, if you reduce and encase the silver, you get a silvery grey film with patches of blue in it. I love the glasses that do this with silver. They generally make really good base colours for silver glass.

And Obsidian is gorgeous with silver glass. It brought out nice colour in my TerraNova2 frit, and it did absolutely wonderful things with my reducing silver glass frit. I want to do more experimenting - for instance, I am very interested to know how this colour will behave with and influence the colour of Double Helix Clio. I have some more coming, so I will definitely be exploring this further.

Next to Tuxedo, a lot of the green seems to have fled from my Copper Green, and the Copper Green looks much bluer where it butts up against the Tuxedo portion of the bead.

A light outline appears around Obsidian dots and stringer lines when made on top of Copper Green, and Copper Green on top of Obsidian separates so that the stringer lines have a darker turquoise line running through the middle and the dots look slightly three-dimensional.

Obsidian is also interesting with Ivory, developing a sort of mottled, irregular brown line reaction with it. Being on top of Ivory makes Obsidian sort of shaggy-looking and the edges of some of the stringer lines almost look zig-zaggy.

Peace separates gently on top of Obsidian. Over Peace, Obsidian thins out slightly and shows us its grey-brownness.

Here are some fun beads with Obsidian used as the bead core.


February 8, 2012

Test Results :: Valentine

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

CiM Valentine is a gorgeous, bright and dark velvety red that looks burgundy in some lights. This colour is REALLY HARD to photograph. It is much redder than it looks in these pictures, but under white lights like the ones with my photography cube, it looks more burgundy. It is the same colour of red as the red velvet I remember in my grandmother's wallpaper when I was a kid, although that won't really mean anything to you unless you also visited my grandmother's house. But picture a deep, romantic red velvet and that is what these beads look like in natural light. There are some better representations of the colour on the CiM site.

I am problem-prone this month, and these beads demonstrate the general chaos of my life as I hop around between Edmonton, Sioux Falls and Vancouver, still trying to find time to make beads on Saturdays and do normal life things. You can see in the picture above that I accidentally reduced the bead with the TerraNova2 frit on it -- that's why the frit looks all red and gross. I also included the wrong reducing silver glass bead in this set of test results having mixed up my beads for Maraschino and Valentine like a big boob. I've semi-fixed it below by including a separate photograph of the right bead, the same way I did in my results for Maraschino. Thank goodness I only made one set of test beads last week.

On top of Valentine, Silver Leaf sort of spreads out and takes on a rather pretty brown/beige mottled appearance. When the silver is subsequently reduced and encased, it forms a brownish/blueish coating under the clear that is not really all that attractive.

I am not used to working with Natural Gas and Liquid Oxygen, and I guess I had a reducing flame when I made the test bead with TerraNova2 frit, because all that weird redness showed up. It seems like Valentine would be a better base for striking silver glass than I've really demonstrated here, but I can't prove it since I buggered my test up.

If you read my test results for Maraschino, you know that I'm a big dummy and I got the reducing silver glass bead mixed up when I was taking the pictures. Here's the real Valentine bead:

I like the way the frit developed at the edges, and the blues/greens on red are always striking.

Here we have Valentine with Tuxedo, Copper Green, Opal Yellow, Ivory and Peace. It seems like a pretty stable colour with not all that much in the way of reactions to report, but I did observe a few strange things:

Copper Green doesn't separate with Valentine or develop a really distinct dark line reaction, but it does look curiously mottled, with a pinkish haze developing on the surface of it on both of these beads.

Opal Yellow develops a mottled brown line reaction when used on top of Valentine, but not uniformly. This is sort of a cool effect, almost like a tea stain line. This reaction is NOT reciprocated when Valentine is used on top of Opal Yellow, which is sort of curious.

Peace separates fairly dramatically when used on top of Valentine, but when you use Valentine on top of Peace, nothing strange happens at all.